Introduction: Tattoo Machine Out of Household Material

Picture of Tattoo Machine Out of Household Material

build a prison style tattoo machine out of househeld items.
tools: needle nose pliers, knife, philips head screwdriver
parts: toothbrush, ball point pen, guitar string, mechanical pencil eraser, and electric motor from tape recorder

Step 1: Find a Motor

Picture of Find a Motor

i found mine in a tape recording machine. I heard that tape machine motors were the standard, but i have also heard of tattoo machines made of nintendo 64 rumble pack motors. When you find your motor, rip it out and take note of the positive and negative wires. Also rip off the stock gear attached to the motor crank. You will be replacing the stock gear with a mechanical pencil eraser fitted to the guitar string needle.

Step 2: Make the Frame

Picture of Make the Frame

I used a plastic tooth brush. First I cut off the head with the bristles. Then i melted a 90 degree angle in the top of the brush for the motor to rest on.

Step 3: Cut Up a Pen for the Tube

Picture of Cut Up a Pen for the Tube

find a normal ball point pen and take out the ink and the tip to use the shell for the tube of your needle. Get those guts out and then tape the tube to the outside of the toothbrush. Then connect the toothbrush frame to the motor so that the eraser gear hangs over the edge of the toothbrush. Take your guitar string and bend it in a 90degree angle. Then stick the angled string through the eraser stuck to the motor near an edge. Next cut the needle so that it only pokes through the tube when the motor is turned on.

Step 4: Get Stoked, You're Done

Picture of Get Stoked, You're Done

I have my motor connected to a power source with alligator clips, but it would work better with a power foot switch . Connect it, dip it in ink and you're ready to go ruin lives.


Froggie2942 (author)2017-01-11

I have a gun but dont know how to use it. I got a motor from old tape recorder and now I'm not sure how to hook it all up? Help plz

MyiraS (author)2016-09-19

Didnt work ?

Karma wangmo (author)2016-08-23

I tried a lot to make but it didnt work why can somebody can help me please.

bobankarstens (author)2016-06-23

@veverica Umesto gumice koja ide na osovinu motora,uzmi jedno dugme i stavi osovinu u jednu rupu na dugmetu.Iglu stavi u rupu na suprotnoj strani dugmeta i voila!!!

bobankarstens (author)2016-06-23

@MUNCHINE > It's not f..king Spanish nor Bosnian,it's SERBIAN,capisch?!?

sresrose1206 (author)2010-02-24

This cannot POSSIBLY be safe. Tattoo parlors (you know, where you go and pay a PROFESSIONAL who's taken classes and earned certificates and knows how to handle the bodily fluids and proper disposal of equipment and such-like) can get shut down for not having sanitary working conditions - what makes you think your house is clean enough? I'm willing to bet that if you're making a tattoo gun with sewing machine needles and parts from a tpe player, you're not paying any attention to sterilizing your equipment, buying actual tattoo ink, and cleaning your skin before tattooing it. Are you trying to contract staph infection from those nasty bugs that live on your skin?

professionals dont take classes the most they would do i have had an apprenticeship or maybe taken art classes but there is no such thing as a tattoo certification for everywhere the most is to get certified to tattoo at one shop

BerinaSpliffta (author)2012-01-24

he asked you how did u make a needle to go up n down n not in circle? ;) itz not spanish,itz bosnian language lol :D

it is bent at a 90 degree angle where it connects to the eraser.

naruto the ninja13 (author)2010-12-31

have fun with your hepatitus

nightninja87 (author)2010-06-06

i like the ible and i like the stiletto in picture one i got one too

the circular action of the motor is converted to an eliptical one by the use of a cam.  this is why the needle is able to travel up and down.

dsman195276 (author)2008-03-21

this is a very bad idea. good job on making it but i would never use this. you could get STAFE infection.

lane29 (author)dsman1952762010-03-11

i allways clean mine withh iodine

Eidolonmyst (author)dsman1952762008-05-25

It's Staph Infection, and if you use sterile tat needle bars you'll be fine.

dsman195276 (author)Eidolonmyst2008-05-25

oops, i am not a expert on the subject. all i know is that it is called a STAPH (my typing used to be really bad, so i missed that typo) infection, and you can get it from tattoos with out sterile needles.

eyerobot (author)2010-01-25

Finally someone made sense out of the guitar string method for me, Good job chris.

The string is seated off center, On an eraser, Attached to a horizontally mounted motor shaft, Then bent downward towards the tube.
The off center movement of the guitar string forces it up and down.

Just in case someone else cant wrap their brain around how this thing works.

One question i dont see answered in any of these instructibles about tattoo machines is, How deep should the needle penetrate into the skin?
A minimum distance would do for a start position, As I realize skin has different thicknesses, But one setting for all skin types seems possible, And a far sight safer than eyeballing it.
I just dont like the idea of gouging someones muscles, Just to learn how far is too far.

dmwl (author)2009-03-21

I'm trying to do this can someone tell me how I get the motor to go I took it out of an old radio and it wont run on battery's or any thing else (I even tried to plug it straight into the wall nearly killed myself) :)

pandaboy292 (author)dmwl2010-01-15

the motor is probly froze. id go to a thrift store or yard sales and look for r.c. cars. they have good motors. and the bigger thr r.c. the bigger the motor.

veverica (author)2009-07-30

kako si uradio da se igla ne okrece u krug vec gore dole ja pokusavam al nemogu

MUNCHINE (author)veverica2009-12-08


roderix (author)MUNCHINE2009-12-28

I see you don't. That's not spanish. :)

420 4 life (author)2009-12-08

i blue my hand of will making a gun....not fun!!

MUNCHINE (author)2009-12-08


BlondGuy101 (author)2009-08-25

This looks mighty cool, how does it perform versus, say, a Dreamer Liner/Shader? Also I'm not sure why some commenters seem concerned about skin or blood infections etc. the use of sterile practise and proper needles/inks as well as aftercare means there is no problem

tom irons (author)2009-05-29

dude are you serious, from a tape player?! sweet!! maybe next we can make one outta a excersize bike!! then upload your finished tattoos to !! holler!

derangedunit (author)tom irons2009-08-07

i made one out of a motor from a electric razor that was battery powered and weighed under a pound fir perfectly in your hand of course i did tatt's with it using pen ink so they fade out after about 3 months you just change out the batteries and guitar string though and it worked perfectly

NinjaSloth (author)2009-03-19

One of my friends made a tattoo gun out of the motor from one of those chattering teeth toys, some guitar string, and a few other things and gave himself a cotton mouth kings emblem tattoo on his left arm.

thematthatter (author)2008-03-21

you might want to include the "power source" as part of your materials, at first i thought you had the motor plugged directly to the wall!

you use the power supply from the stereo and attach it to the leads with allegator clips.

whitedem0n (author)2008-06-20

must the electric motor be from a tape recorder

alexhalford (author)whitedem0n2008-12-27

Nope, any will do... they're just about the right size.

GorillazMiko (author)2008-03-22

A video of it working would be cool, but it looks dangerous.

Eidolonmyst (author)GorillazMiko2008-05-25

Mine works great

djr6789 (author)Eidolonmyst2008-11-15

i made a pacman tattoo with this gu n and it worked great

Kaiven (author)Eidolonmyst2008-10-15

You tattoed yourself?! OMG I would never do this ever times pi squared to infinity!

bobbyboy1234 (author)2008-08-24

i thought my dremel mite work and it did

Eidolonmyst (author)2008-05-25

Use a sewing machine foot pedal

CapnTac (author)2008-04-22

Or, you could just shell out 75 dollars and buy one, and that way you won't catch diseases. =-(

Sgt.Waffles (author)2008-03-22

Old. Also, enjoy your hepatitis.

HammyHavoc (author)Sgt.Waffles2008-04-06

Will do [:

blindrage (author)2008-03-24

Good instructable, but you should have titled it "Fun with blood-borne pathogens!"

mrmath (author)2008-03-21

I second the sterilization thing. Also, what do you use for ink? I would think that if you could get the guitar string needle to go into the plastic instead of an eraser, that might last longer, but what do I know.

smellyzach34 (author)mrmath2008-03-22

india ink

jnixon (author)2008-03-21


gmjhowe (author)2008-03-21

Nice, quite simple really - I recommend some steps on sterlisation and health risks etc! before people go trying this on them selves!

WesDoesStuff (author)2008-03-21

I've made these before. you should look into fish pumps. they work pretty muchthe same as actual tatoo guns.

pingeee (author)2008-03-21

Cool, can you show us some photos of how this thing works? I am not very expert at the tattoo painting

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