Jakub Pollág Builds Do-It-Yourself Tattoo Machine

Jakub Pollág Builds Do-It-Yourself Tattoo Machine

Royal College of Art graduate Jakub Pollág has created a device that allows individuals to self-administer tattoos.

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The personal tattooing machine will allow ink enthusiasts to create permanent markings on their skin within the comfort of their own home. The personal tattoo machine is intended to be used for tattoos with memories and meanings, rather than perfect imagery.

Personal Tattoo Machine democratises the tattoo industry. It puts a tool used only by a limited group of people into the hands of enthusiasts, who are seeking an alternative and unique way to permanently mark their meaningful memories onto their skin.

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Pollág was inspired to create the machine due to a spike in the popularity of home made tattooing. Pollág and many others have marked themselves by “hand-poking” designs with an ink-loaded sterile needle. There was a need to find a more efficient method to improve the practice – even though he appreciates the “raw” quality of hand-poked designs – and thus, the Personal Tattoo Machine was born.

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Influenced by makeshift tattoo practices, primarily used by prisoners, Pollag intended to build a quality product that was intended for use by the artist, rather than a second party.

There is a missing link from the idea that you have in your head – what kind of tattoo you want – to execution done by someone else.

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The device it self is operated on a nine volt battery, and uses a small direct current (DC) motor to drive a rotor that translates the spinning motions of the motor into an up and down stroke for a sterile needle. Tubes and needles are outsourced for sterility.

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Different thicknesses or “strokes” have been omitted from the personal tattoo machine, and the machine only operates on one speed (slightly slower than traditional machines) so that rookie tattooers can focus their effort on the drawing at hand.

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I wanted to create a product that will again focus on tattoos that are more about the meaning.

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Early prototypes of the personal tattoo machine were made from metal, but a quick shift was made to 3D printing as to replicate injection moulded plastic that is used commercial production.

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As of today, the machine is still in it’s relative infancy. It has only “officially” been used to create 30 tattoos on 20 different people (some of them seen in this article). The limited run is seen in a positive light for Pollág as he does not intend to replace professional tattoo artists

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This machine is not aiming to replace tattoo parlours. It’s there to offer a more personal option. If you want a realistic portrait of your, let’s say, cat, you should still go to a tattoo parlour and not use this machine.

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The personal tattoo machine will be presented as a project at the upcoming years RCA graduate exhibition alongside a power glove for carving hand materials by hand, and a tactile interface for the navigation of CAD environments.

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In certain lights, home-made tattooing can be seen as un-sterile, impulsive, and necessary. Jakub Pollág aims to change this notion with his personal tattoo machine. If individuals can maintain the use of sterile tubes, needles, and impeccable do-it-yourself tattoo practices – we see no reason for the machine to fail.

The personal tattoo machine is no threat to replace the professional tattoo artist and it should always remain that way. The design of the machine itself does not allow for intricate designs with different line-strokes – while the art of self tattooing has always been quite arduous. The personal tattoo machine is a fun toy for tattoo artists, enthusiasts, and on lookers alike. Try your best not to be too impulsive if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one.

H/T + Image Credit: Dezeen

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