1.5 coil setup

In the summer of 2008 I came across the FK (Fallen King) Irons
patent pending “1.5 coil” setup. I have to start this section by
stating that I have not personally tried these machines. I was immediately
intrigued by this seemingly new invention. I had seen
square coils before, and even very strange number of wraps on
coils, but never 1.5 coils. What I mean by 1.5 coils is the actual
height of the core. The front coil is standard height, but the rear
coil is only ½ as tall. In theory this machine will have a stronger
magnet in the front and a weaker one in the back. This is
supposedly because more force is preferred on the front of the
a-bar than on the rear. I am very interested in keeping an eye on
these machines and this technique in building style. Be sure to
check with the individual you are apprenticing under before you
jump in and purchase something new!

Coil wraps..

Typical tattoo machines will use
ten wrap coils. This is actually very vague because you do not
know the gauge of wire used during the wraps. You also do not
know exactly what a “wrap” is. One coil manufacturer might call
a wrap slightly differently than another manufacturer. You also
have to take into consideration if the coils are hand wound or
if a machine spools them. Eight wrap coils are pretty common
as well. You may see twelve or higher wraps every once in a
while. The theory behind the wrapped coils is that the more wire
around the coil, the stronger the magnet will be. This is also
what I consider fuzzy logic because you cannot just rely on the
coil’s wrap. You need to know the diameter of the core within the
coil and the mater which the core is made of.
Remember that the electricity flows through the wire, through
the capacitor, and around the second core before it finally goes
up to the contact point. The more wire there is for the current to
flow through, the more voltage will be required to get it there.
The more voltage used, the more likely the machine is to get
hot. Some artists will say that when a coil heats up it is not going
to run as consistently as when it stays cool. This could be
caused by the metallurgy changing or because the expansion of
the wires and coils. Either way, in my opinion a properly configured
tattoo machine should not get too hot.

Stuffing the Coils

Coil tattoo machines have wire wrapped coils that are then
magnetized and will pull the a-bar down. The coils have a core
that is typically made of iron. The core is tapped out to allow it to
be mounted to the bottom of the frame. There are two solutions
to making the core a stronger magnetic force. First you can use
longer screws when mounting the coils to the frame. The core
taps have to be measured. Typically I will stick a toothpick into
the core’s tapped out hole – and mark how deep it goes (add
the frame’s depth where it will mount and you get the idea). The
second way that has been done for ages is to stuff the coils with
steel wool. I suggest doing only a little at a time, because it can
be difficult to remove if there is too much jammed in the core’s
tapped holes. This is not always required; some machines run
perfectly with a little gap in the coil’s core. These machines are
designed to run a certain way, and the builder most likely took
into account the core’s hallow gap.

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