Dotmatrix printers used to create tattoo stencils

November 26th, 2008 in Tattoo

Tattoos are applied by stencils using spirit master which is basicly carbon paper. The task is to trace the design to the carbon paper so that it can be applied to someone’s skin. The issue with this is that often you’ll spend 45min + on some designs, which can lead to your hand/mind being exhausted well before a tattoo, and even if you do create the stencil much before the client comes in – one slip up on applying the stencil will leave you having to spend the next hour re-tracing it. For shops they use Thermafax machines which uses heat to transfer the image – one of the two ways the paper can transfer, although this is a very costly piece of equipment usually going for $1,000+. The other is pressure (IE: The pressure of your pencil to the paper while tracing). Another alternative comes from something obsolete, the Dot Matrix printer.

Dot Matrix printers have been phased out for the most part, some of the rare situations you see them being appectable is at point of sales systems, where they print out receipts (But go to most new modern businesses and you’ll see they’ve replaced the noisy dot-matrix receipt printers). So how these guys work is using pins + ink ribbons they apply pressure with these pins to print on paper, using the pressure of the pins to print out a design onto the carbon paper, the dot matrix becomes an effective fix to hand drawn stencils.

So it was off to Ebay, where you can find some more modern day Dot Matrix printers for about $150-200, not too bad – Although I found some older models, Brand new for $60 shipped. I purchased the Lexmark 2930 plus, you’ll want to look for something that is 24 pins.


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