5 Top Tips for Moving Tattoo Machines Safely and Securely

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Moving tattoo machines safely and securely is crucial for tattoo artists who are relocating their studios, traveling for guest spots, or attending tattoo conventions. Tattoo machines are precision instruments, and their performance can significantly affect the quality of the artwork. Therefore, ensuring their protection during transit is paramount. Here are five top tips for moving tattoo machines safely and securely:

  1. Use Padded Cases or Containers

Invest in high-quality, padded cases specifically designed for tattoo machines. These cases should have foam inserts or soft linings that conform to the shape of your machines, providing cushioning and preventing movement inside the case. Look for cases that are durable, water-resistant, and have secure locks. Customizable foam inserts can be particularly beneficial as they allow for a snug fit, regardless of the machine’s size or shape. This protection is critical to prevent any jostling that could misalign parts or damage the machine’s intricate mechanisms.

  1. Disassemble When Possible

If your tattoo machines are designed to be taken apart, consider disassembling them before packing. Removing parts like the grip, tube, and needle bar can reduce the risk of bending or breakage. This step is particularly important for rotary machines and pneumatic machines, which contain delicate internal components that could be damaged if the machine is jolted or dropped. Store the disassembled parts in separate, labeled bags within the same case to avoid confusion when reassembling. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that disassembly and reassembly are done correctly.

  1. Ensure Proper Labeling and Documentation

Clearly label each case with “Fragile” and “Handle With Care” to alert handlers to the delicate nature of its contents. Additionally, maintaining an inventory of every machine, including its make, model, and serial number, can be incredibly helpful, especially for insurance purposes or in case of loss. This detailed documentation should accompany you and not be packed away with the machines. In the event of air travel, having this documentation handy can also streamline security checks and discussions with airline personnel.

  1. Use Secure Transportation Options
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When choosing a mode of transportation, prioritize options that offer the least amount of movement and potential for damage. If traveling by car, secure the tattoo machine cases in a position where they are unlikely to be jostled or have other items fall on them. For air travel, consider carrying the machines as part of your carry-on luggage, if their size and airline regulations permit. This reduces the risk of rough handling and loss. When shipping machines, use reputable couriers like Shiply, who offer insurance and tracking services, ensuring your machines arrive safely and securely.

  1. Regular Maintenance Checks

Before packing away your machines, perform a thorough maintenance check to ensure they are in optimal working condition. Clean them according to the manufacturer’s instructions, check for any loose parts, and make any necessary repairs. Upon reaching your destination, unpack and inspect each machine carefully, conducting another round of maintenance checks before use. This not only ensures the machines are safe and secure during transport but also ready for operation in their new location.


Moving tattoo machines requires careful planning and attention to detail. By investing in quality protective cases, considering disassembly, ensuring proper labeling and documentation, choosing secure transportation, and performing regular maintenance checks, you can significantly reduce the risk of damage to your valuable equipment. These steps not only protect your investment but also ensure that you can continue to provide high-quality artwork for your clients, regardless of where your talents take you.


About the author

James is a talented tattoo artist with a passion for creating unique and personalized designs. With a focus on attention to detail and a deep commitment to his craft, he strives to create tattoos that capture his clients' individuality and self-expression.