RKS unveiled the Neuma Hybrid Tattoo Machine. RKS is helping Neuma revolutionize the tattoo industry and usher in a new age of artistry, comfort, and safety. The superior technology of Neuma tattoo machines benefits tattoo collectors and artists alike - with the lighter-weight, fully-autoclavable tattoo machine delivering a less painful tattoo experience and drastically reduced healing times.
When you climb into a chair, ready to have a needle pierce your skin at the rate of 80 to 150 times per second, a little pain reduction would be nice and protection from blood-borne disease is essential.
Unfortunately for many, the technology behind traditional electric coil tattoo machines has barely evolved since its invention in the late 1800's. Still in wide use today, these machines are heavy, awkward, loud, temperamental, and, worst of all, they can't be sterilized in medical grade autoclave machines.
Dissatisfied with traditional coil machines, award-winning tattoo artist and inventor Carson Hill set out to create a completely new kind of tattoo technology - the first air-powered tattoo machine. Carved out of solid aluminum years before the MacBook made it cool, the original pneumatic tattoo machine, known as the Neuma2, was light-weight and fully-autoclavable. Hill knew the tattoo artists would greatly benefit from this feather-weight machine. Traditional coil machines typically weigh 8.5 to 9.5 ounces, with some brass-framed machines weighing over 12 ounces. The heavy weight and awkward balance of these machines is hard on tattoo artists, making long sessions difficult and sending some into early retirement with carpal tunnel syndrome. But there was an unexpected bonus of the light-weight Neuma. The collector - the person on the business end of the needle - experiences less pain. According to world- class tattoo artist, Mike DeVries, "it's been confirmed time and time again, that the Neuma hurts less."
While there are many variables affecting pain perception, from an individual's tolerance, to an artist's technique, top tattoo artist Mario Rosenau has been on both ends of the needle and agrees. "I've been tattooed with both, and personally, I feel that it hurts less with Neuma," said Rosenau. "I think a lot of it has to do with the weight of the machine. When it's heavy it just seems like it just forces your hand to be a little bit heavier." Collectors also benefit from the softer "hit" of the Neuma with drastically reduced healing times, reported to be half that of tattoos done with traditional coil machines.
The latest evolution of the Neuma, the Neuma Hybrid, is the result of Hill's desire to constantly push for improvements. Hill listened carefully to suggestions from artists and engaged RKS to re-engineer and re- design the Neuma2. The result is the Neuma Hybrid. At only 3.7 ounces in its pneumatic configuration, the Hybrid still weights less than half as much as traditional coil machines. Packed inside this small but powerful package is an improved pneumatic design for greater efficiency and less air consumption, a larger impeller for more torque, a cushioned armature for compliance, a variable stroke-length, an improved collet, and optimized cycle timing for less drag on the skin when lining.
The "hybrid" part comes in when Neuma tattoo artists want to take the show on the road. Year-round and world-wide, tattoo artists travel to expos to create their art right before their fans' eyes. With the baggage restrictions now in force by airlines, it's becoming more of a challenge to travel with an air compressor. The Neuma and RKS teams brainstormed an ideal solution... a motorized module that magnetically-couples with the Neuma to transform it into an electric-powered tattoo machine. This means that Neuma artists can have the Neuma performance they love in an electric configuration that still weighs a full third less than traditional coil machines. And, most importantly, the pneumatic machine is still fully-autoclavable.
The Neuma benefits for artists continue. "The light weight, balance and the slim design help you maneuver the machine around better and get into angles you can't get as easy with a coil," said DeVries.
The Neuma's consistency and reliability are also key in freeing artists to focus on their art. Traditional coil machines are finicky and constantly in need of tuning, so artists have to alternate between dual roles as mechanic and artist. With the Neuma, they can forget the machine and concentrate on their art. "I think that it opens up broader possibilities artistically when you're using a Neuma," said Rosenau. "And that's the big thing with it, and how it's pushing what a lot of people can do.... An artist can create art with anything. But you have tools that make things easier to get an end result, and I think that's what you have with the Neuma."
Whether you're an artist, a long-time collector, or someone who's been tempted but afraid to get a tattoo, the Neuma Hybrid represents a breakthrough in delivering a safer, less-painful, tattoo experience. And as for Carson Hill, perhaps Rosenau said it best, "He's developed something that's changing the way tattoos are done and the look of tattoos. He has his own little place in tattoo history."