Wormhole Tattoo Machine Review – Coil Shader

*Price at time of publishing

This Wormhole Shader tattoo machine delivers a super-soft hit, but its construction makes it difficult to tune and use.

Video Transcription: Wormhole Tattoo Machine Review - Coil Shader

Hey, what's up everybody? Today, what we're going to be going over is a review on a Wormhole Shader Tattoo Machine. This is going to be a traditional tattoo machine. I haven't gone over any traditional style tattoo machines in any reviews thus far, so I wanted to make sure I was getting on here and doing those as well for the people that want to go that route.

If you're new to the channel, I'm Brandon from Tattooing 101. Make sure you're liking and subscribing down below and hitting that little bell notification, so you can be notified anytime we come out with new videos each week, to be able to help you guys out.

I received this tattoo machine in the mail today. It did take quite a while to receive it. I think it took about a month to actually get it in. It came with this nice little box, which is super cool. Then you just open it up and see the machine. I have not done anything with this machine this far, besides opening it up and put a little nipple on top of it and also put a rubber band. This is what the machine's going to look like right out the box, besides obviously the rubber band and the nipple on top.

When it comes to the actual machine, I really like the way it looks. It has this cool little, I don't know, it looks like a ram's horn or something like that. But right off the bat, I could see there are a couple things that are like a red flag when it comes to traditional tattoo machines, like this piece right here being plastic. Anytime you're working with tattoo machines, you do not want any of the pieces to be plastic. They just seem to break.

Another thing would be right out of this box, this machine would not be able to be ran because everything's super loose as you can see right here. This should not be able to do this. That'll affect the way your machine hits or it might not even turn on if it's up too high, not making contact on the spring. There's going to be a little bit of tinkering involved with this product right out of the box before you could get into tattooing. With all these machines like this, there's going to be some things you're going to need to do to have them run correctly, of course. I'm going to go through here. I'm going to set up the machine. I'm going to also need some Allen keys to tighten everything up, which I will show you all of that on camera.

Okay, let's get into tuning this machine the best that I can. I'm going to tighten this down and make sure everything's set up the way that it should. It has been a very long time since I needed any Allen keys, so it took a while to find them. Now, let's get into tightening this stuff up, which honestly, should have came tightened up. I don't know why they did that. You can see that the throw is barely anything, so we're going to have to adjust that as well. Right about there. I'm going to tighten this little plastic set screw up again, and we're going to put the needle bar into the machine.

Okay. That's another thing with this machine. The hole for the clamp is so small that it's really, really hard to get this on. This should just slide on, and I'm using a lot of pressure and it is not going at all. That's another thing to think about with this machine, that your tubes are going to be ridiculously hard to get on. I'm really having to use a lot of force and that's really annoying. You can see that this is completely loose, it's not tight at all. This should be easy to just slide right on, but it's just not cool. We finally got it on after having to work with it for way too long. Now I have everything set up. You can see that our needles aren't out past the actual tube, but when I press, they do go out. I'm going to bring it back just a little bit, set my needle depth right there. Cool. I'm going to finally tighten this up and put my rubber band down, right like that. The machine should be good to go. We'll turn it on and see how it works.

Now, I do have a feeling that this machine isn't going to hit very hard at all, which with traditional style tattoos, I like pretty hard hitting machines so I can just blast those shadings in there, but let's see how it works out. You could start out the voltage on five and slowly work up until it actually starts. I have a feel for it. I'm running this on exactly a seven. That's exactly what the voltage, it sounded about right. I'm going to get in here and do some shading. This machine is obviously way louder than the rotaries I use so I'm going to have to stop the machine so I'll be able to talk to you during this review.

Okay. You can see here I'm tattooing pretty much how I normally would. With this machine, it is not putting any of ink even remotely close to what I would be normally putting in there with the rotaries that I use. This machine is just a very light hitting machine.

Okay. I'm really having to go over all of this way more times than I normally would with another machine. You could hear that there are some intermittent times with this actual machine when it's hitting. Sometimes it'll bog down or cut out completely. I know that my power cord is fine. I actually ran my other machine and it had no issues in at all. That's just one thing going on with this machine. That's something I don't want to have to hear whenever I am tattooing.

Man, I will say that after a couple minutes... I've been running this machine for 10 minutes and now I remember why I switched over to rotary. This machine feels like you're holding a jackhammer in your hand when you're tattooing. It's crazy because of how light it's actually hitting. It should definitely, just from the way it feels in the hand, you would expect it to hit way harder than it actually is. It's telling me that it just doesn't have enough power. It's not like I'm using a big mag or anything. This is a nine mag. This is the smallest one that I really use when I'm tattooing. None of my other machines have a hard time, even putting fifteens into the skin, something like that. In this machine I'm just having to fight with it the whole time I'm tattooing. It's not necessarily that it's a traditional machine. I've used traditional machines for a very long time in my career and got used to using them whenever I was first starting out.

With just how hard it was to get the tube on, it coming and you have to set everything up, this is not a very user friendly machine if you are first starting out, by any means. There was just a lot I had to do. I had to fight with it to get everything down so I would be able to halfway tattoo with this machine. Definitely not something that I would recommend if you are first starting out tattooing. Picking up one of these would not be beneficial for your career. You're going to end up fighting with it, trying to figure out why your saturation isn't good. Trying to figure out what issues you're having when it's actually the machine giving you these problems.

If you are dead set about going a traditional tattoo machine route, there are plenty of brands out there that have some great machines or builders that make great machines. For the price point of this, I paid $150 for this it, in my eyes it just wasn't worth that. It's not there for me for it to be worth $150. I bought great machines for the $200 price range that still work to this day.

When it comes to the Wormhole Shader, is it worth it? Is it something that you should be getting? I wouldn't recommend it. That's my honest opinion. It just had too many issues for me to make it worth, especially someone first starting out, not knowing exactly what they're looking for. This would be a mess to try to set up and tattoo with and tattoo efficiently with.

That would be my review. Thank you guys for watching. If you do like content like this, make sure you're liking and subscribing down below so you can keep up to date on all of the new content we make each week. Also, would you guys like to learn more about the traditional tattoo machines? Let me know in the comments below. If this is something you would like me to show you in depth how to tune or even put together a traditional tattoo machine, leave a comment so I know, and I can think about what I could do for you guys in the future. As always, you guys have a wonderful day.

Our Score

4.0/10

AVERAGE

Price: $159.99 (4/10)

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For the price, we were expecting a higher-quality machine. You can get a more powerful, beginner-friendly pen machine for the same price or less.

Quality (4/10)

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While we liked the style and overall look of the machine, we found that some of the parts were made of plastic instead of metal. Additionally, the machine required a lot of tuning.

Handling (3/10)

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Compared with other machines, it was a fight to get ink into our fake skin. This shader vibrated a ton and seemed to have issues conducting electricity from the power supply.
PROS:
  • Ulta-soft hit that might benefit portrait artists
CONS:
  • Plastic parts
  • Got bogged down easily
  • Loud and uncomfortable to work with
  • Not enough power to put ink in the skin

Product Details

Weight

166g (machine only), 18g (front spring), 20g (rear spring)

Coil Material

Copper (coils), high-carbon steel (cores)

Working Voltage

5-10V

Speed

6500 switches/min

Connection

Clip cord connection

Product Details

Weight

166g (machine only), 18g (front spring), 20g (rear spring)

Coil Material

Copper (coils), high-carbon steel (cores)

Working Voltage

5-10V

Speed

6500 switches/min

Connection

Clip cord connection

Wormhole Shader Tattoo Machine - Our Review:

The Wormhole shader tattoo machine is a sleek-looking machine with a decent-quality frame. However, it has a few red flags when it comes to construction, power, and materials. Overall, the machine caused enough problems that we don’t recommend it, especially for new tattoo artists learning to create solid, well-saturated shading.

wormhole tattoo machine with heavy assembly weight

Note:

If you’d still like to try a Wormhole machine, we’d recommend the Wormhole Tattoo Pen Kit instead.

Poor Construction

When it comes to a coil tattoo machine, you don’t want any part of it to be plastic. And while the frame of the wormhole tattoo shader machine is made of one solid metal piece, the rest of the machine’s materials are low quality.

wormhole tattoo supplies - customer reviews

The set screw is plastic, and the hole for the clamp isn’t big enough to fit an average-sized tube. We struggled to get the tube on the machine, even when the vice was completely loose.

While all coil machines need to be tuned regularly, this machine felt loose right out of the box. Coil machines are not recommended for beginners for this reason - getting the machine to run properly took plenty of tuning. We recommend a rotary tattoo machine or pen machine for new tattoo artists.

Low Power

Online, this machine is listed as a 12-coil machine. However, it does not deliver the power you’d expect from one. Even though we kept our voltage well within the normal limits for a shader machine (7 volts) and used a smaller needle grouping (9 mag), we had issues getting ink into our fake skin.

tattoo needles and black ink

A shader machine will hit lighter than one meant for precise line work, but we had a hard time creating any well-saturated areas of ink. We had to go over the same spot multiple times to get the shading in correctly (something that would cause a lot of trauma to human skin). 

Additionally, the machine seemed to get “bogged down,” and sometimes it would cut out entirely. (We tested our power supply and power cord to make sure the issue wasn’t with our other tattoo supplies, but they worked fine with other machines.)

Uncomfortable Handling

All coil machines will have more vibration to them than a rotary tattoo machine because they rely on the machine turning on and off rapidly to move the needle. But, it seemed like the movement with this machine was excessive, especially for how light the hit was.

wormhole tattoo machine and flower tattoo designs

Throughout the tattoo, it felt like we were having to fight with the machine to get it to work correctly, which made it really difficult to do a good tattoo.

Who the Wormhole Shader Is (and Isn’t) For:

The Wormhole Shader might be helpful to artists who are looking for ultra-light shading, as long as they don’t mind putting up with the extra vibration. However, we don’t recommend this for beginner tattoo artists, because the problems with this machine will keep you from learning and doing your best work. (We do recommend the Wormhole Tattoo Pen Kit for beginners.)

We do not recommend this machine for professional artists, as it will not deliver a strong enough hit to get ink into real skin effectively, even for small tattoos.

Get the Wormhole Shader Machine

tattoo machine with low start voltage
wormhole tattoo supplies

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Wormhole Tattoo Pen Kit Review

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AUTHOR
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain. When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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