One of the most noticeable differences in a tattoo machine set up for lining and shading is the number of needles and how they are positioned. A machine that is set up for lining will usually use fewer needles than a shading machine so that the work can be more fine and detailed. Liners can be set up with anywhere from one to seven needles, which are positioned in a circle. Shaders are set up with more than four needles, which are usually in a straight line that resembles a comb. RL is used for liner machine and RS is used for shader machine. Use the right needles match the correct tattoo machines, then the machine will not break or make the needles run up and down.
Speed and Power
Tattoo machines that are set up for lining usually run faster than those set up for shading. And the voltage required is higher than the shader machine. Liners also use less powerful capacitors than shaders, which are best set up with a 47uF to 100uF capacitor. The higher power capacitor used in a shader tattoo machine powers the larger amount of needles and allows them to penetrate the skin enough to create vibrant and lasting color. A liner can be set up well with a 22uF capacitor.
When setting up a tattoo machine, a good rule of thumb is to use a higher wrap coil when you are using more needles. This applies when setting up a tattoo machine for shading versus lining. A machine set up for shading should be set up with a 10 to 12 wrap coil, while a machine set up for lining works well with an eight wrap coil. The more wraps there are in the coil, the more powerful the electromagnetic force that moves the needles becomes. The gaping from front coil to arm bar is different. This gap is not changed by changing the front spring it is changed by first altering the tension of the rear spring then adjusting the contact screw (length and angle and contact point - basic tuning).
Shading tattoo machines are usually slightly heavier than lining machines, with the former averaging between eight and 10 oz. and the latter weighing in between seven and eight oz. Larger artists that can handle a heavier weight for longer amounts of time may be more comfortable with a heavier machine for either lining or shading. It is important for you to be comfortable with the weight of your tattoo machine so that fatigue doesn't cause your quality of work to suffer.