Personal Tattoo Machine – Top 5 Constraints

  1. The cam which translates the rotational motion of the DC motor to translational motion of the needle is the most critical component of my project. I plan to make several prototypes of the cam to test the varying travel of the needle. This is important because if there is too much travel on the needle, the needle would penetrate the skin too deeply, which has the potential to cause a blowout of the tattoo (ink traveling beyond the area where the tattoo was inked).
  2. A tattoo machine is inherently top-heavy, and there’s really no escaping this. The nature of its design means that the majority of the weight is isolated to the top. But I don’t want my design to be unreasonably top-heavy, as this would be of detriment to the amateur artists who would be using the machine. This means that I have to shed as much weight from the 3D printed enclosure as possible, without making it brittle or frail.
  3. A constraint to this project which I will have to overcome is the question of uniqueness and originality within its design. Being that one of my major inspirations for this project is a personal tattoo machine designed by another student at another university, a challenge which has already reared its ugly head is to make my design stand on its own when compared to the design of my inspiration.
  4. I am planning to 3D print the enclosure, which will surround the DC motor, 9V battery, and encase all the wiring, and depending on the printer’s resolution, tolerances have the potential to be somewhat low. It’s imperative that I am able to secure the DC motor properly inside the enclosure, as any vibrations translated from the motor to the machine as a whole could effect the tattoo quality, which for obvious reasons would be very negative.
  5. The final constraint I must overcome with this project is proper time management. I have a habit of not allowing enough time for aspects of projects which I think will take significantly less time than they actually do, and with a project such as this, where time is the ultimate resource and the schedule is uncomfortably tight, proper management of time will become imperative to the overall success of my project. To accomplish this, I plan to instill Professor Hertzberg’s system of 7s; in other words, allowing significantly more time to accomplish a component of my project which I don’t foresee taking an exorbitant amount of time, and additionally, finishing my project weeks in advance to allow for proper testing, evaluation, analysis, and redesign if necessary.
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5 Comments. Leave new

  • With a cam you’ll have to have a return spring. If you attached the needle via a connecting arm to a crank, like in a car piston/crankshaft I think you could simplify the design. Also the travel of the needle will be directly proportional to where you attach the connecting arm to the crank.

  • David Holliman
    March 15, 2016 4:58 pm

    It seems like you have a strong understanding of your constraints. I think your design’s balance of weight, damped vibration, and mechanical control can be executed with some iteration and prototyping. Otherwise, I am sure that you will push your aesthetic into novel territory given your inspiration and creative direction. Best of luck, looking forward to the final design!

  • I really looking forward to see your final product. Overestimate time is really important! Also,don’t let the stereotype of your original design overwhelm your final design, always think creatively. Good luck!

  • Katie Hortik
    March 13, 2016 9:12 pm

    I love the uniqueness of this project and how much though you put behind the design. While most of your constraints fall under the design, I think as long as your focus on your timeline, your creativity and innovative thinking will allow you to meet all the other constraints.

  • Chad Alvarez
    March 13, 2016 6:51 pm

    Really looking forward to how this turns out. I think you have a difficult project with some hard constraints but with time I believe these will be conquered and your project will turn out great! Excited to see the end result


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