Saturday, November 14, 2015

Rebirth of the Green Monster, Birth Defect?

 I love Eikon Device's Green Monster coil tattoo machines. They are great machines at a relatively low price-point (less than $200). They include the innovation Tru-Spring armature bar and springs and separate the coil from the capacitor for simpler maintenance.  Their performance is consistently excellent.  

 To be fair, these were also the machines being talked about as THE standard for production machines when I was learning to tattoo.  Maybe Eikon simply did an excellent job in marketing the machines, or maybe they really were the first to do something radical like take specific measurements of machine speed, performance, and the way that the various components of the device worked together.  The Green Monster did seem to have a major impact on the industry, creating a need for power-supplies that offered a measurement of your machine's output instead of just a 1-10 power-setting.  It also seemed to create an awareness among tattooers regarding what precisely their machines where doing and why. There are better coil machines on the market today, but I would argue that the Green Monster defined the standards upon which many of those machines are based.

The Original
 Naturally, when I received an email from Eikon Device offering an updated version of the classic Green Monster, I was excited. The big change is the coil-position on the frame; they are moved forward on the frame-base to improve the performance of the machine. Everything else about the machine is fairly standard.  They do offer the additional sales pitch about every machine being "hand tuned by Mack Bregg".  That was the first red-flag in my mind, albeit a minor one.  Who is Mack Bregg, and how does he know how I like my machine to perform?  What tattooer in his or her right mind starts tattooing with a machine straight out of the box without checking it and making adjustments?  Are we also to expect that whatever Mack did with the timing-screw actually held while the machine was being jostled through the shipping process? 

 This, however, is the real issue for me.

Yeah, like this one.
 What is that?  It looks like a rubber medallion set in the machine frame. Maybe it is a medal stamp, but whatever. Look at the space between the edge of the medallion and the frame itself.  Now, imagine what can get in there.  It is a bacteria trap!  How are you supposed to clean that? While it is not a huge design flaw in regards to performance, it is major step in the wrong direction when it comes to ease of maintenance with the machine. The original Green Monster had no adornments; simplicity and efficiency made the machine what it is.  I want this machine, I really do, but Eikon may as well have just welded one of those gaudy belt-buckle face-plates to the uprights on the frame.  That medallion makes just about as much sense.   

 In conclusion, IF I do actually get one of these machines (and it is a big if), I know I will want to see if I can pop that thing out of the frame.  I know how important branding is, and getting away from the green paint-job is a plus for myself and other fans of the Green Monster, but, really?  It is a near-miss, Eikon Device, and you lost points because you went for a little flourish on the end.  

Jason Sorrell is a writer, tattoo artist, satirist, artist, and generally nice guy living in Austin, TX.  He loves answering questions about tattoos.  Shoot him a message at

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