Just picked up a HM Direct Drive Classic

Esq

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1 Feb 2021
65
Baltimore, MD
First Name
Lando
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I suppose for starters, did I make a mistake? I am looking online and anything sub $500 seems to be hard to find reviews on!

Lastly, I am looking to get a really good cartridge grip, does the sub here have any suggestions?

While we're at it, what are good reputable Tattoo Machine companies that offer sub $500 machines?
 

Cyberthrasher

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23 Sep 2019
498
California
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Allen
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what are good reputable Tattoo Machine companies that offer sub $500 machines?
Well, I can't speak for rotaries/pens, but there are a ton of excellent well known coil builders under that number. Most "high end" coils are close to 300-400. You can still get some great ones in the 100-200 range.



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Esq

Premium
1 Feb 2021
65
Baltimore, MD
First Name
Lando
Gender
Male
Well, I can't speak for rotaries/pens, but there are a ton of excellent well known coil builders under that number. Most "high end" coils are close to 300-400. You can still get some great ones in the 100-200 range.
Well that answer is certainly vague đŸ˜› Do you have any off the top of your head?
 

Chustik

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19 Jun 2020
73
Spain
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Gerard
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gerard_van_nierop
Hm makes pretty good stuff, if its the one with adjustable cam you can do a lot with it.

There are so many good builders. All the guys from workhorse, vlad blad, right stuff, HM, lithuanian irons, Luca Mamone...

Most good coils will be 300-500. For rotaries about them same.

As for cartridge grip, have heard good things about the click ergo grip from darklabs. But if you dont have an autoclave I would only use dispossable grips.
 

Cyberthrasher

Premium
23 Sep 2019
498
California
First Name
Allen
Gender
Male
Well that answer is certainly vague đŸ˜› Do you have any off the top of your head?
Since you asked....
I find that most people these days are only interested in one or the other and since you weren't discussing coils I decided not to list any that you wouldn't care about.

So, my personal preferred are anything from Workhorse Irons. Top builders who have been in the game forever. They also have some bad ass rotaries too. If I were to go rotary, I'd probably save up for a Dan Kubin VR3 - above your $500 range though :). The only problem with Workhorse is that you have to be affiliated with a shop. You can occasionally find some of their builders on ebay or other forums, but you have to be really really careful of knock-offs.

I've heard a lot of good about Blood Money Irons, and I think they'll sell to people outside of a shop. They look like well made machines on their site.

Union Machine - another that I've heard good about but have no experience with.

Micky Sharpz have always been renowned and they're in the same $300 range as the above builders. However, they're more of a factory production now and not the same quality they once were. From what I've read, they're still good machines, just require a little more tweaking than one would expect from a machine with such a reputation.

I haven't spent a lot of time looking in the sub-$200 range, but after some member recommendations here I tried out Forward Tattoo out of Texas and they have some decent machines in the 100-200 range (sometimes on sale for 80ish), and they also sell all the parts you'd need. There's definitely a difference in the way they run in comparison to the higher end machines, but I'd still buy more of them and feel good recommending them to others. They'll also sell to the public, so that's great for members here.

The last one I'll mention is Kylin, which are actually about $70 - 100. They come highly recommended for the price tag and they are hand built. I did pick up a used one from a member here as a shader. It was well used previously. Right now I haven't quite gotten it tuned the way I'd like, but I'm pretty sure it just needs a capacitor change and it will be good to go. For the price and the previous recommendations I'd say give it a shot if, for nothing else, to get some good practice in on machine maintenance and tuning while still having a useable machine.
 
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