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Machine Stroke Length

Machine Stroke Length

 Machine stroke length refers to the amount of travel the cam wheel or stroke wheel makes around the machine bearing in one rotation. Machine stroke also refers to how soft or hard of a hit a tattoo machine has. 


It’s common for PMU Artists to use rotary tattoo machines.  Rotary machines have stroke settings anywhere from about 1.8 up to 5.0. Some machines have set strokes and others are adjustable with a turn of the grip (Axys) Some machines come with various cams or stoke wheels that you can replace after taking the machine apart (Xion)

 The stroke affects 3 key factors such as:

  • How hard the machine hits the skin
  • How fast the needle moves up and down
  • The maximum amount of needle throw out of the cartridge tip        

With a short stroke setting such as a 1.8 or 2.5, the cam or stroke wheel has a short distance to travel.  This in turn makes a lower stroke setting a softer hitting machine option...

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Liner Shader Guide

This chart helps you pay attention to your hand speed, machine speed, and hand movements when using liners for a liner effect and shaders for a shaded effect.

It also shows how you can use:

  • Liners for a shaded effect 
  • Shaders for a liner effect

A great go-to chart is just the beginning!