Veritas Irons Sage Liner and shader.
I am going to write this review as a dual review, both the liner and shader at once.
We recieved the Veritas Irons Sage Liner and Shader tattoo machines as our first set of machines for review. I have put them through a few months of daily wear and they are smooth running machines that are solidly built. Hard hitting no joke daily money makers i would say. Upon arrival the liner was dead. I was a little concerned, but a quick call to Greg and he had it figured out that during shipping the top rear binding post had spun loose, this is where he admitted a design flaw, the rear upright is so close to the allen wrench screw that you need to cut your allen wrench short in order to get it in there. Pretty cool that he was humble enough to point out a flaw and say he has addressed it in his new deisign of this frame. In a fairly brief conversation I could tell that Greg knew what he was talking about regarding tattoo machines and obviously building them..
Theses tattoo machines have a fairly unique design, with each piece being separate then dovetailed together with a weld from the inside. At first I was a little thrown off by this but after putting them through the rigors of daily use I can say them seem solid as all hell. When I spoke with Greg , he said he cnc machines all the pieces and created a jig to fit everything in place. Most of his parts (binding posts A, bar, etc.) are prefab from a supplier here in mass. One criticism I have with this design is the gap that is created by the rear spring deck, it seems to be fo a few millimeters difference from the rear upright to the actual rear deck and at such a crucial point of any tattoo machine, I feel like it could cause undue tension and fatigue on the spring. A quick plane of that area after the weld could alleviate that "problem".
Techy stuf:Frames are blued steel, great finish! Sidewinder rear shooting style rear binders. 8 layer coils on both machines, the shader having one and a quarter inch coils and the liner has one inch with a quarter inch yoke. .018 front and back springs on both setups. 22uF35v capacitor on both machines. The liner runs 8.9volts @ 120hz 43% duty , and the shader runs 7 volts @ 100hz 46% Duty as taken off of my critical cx-2 power supply. Short snappy stroke on the liner and a medium/long stroke on the shader. I pushed everything from a 5 mag to a 15 mag in the shader with out any problems what so ever. The liner runs beautifully with 5's , 7's and 9's, I usually don't go any bigger then that so I couldn't tell you if it can handle a 14, althought it seems to me it would not be an issue for this powerhouse.
A unique vice grip setup on both tattoo machines where he cut a slot so the right hand side of the vice clamp is free floating held in place by the vice screw. It works like a dream for disposables and has me eyeballing some of the problem machines in my collection, although Greg strongly advises to let a pro do it, as you can seriously alter how your machine runs if you start hacking away at it! The vice screw is one point of weakness I see, I have gorilla mits and tighetn things harder then I realize at times, and I can see already that the dimes used for the vice screws are bending the weld is rock solid, its just the flimsy american money that cannt hold up.
As far as criticisims for this machines I have a few small ones, but they are simply based off of personal preference . First like I said was the vice srew, secondly I would have to say that the fact that the contact screw has nothing on top is troublesome. I usually have to turn a tattoo machines contact screw after three to six months and with nothing to hold on to that could hurt. Another thing is the shader's front coil could use a .025 shim in my opinion, the rear coil is close to the point of almost touching and I could see with a solid 6 months of wear and tear on the front coil top, where you could run into an issue. The front coil is not perfectly parallel with the bottom of the machine, seems to be leaning forward a tad, I think that a shim thrown in there would get the coil off the wire a bit more, increse levelness and help out a ton. Finally I would say that the coil holes being slotted makes no sense, not like you are going to move them forward or backward of where they are . The fact that there is a slot from the back point of the vice hole to the front of the first coils slot seems to make an undue weakness in the frame. Again these are all just personal preferences.
All in all, I think these unique machines are smooth steady runners. Greg knows what he is doing and from a few conversations with him he already identified a few of the things i brought up so you know with every machine he is just getting better and better. Well worth the money i would surely keep using these machines for years on end. Check out veritasirons.com and unionsupplycompany.com for more info.
ben - www.BenReigle.com