Please watch the Sidewinder 7 tuning video on my site. It explains a lot.
DO NOT USE OIL ON THE BEARINGS! The bearings are grease lubricated, and the oil will have an adverse reaction with them. KEEP ALL STERILANTS AWAY FROM ALL MOVING PARTS! Sterilants are very corrosive and will deteriorate the electrical contacts as well as the bearings.
Use a good firm nipple/grommet. I recommend my “perfect nipples.” (available through my site, Workhorse Irons, Saltwater Supply, & Lucky’s Supply). Put a bend at the tip of the needles so that it “licks” the tip of the tube. Use two-three #12 bands, or one #28 band around the vice motor. Thick rubber bands from Workhorse Irons or Lucky Supply work fine. You may find that certain sizes of hair ties work well and are very durable.
When using the machine, you can adjust the hit of the machine with the return spring adjustment knob on the rear of the frame. It’s the easiest adjustment to get the hit where you want it, for the speed you want to run it. Turning it in (clockwise) will make it hit softer. Counterclockwise will back off the spring tension and make it hit harder. ** Rule of Thumb: higher volts, more tension; less volts, less tension.
Cartridges can be used! Be sure to use the rubber band to pull the bar down and neutralize the tension of the cartridge. (refer to video!)
Average volts between 5 and 6.5
After a while, if the machine seems to have lost some hit/power, it is probably because the impact mechanism has settled in and needs to be rotated counterclockwise to the next indexed position. If the machine runs too choppy and hard, rotate the pin clockwise. (please refer to video)
Direction of the clipcord will affect the hit of the machine. Clockwise (positive up) will hit punchier, counterclockwise (positive down) will be a tad more passive.
Q: How do I prevent spitting with my Sidewinder?
1: Make sure you have sufficient band tension. You can watch the needle through the ink reservoir to see if it’s jumping around.
I prefer using one #28 rubber band.
2: Ensure you have a gentle arc through the needle bar with slightly more bend on the actual needle.
You can also put a slight back angle on the shepherds hook/needle bar loop of the needle bar, so that it sits flush with the back of the nipple when the a-bar is up.
3: Some needles have a larger than normal needle bar loop that causes more slop. crimp the sides of the loop with pliers. this will give a tight fit, yet allow the bar to pivot on the a-bar.
4: If the stroke is too long, it will spit and chew up nipples. Ideal stroke is 3.2-3.5 mm.
This may sound short in comparison to other styles of rotaries, but the stroke is very effective, and shouldn’t be compared to a standard rotary.
I recommend using my Perfect Nipples with the Sidewinder. I had them custom made to hold up to the stress of the Sidewinder.
Q: My Sidewinder ran great, and now it doesn’t put the line in as easy anymore. What should I do?
A: The main thing that needs re-set is the impact screw on the top/middle of the a-bar. The screw will eventually settle into the frame, and need to be turned in (usually 1/4 turn) to get it back to normal. In most cases, the a-bar will sit parallel with the frame. You will want to close one eye to see that properly.
In addition, I have added timing marks on the cam and frame. you push the a-bar down, rotate the cam until it touches the spring. the line on the cam should line up with the line on the frame. if it’s past, turn the impact screw in.
Sometimes, the stroke knob will get turned on accident. The longer the stroke, the harder the hit.
Basic setup of the Sidewinder V2.5. The V3 is similar, but the rubber band(s) loop around the entire frame, and you use the front posts to keep the bands up and out of the way of the tube.
1st Generation Sidewinder
Q: I have an original Sidewinder from 2014. It’s not running right. What do I do?
A: I have learned so much about how to make sidewinders since the first run of them. Mostly, I’ve learned from my mistakes. Needless to say, there were a lot of engineering flaws in my first design, and it is very difficult to get them running proper for any extended period of time.
They are painstaking and expensive to work on.
I am still currently offering $180 trade in value just to get them out of circulation. This offer is good through 2018.
Rebuilds are $300 plus shipping, but it would be best to keep it as a collector’s item, as it’s not a practical daily driver.
Since having this misfortunate engineering blunder, I have been very thorough on development on newer models. There were just too many unforeseen issues that took an entire year to see that it was unfixable.
The ultimate lining machine! Period.
For singles to loose 18's, this machine can do it smoothly & effortlessly at low volts. For the V5 I have spared no expense in the quality of components used. Now featuring a smaller, smoother, stronger motor that has just recently become available this year! I am very happy to be able of offer this to my customers.
- Expect more range from slow to fast, hard or soft as compared to my previous models.
- Less mechanical noise
- Less volts for same speed
- Better control with smaller groupings as well as more power for large groupings
- Smaller profile, but same weight as the V4
- Less vibration
- Timing marks on frame and cam for easy impact screw tuning
- Can be used as a shader/packer if you like to shade on the faster side
- Can be used for effortless stippling (even with larger configurations) if the stroke is lengthened and volts are turned down.
- Not intended for use with cartridges - I will have a cartridge liner/shader ready soon!!
PLEASE WATCH THE TUNING/SET UP VIDEO TO LEARN MORE!
I have been on a constant mission to develop a Sidewinder that is easier to tune, stay in tune, and be able to drive the largest of liners, while having a large enough power band to handle the small stuff as well. This machine has met those requirements, and I am excited to get them into the hands of skilled tattooers!
Loving your labor begins with the right tools!
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