For a growing number of tattoo artists it’s completely normal: take a cartridge out of the box, remove it from its packaging, put the cartridge in the tattoo machine and off you go. This wasn’t always the case. A lot had to be invented and developed to get to this point.
For artists who have been tattooing for over 20 years, it was standard practice to make and sterilize the needles themselves. Building needles was time consuming and hazardous. It required sacrificing a day of drawing or tattooing and earning money to make the tools of the trade. Changing long bar needles takes time, so it is common to use a separate machine for each needle configuration, and that was something Cheyenne set out to change.
“Cheyenne have always been the game-changer in the business. They dedicate themselves to make the artists the best they can be.” Bob Tyrell says.
Cheyenne’s products combine user-focused solutions with the highest standards of safety and hygiene. The idea was to encase the needles in a safe housing that both protects the needles and also allows needle changes in seconds via a simple mechanism. A positive side effect is that accidental injuries due to needle sticks and damage to the needle tips themselves are almost impossible.
Randy Engelhard has been a Safety Cartridge user from the beginning and describes Cheyenne’s creation as follows: “For me, the development of Safety Cartridges is a milestone in the tattoo industry. I used to have between 8 and 10 machines in place – one for each needle configuration. Today I work with one machine and change the needles in seconds. More time saving and comfort at work is not possible”.
In a traditional, long needle bar set up, the needle bar is connected to the cam or armature bar via the needle bar eye loop which has a push/pull function. With Cheyenne’s invention of the cartridge system, the needles are pushed out of the cartridge housing by the machine’s push bar and the safety membrane, a mechanism created and patented by Cheyenne, to retract the needle back into the cartridge. This biocompatible silicone membrane not only pulls the needles back into the cartridge, its critical function is sealing. Cheyenne’s safety membrane prevents pigment, blood and other bodily fluids from entering the grips as well as the machines and minimizes cross-contamination. This system is copied by almost all cartridge manufacturers today because Cheyenne’s invention is the best choice for safe tattooing.
MT.DERM GmbH in Berlin, Germany is the company behind Cheyenne and has a strong medical device background. As such, it has a quality management system certified according to the medical standard ISO 13485, which is unique in the tattoo industry. Dr. Andreas Pachten, Director of QM and Regulatory at MT.DERM GmbH, says: “The most important function is sealing. The safety membrane divides the needle system in a potentially contaminated and a clean compartment. This design effectively prevents either contaminated pigment or body fluids from entering the handpiece as well as preventing pathogens that may be presented in the handpiece to enter the needle cartridge.
The functionality of this concept has been tested in various settings by several accredited test laboratories and is proven to be highly effective. To ensure a constant product quality, all needle cartridge components are tested during development and production. Every single needle cartridge is checked individually before it leaves the company. Our ability to do so has been proven for all our tattoo and cosmetic needle cartridges as well as for all our medically approved safety cartridges by certification of our quality management system according to ISO 13485.”
Jens Bergström tattooist and founder of the tattoo and piercing education Scandinavia says: “I use the Cheyenne products to tattoo as safe as possible like every tattoo artist should do. Hygiene is very important to me and Cheyenne gives me the safety and variety I need to work in so many different styles.”
Cheyenne currently offers two different types of cartridges. The original, the black Safety Cartridges, currently available in 56 liner, shader, magnum and flat configurations, and the more affordable Craft Cartridges, available in the 19 major configurations.
Dr. Richard Weiss, Product Manager for Cheyenne Professional Tattoo Equipment says: “The black Safety Cartridges are the mother of all tattoo needle cartridge systems and have been continuously developed since their introduction in 2007. In our production facility, they are manufactured to the highest quality standards, and, above all, undergo a 100% inspection under a microscope before they are packaged and sterilized. Safety Cartridges are available in 56 configurations for all common tattoo styles. Of course, this range is constantly being expanded in order to have the perfect tool for more special applications. Colored caps on the cartridge body help artists quickly identify the configuration. The white Craft Cartridges are our economy version. The most popular configurations were chosen for this limited selection of the 19 available Craft cartridges. All our cartridges are equipped with our patented quality safety membrane. The tightness of the safety membrane in our cartridges complies with the requirements of the European standard EN 17169 Tattooing – Safe and hygienic practice. We provide the documented proof of this through our website.”
Australian tattoo artist Matt Curzon gets to the point when he says: “Cheyenne cartridges are second to none. I’ve always said, never cut corners or be stingy with your set up in tattooing, and tattooists should know better than anyone that you get what you pay for. Pretty simply, if you’re not using the best needles then you’re not making your tattoo the best it can be. Switching to Cheyenne has only helped to enhance my style and has certainly made life easier for me.”
Finally, it is worth mentioning that Cheyenne’s R&D department continues to work with tattoo artists to develop new products to meet their needs. The next ground-breaking advancement in cartridges is already in development and will certainly lead to more tattooists agreeing with Alex de Pase, who says: “I have been using Cheyenne tattoo equipment for a decade and I will never change as Cheyenne is just the best! I currently use the Cheyenne HAWK Pen and Cheyenne needles. With them, the tattoo outcome is always a guarantee, no matter which configuration of cartridges you use.”