AMS Spring 2023

Designer Creates Fully Functional 3D Printed Tattoo Machine

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tattoo machineOne of the best things about the maker community at large is that it’s full of intensely creative individuals, and creativity likes to stand out. One way that this often happens is in presentation; some makers you can tell from their pallor from hours spent in workshops and garages rather than in the sunshine, some from their scars (hey, there’s a learning curve when working with machinery!), and some simply have it written all over themselves.

tattoo machine usedIf, for example, you were to meet me, you’d know a few things pretty quickly–not least among them that I’m a pretty big geek. Literally (I’m really tall) and descriptively: I wear my geek on my sleeve. That is, I have a half-sleeve tattoo covering my preferred geekdoms, from Doctor Who to fine art (van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’) to Shakespeare to Lord of the Rings, Sherlock, and Harry Potter, my fantastic tattoo artist provided me a one-of-a-kind creation (and work-in-perpetual progress) to help me outwardly celebrate my love for these arts and writings. All of my other tattoos came from different shops, but I went to one particular artist for this piece, and from my first sitting I was impressed by his top-of-the-line tattooing equipment (you can barely hear the machine at all, which is crazy for a famously-buzzing piece of machinery).

Tattoo machines don’t, though, have to be high-end from renowned companies to be impressive. Take Austrian designer Marc Schuran, for instance. This innovative maker has designed, created, and successfully tested a 3D printed tattoo machine, showcased in his Behance portfolio.

“I tried to build classic tattoo printing machines,” he told 3DPrint.com. “They worked very well, so I decided to create this 3d printed model.”

tattooingSchuran created the piece as his term project last year, based on “research about different archetypes and their evolution through the years.” Designed using Rhinoceros 5 and coming off a Stratasys uPrint SE printer in two pieces (grip and frame) following about three hours of print time, the design doesn’t just look like an authentic tattooing machine–it is one. 

“The device works pretty good,” Schuran told us. “I tattooed about 10 people with this machine, no problems. A few details need to be revised for a better comfort during the working progress.”

tattooThe two main components of the machine were 3D printed, but not everything could be, as it’s still a machine that has to function. Among the non-3D printed pieces were what Schuran calls the “classic tattoo machine parts,” such as the contact screw, tip, tube, coils, and needles.

While the tattoos shown on his portfolio consist of straight, black lines that make for fairly simplistic designs, this is clearly a step up from other DIY-type tattoo machines that often consist of simple components like (shudder) a ballpoint pen or a safety pin. Schuran is still at work on refining the design, noting that he is now working  on “a revised version of this machine.”

Would you trust this machine to add some ink to your skin?  Let us know in the 3D Printed Tattoo Machine forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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