How To Attach Eikon Tattoo Coils To Capacitors

"I got a dream machine from the promised land, got a 71

Trans am "

^ -Radio Birdman

First, there are 3 main component assemblies which must be assembled prior to their attachment to the machine frame. These include the Coil assembly, the armature bar / spring assembly and the 2 binding post assemblies. Below are: lists of parts needed for each assembly, instructions and illustrations on assembly procedures.

Assembly of the coils / Capacitor

Parts / tools needed for coil assembly:

* heat gun / heat shrink

* 2 solderless ring terminals

* 2 flat tab terminals (optional)

* 1 axial capacitor (see suggested capacitance measurements in capacitor section)

* 2 coil securing screws 8-32 1/2" - 3/4" in length (prefer button head style)

* soldering iron/flux (optional)

1) Scrape the red insulation off of the ends of the wires to be joined to any terminals or to other wires. Do this to both the coil wires and the capacitor wires.

2) Heat shrink exposed wire, leaving ends of wires to be joined to terminals or to other wires un-insulated. Do this to both the capacitor and the coil wires.

3) Heat shrink capacitor cylinder and / or coil bobbins.

If you are putting the capacitor on separately, this is the time to solder the capacitor's wire ends to the flat tab terminals NOT solderless ring terminals.

If you are putting the capacitor and the coil wires together on the same terminals, attach both, the capacitor wire end and the coil wire end to the same "solderless ring terminal" by pinching the wires into the receiving the of the terminal, this means one coil wire end and one capacitor wire end per terminal. Making sure that the arrow on the capacitor cylinder is pointing from the lower wires (which attach to the lower binding post) to the upper binding post.

Slide a piece of heat shrink on to of the terminals, DO NOT put any on the ring area, this area must touch the binding post directly and completely. Just insulate the receiving end of the terminal where the wires are inserted and slightly overlap the heat shrink on to the wire(s).

Assembling the armature bar / spring assembly

This part of the operation should be done after the springs have been cut and bent, making sure that the distances are perfect from the frame's spring saddle to the nub on the armature bar, where the needle bar sits, making sure the needle bar would run perfectly vertically through the tube vice hole in the frame, or slightly behind center (when looking at the machine from the side).

1) Put a piece of Trans-pore tape under the armature bar, where it would make contact with the front coil.

2) Put the 8-32 Allen screw through the #8 washer and then screw the 8-32 allen screw with washer, into the threaded hole at the back of the armature bar. Place the rear spring slot on to the armature bar followed by the front spring slot (directly on top of the rear spring). When using a larger screw, for example 10-24, make sure you use the accompanying washer, a #10 washer.

3) Snuggly tighten the screw / washer on to the springs, they should be able to move when pushing on them. This is the time to align the springs.

4) Place o-ring under the front spring and over the Allen screw which holds the springs in place. There are 2 ways to place the o-rings. There are 2 ways to place the o-rings (See illustration).

An imaginary straight line should run from the tip of the front spring through the center of the Allen screw and through the center of the rear spring, from front to back of the armature bar / spring assembly. You may add an o-ring.

Once aligned, secure the springs by tightening screw / washer, so that the springs DO NOT move and cannot shift during machine operation.

Tattoo Machine Feeler Gauge
Placement of O-rings.
Tattoo Machine Feeler Gauge
Assembly of a one piece spring system.

This illustration depicts how the stroke can change as the armature bar is placed away from the rear spring saddle to accommodate a large distance from the spring saddle to the tube vice hole. The greater the distance from the spring saddle to the tip of the armature bar, the less strength the rear spring will have to move this displaced weight at an acceptable rate and force, so a spring stiff enough to bare the tension required to move the weight of the displaced armature bar and all it's components is required.

Tattoo Machine Feeler Gauge

Assembly of binding posts

Parts needed for upper binding post assembly:

* binding post

* contact screw

* acrylic ball or piece of o-ring (acrylic ball or piece of o-ring must be used to protect the threads on the contact screw. )

* contact screw securing screw-can be plastic or nylon, if metal is the choice, a nylon or plastic flat washers-used insulate frame from the binding post and to shim the binding post if necessary.

* nylon or plastic t-washers- to keep threads on binding post securing screw from touching the machine frame. See illustration.

Assembly order from coontact screw securing screw to the frame (left to right) and the final screw:

Securing screw, acrylic ball or piece of o-ring, contact screw/binding post, coil / capacitor terminal, plastic washer, machine frame, plastic "t-washer" (or tape, plastic flat washer), securing screw. This binding post assembly is now ready to be secured to the frame.

Nylon, plastic or

Plastic Button Head Washer

Parts needed for Lower binding post assembly:

* binding post

* securing screw 8-32 3/8" (Phillips, button head, Allen head)

* plastic, nylon or neoprene #8 flat washers

* plastic or nylon t-washers See illustration.

Assemble the similar parts in the same order as in the directions for assembling and attaching the upper binding post to the frame.

How Attach Binding Post

Once you have the coils assembled, the armature bar / spring assembly and the binding posts ready, it is time to put all these components on to the machine frame.

We are only just getting started!

Assembling the machine

This is the recommended order for machine assembly. There are details in this section which may be overlooked, it is important to re-read anything which you may not understand.

1) Attach coils (and yoke, depending what material the frame is made from) to the machine by tightening the coil securing screws snuggly.

Remember, these screws are the only attachment screws which DO NOT need to be insulated.

2) Place the armature bar / spring assembly onto the spring saddle, tighten the spring securing screw, making sure that there is no vertical play in the rear spring. It should sit solidly on the saddle.

3) Pull down the armature bar assembly by the nub on which the needle bar sits (see illustration next page). Check for parallelism- this means that the armature bar is parallel to the yoke or the base of the frame when the armature bar is making full contact with the front coil. The armature bar should NEVER touch the rear coil, there should always be a very small space between the armature bar and the rear coil, the smaller the better.

Any parallelism issues should be handled NOW before moving on.This means-- SHIMS. Shims may be made from washers, or better yet, feeler gauges. As we mentioned earlier, a hole punch and some tin snips can make any feeler gauge into a shim. The large selection of feeler gauges in a set can produce a variety of more precise shims than any washer selection ever could. And because you are making them yourself, shape and size of these shims is changeable.

Shim the rear spring (with a squared off shim), when necessary to achieve parallelism on the armature bar coil contact.

Tattoo Machine Measurements

Small space.

Iron Tattoo Machines

Shim the coils when necessary, to achieve parallelism between the armature bar and yoke or frame.

Small space.

Shim the coils when necessary, to achieve parallelism between the armature bar and yoke or frame.

Yoke Tattoo Machine

When moving the armature bar assembly manually, ALWAYS pull it down by the armature bar. NEVER by the front spring because this will change the tension on that spring.

Shims may be necessary under the front coil to make the armature bar parallel. It may be necessary to shim the rear coil if the small space is too big. This space should be paper thin. Shimming the spring saddle slightly to raise the armature bar / spring assembly may help to make the armature bar parallel to the yoke or the base of the frame. A round washer should NOT be used for this purpose.This shim should be flat on one side (p. 54), the shim must sit perfectly flat to the inner edge of the spring saddle closest to the rear coil. Once you have achieved parallelism, you may move on. Filing off the top of the rear coil to make a paper thin space is also recommended only if it is absolutely necessary.

Attach the lower binding post to the frame and to the coil / capacitor assembly by doing the following.

Place securing screw through plastic t-washer, put screw and t-washer through the hole drilled into the lower rear of the frame, place plastic, nylon or neoprene washer onto the protruding screw, place terminal on to the plastic washer and over the protruding securing screw, attach the binding post. The binding post should be tightened snuggly.

Remember to check for any grounding after attaching and tightening the rear binding post. No exposed wire should touch the frame or the yoke .

Attach the upper binding post by following the same procedure indicated in "attach the lower binding post..." The contact screw should be in place as should the acrylic ball or piece of o-ring to protect the contact screw's threads, as well as the contact screw's securing screw.

Check "vertical lines" by placing a needle bar onto the nub on the armature bar. You may connect a needle and tube set up.This is to verify that the needle bar is running down the center of the tube, or just slightly behind the center point.

Look at the machine from the front. The needle bar must run down the center of the tube. Imagine a straight line from the contact screw down through the tube and out the tip of the tube (p. 67 & 68 photos). This means that if the contact screw is slightly off, to the left or to the right, the binding post must be shimmed with plastic, nylon or neo-prene washers between the frame and the terminal NOT between the terminal and the binding post.

Find the spot on the front spring where the contact screw will make contact, a good place to start is on the front spring, directly above where the needle bar holding nub meets the rectangular armature bar. When tightening the binding post securing screw, hold the contact screw in place with one of your fingers so that it doesn't pivot away from your selected contact area on the front spring (see illustration).

Nylon Screw Post Binding
Hold the contact screw securely with one of your fingers when tightening the binding post. This prevents the contact screw from moving back on the spring.

Set the stroke. This means open or close the contact screw to the distance you would like the armature bar to travel in conjunction with the bend in the rear spring. Pull down on the armature bar and let it up til it makes contact with the contact screw. Set the space between the contact screw and the front spring. This should be done without the needle / tube set up. The following pages will help you to fine tune the stroke setting and to understand compensation between the contact screw, the flex of the front spring and the tension of the rear spring. Don't worry, it will become clear, read the next few pages and have your machine handy.

Do the spring tension test (p.60) to establish the following:

* Test for adequate spring tension on both springs (flex on front spring and tension on the rear spring).

* Where is the best place for the contact screw to make contact with the front spring.

You may have to add tension or take away tension on the rear spring. Remember, pull down on the armature bar, release the downward pull slowly until the front spring stops on the contact screw. The armature bar should continue to travel very slightly. This ensures that there is a flex on the front spring which will handle the amount of resistance the skin will provide but it also shows that the rear spring tension is capable of supporting the weight of a needle bar, needles, grommet or paper towel, O-ring, rubber band tension, friction of the needles rubbing against the back of the tip and finally, the resistance the skin will provide. Generally, if the machine exhibits these qualities, once plugged in, the fine tuning should be minimal.

Once the area of contact is established on the front spring, and the spring tension seems acceptable, trim off the excess spring stock in front of the contact screw. This "tightens up" the performance of the machine and eliminates any extra un-necessary additional vibration which will come from the excess spring stock in front of the contact screw. This should be done with an o-ring already in place. O-rings smooth out vibration, minimize sound and slightly increase tension. We recommend o-rings for this reason. O-rings come in different diameters and thicknesses so choose wisely.

With the Dremmel, or a good file, cut an angle on the tip of the contact screw making sure that it is identical to the angle of the front spring so that the flat spot on the contact screw makes a 100% connection with the angle of the front spring. A secondary bend on the front spring may also be used. (see illustrations).

Front Spring Angle

An extra bend in front spring to match the angle cut into the end of the contact screw, will ensure solid contact between the two.

An angle cut into the tip of the contact screw matches the angle bent into the front spring so there is solid contact between the two.

Plug the machine in and run it without the needle bar / tube assembly connected, turning the dial on the power supply slowly up and down. Follow the "ball system" (p.61) to re-check the spring tension and to make sure the machine can shade as well as color. The balls should not get closer in the turned down black and gray mode. Feel the movement of the armature bar with the soft finger print on the thumb (see Illustration below). The balls getting closer to each other when turning down the dial on the power supply means, there is too much tension on the rear spring whereas the balls staying the same distance apart means there is versatility in function. When touching the armature bar while running the machine and the armature bar comes to a complete stop (at a "coloring" setting), means that there is excessive tension on the rear spring.

Contact from the contact screw on the front spring is important. The stroke should not be compromised. Bend rear spring to create tension or or un-bend the spring to take away tension, do this in conjunction with opening or closing the contact screw until the spring's flex is correct. It is all about compensation.

Once the machine runs smoothly, double check the tuning with the needle bar / tube set up on the machine. It should exhibit the same qualities. It will have to be running a little higher on the power supply dial but it should exhibit the exact same qualities described in detail in the "ball system" section as well as in the "spring tension test" section on page 59.

Rubber Band Tension Test

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