The U-Frame was the first tattoo machine I designed.

I worked closely with Merky at Nor Cal Tattoo, refining the mechanical aspects of the machine, letting the design of the frame be dictated by the pure function of the machine.

For those unfamiliar with the operating principles involved in a tattoo machine, read this blog post.

My original concept for this thing was called the Triple-F (Form Follows Function), I wanted to invent an elegant, simple machine design that accomplished the task of putting metal where metal needed to be, without any extraneous bells or whistles. (I saved the bells and whistles for a few of my other models.) I also really wanted something that looked organic, without any facets or flat planes on the exterior of the frame.

After many different prototypes, a few heavy-ass lopsided monsters, numerous redesigns, temper tantrums, and countless shop hours, I arrived at a tattoo machine I can feel absolutely confident about. About a hundred of these have gone out into the world so far, and I haven't heard any complaints yet. I cast them all individually, using the lost wax casting method. The alloy I use is museum grade bronze (Herculoy CA - 876). Each frame is hand finished, and I take each one up to a pretty high polish, to check for surface defects, before final patina or polishing.

Take a 3-D look at the U-Frame in the

QTVR Gallery

Or see whats available in the Online Store

About my parts and suppliers:

All my springs are CNC water-jet cut in the USA, from sheets of blue-tempered spring steel (not stamped from strips) This allows the springs to avoid all the edge-stress that can develop from worn out dies, and also avoids the twisting that I've seen in some of the bigger name-brand punched springs. I use a range of different spring types, in different shapes and thicknesses, to get the machines tuned the way they should be. (Each machine is different, and they are all hand tuned to the buyers specifications, before shipment.)

My coil cores and armature bars are made by Crowknows in the USA. He's a genius when it comes to all things magnetic, and he has a steel mill produce an ungodly alloy that makes his T-top coils pound for pound stronger than anything else I've seen out there. I've never had to use more than 8-wraps on any machine, and if the voltage requirements at the sweet spot go over seven volts, I know something has gone wrong, and I re-wind the coils.

My brass hardware comes from a few different sources, all of them in the US.

All the parts I use on my machines are Made in the USA. anything not done with my own two hands, gets outsourced to a local craftsman, a fellow passenger on the USS Failboat we're all riding on.

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