A good rule of thumb to control the stroke of your machine is
to look at the front spring. When you have the front spring in a
relaxed position (meaning it is touching the contact point), does
it seem to flex? To “zero out” the front spring: unscrew your contact
point screw all the way so that it is NOT touching the front
spring. Slowly screw it in until it is just touching the front spring.
When the contact screw is just barely touching the front spring
it is going to make a harder hitting and faster machine. The
reason this will make for a faster machine is because the spring
does not have to absorb any energy before it makes contact
with the screw, it will snap back down immediately. The more
your screw it down (flexing the front spring), the slower and
softer the machine will run. This is a good setup for black and
grey shading, smooth effects. The reason for this is because it
will take more time for the magnets to pull the armature bar back
down, because the spring has to absorb the energy from hitting
the contact screw.
This is just one aspect of controlling the throw. You can obviously
control these things by using different gauge springs and
different strength coils, as well as different weight armature
bars. There are a lot of variables that are involved and some will
cancel each other out. You will have to play with your setup until
you find the optimum way to configure your machines for the
style of tattooing that you would like to do.

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