A perfect 7 needle grouping will run along the back of the tube tip without wiggling because the solder is pulled smoothly down from the needle bar to about 3/16" of an inch from the needle tips.
IT IS SUCH A THROW AWAY WORLD! (This is written for non - tattooers as well.) In almost everything, If you don't like it, throw it away - it's cheap technology!! Tattoo machines made in China for $40.00 dollars each, plastic disposable tubes - which is not a bad thing as far as ideas go... then there are the pre made needles!
When we started tattooing in 1985, part of the craft that was still alive and well and very necessary was "needle making". Where you actually took loose pins and soldered them into groupings used for lining, shading.. coloring. These are our paint brushes! The quality of the tattoo partly depends on the way your machine runs, partly on the skill and talent of the artist AND in the quality of the needles - the material, the gauge and the length of the taper...
This blob of solder will cause a needle to wiggle against the back of the tube tip. This was a shader taken right out of the blister pack in a box FULL of pre made needles. And some of these artists think it's the machine's fault.
We aren't just talking about the quality of the stainless steel, we are talking about the length of the tapers, the needle gauge... penetration is everything. Easy penetration = less pain, smoother shading, solid color and perfect crisp lines. These are things that can be regulated by educated artists.
Education is important. THESE days, the craft is lost. Needle making is out, (not for all of us)... Artists can buy whatever they want, and they do so without a care about who's making the needles. All they know is that they save time by buying pre mades. Not all of these pre made needles are good!! If these artists knew what they were looking for, they would NOT buy from most of these suppliers! The cheap product yields higher profits for the supplier but yields patchy color, inconsistent shading and fuzzy lines.
It's not just the solder blobs that have to be watched out for!
Pins come in specific gauges, all the needles in any grouping of pins should be the same gauge AND have the same taper length - this means consistency. Some of these Chinese needle pre-made needle groupings come with a few different gauge pins in the same grouping! We have seen a few short tapered .012 gauge pins soldered into a grouping of OO long tapered bug pins!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!! This is so negligent. Artists these days are also negligent for taking the quality of these foreign products for granted.
As tattooing has grown, so has the demand for supplies. Tons of people who should not have been involved in our business have been let in... the ignorant artist is to blame. It's time to take charge and regulate what products we use. In the end, the most important person in the equation is the client!