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View Full Version : Alpha Pioneer III: like I've visited an old friend...


VGP
11-15-2006, 08:41 AM
I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed stringing my frames this past weekend.

Years ago in college I bought an Alpha Pioneer III stringing machine. Just like many people who string their own, I bought it to save money. It long ago paid for itself, but in recent years I've been paying to have strings installed. I've been busy with job and family and playing a lot less. I thought I'd just save time by paying others to do it.

We live in a smaller apartment and with kids, I haven't been eager to do the stringing myself. After actually getting the stuff out again, I really feel like I just should have just been doing again myself.

I started reading the Stringing Machine forum and the advice given here is good. I also learned that the Alpha Pioneer III has stood the test of time. It really is built like a tank. My string jobs even feel better than the ones I've been paying for.

Now, I've just got to get confident in my stringing technique to try to install natural gut myself. I've been liking gut main/synth cross hybrids....

Just wanted to express my minor, yet pleasant surprise.

Bolt
11-15-2006, 08:53 AM
I too have an Alpha Pioneer III. My parents purchased it while I was in high school and it has served me well through the 15+ years I've owned it. Time flies!

This weekend I plan to do some major surgery on the mounting system to improve the safety for stringing my discontinued and reputedly fragile Pyramid Tours. I'll see about posting pictures of the results if there's interest.

skraggle
11-15-2006, 09:19 AM
I have the Pioneer III, too. I bought it with the idea of learning on it and then upgrading. Guess what? I can't find a single reason (well, other than the mounts) to get another stringer. I've probably done 50+ jobs on it and it's like an old hitting partner now. Too bad I can't find the racquet equivalent!

BTW, Bolt, would definitely like to hear of any mount improvements you come up with...

Bolt
11-15-2006, 09:26 AM
I have the Pioneer III, too. I bought it with the idea of learning on it and then upgrading. Guess what? I can't find a single reason (well, other than the mounts) to get another stringer. I've probably done 50+ jobs on it and it's like an old hitting partner now. Too bad I can't find the racquet equivalent!

BTW, Bolt, would definitely like to hear of any mount improvements you come up with...

What mount improvements would you make?

skraggle
11-15-2006, 09:41 AM
What mount improvements would you make?

Well, if I could have "K" mounts, that would be ideal. Once in a while, the frame will pop off a mount...

Young Pete
11-15-2006, 09:51 AM
maybe you can insert those K-mounts from the pioneer dc-plus dropweight into the old mounting holes of the pioneer III. looks like a direct fit.

eunjam
11-15-2006, 09:55 AM
great to hear VGP.

welcome back to the stringing world.

the satisfaction of stringing your own racket is such a natural high.

skraggle
11-15-2006, 09:56 AM
maybe you can insert those K-mounts from the pioneer dc-plus dropweight into the old mounting holes of the pioneer III. looks like a direct fit.

Interesting...thankis for the tip! Might be time to give a call over to Alpha...

Young Pete
11-15-2006, 09:57 AM
Interesting...thankis for the tip! Might be time to give a call over to Alpha...

please do i'd like to know too!!!

Bolt
11-15-2006, 09:59 AM
Well, if I could have "K" mounts, that would be ideal. Once in a while, the frame will pop off a mount...

Thanks for the input. I'll see if I can weld something together that will fit into the hole where the current mount posts sit. It sure seems like something Alpha could have done to retrofit these machines.

The other approach I was thinking of was to create something along the lines of Laserfibre's upside down L that will hold the frame in place at 10:00 and 2:00. This would serve my major need of keeping the racquet from warping along the long axis by providing more security up top than what is currently offered by the single support at 12:00. This could work in conjunction with a K mount or perhaps even with the stock support. I suppose two C-clamps at 10 and 2 would work too, but I'm hoping for something a little sleeker.

skraggle
11-15-2006, 10:23 AM
please do i'd like to know too!!!

Okay, just got off the phone with a super cool and helpful guy at Alpha: the current "K" mounts won't work on the Pioneer III because they're higher up on the post. So if they were used, the racquet would be too high at the 12:00 and 6:00 points.

He also praised this machine and let me know that he has a good stockpile of the following parts: Clutch springs, clamp mechanism (holds halves together and clamps) and mounting arms...

VGP
11-15-2006, 10:55 AM
I remember asking the guys at Alpha if the newer mounting and clamp system would retrofit to the Pioneer III. Not just the "K" mounts, although a similar kind of part would be great.

I did have a frame pop out of the mount on me once when I was stringing for a friend. The frame had a rounder profile than my regular frames.

Bolt, if you can come up with something a little more "modern" to prevent frames from lifting, please let us know.

Thanks for checking on that with Alpha skraggle....my machine is still in great working order, but it's good to know that there are still parts available.

Once I got started, I was surprised how easily I got back in the groove. It took me just under two hours to set up, string two frames, and clean up. All while watching "Fantastic 4" with my wife.

I strung two PS 85s at 65 lbs with 16 gauge Alpha Synthetic Gut, packs that I've had since I strung more regularly. The next day I checked the tension with my Stringmeter and was pleased with the results. One ended up looser than the other, but by only one or two pounds.

varuscelli
11-15-2006, 11:10 AM
Hey, why don't a couple of you guys who have the older Pioneer stringing machines send me a few photos for the image library? It wouldn't hurt at all to make a page for these machines for reference, etc.

If you'd like, please feel free to e-mail me some photos to the address below (or post to Photobucket or a similar site for me to go out and grab).

Al Ruscelli
al@ruscelli.com
vruscelli@houston.rr.com

Bolt
11-15-2006, 11:12 AM
Bolt, if you can come up with something a little more "modern" to prevent frames from lifting, please let us know.

Indeed. And if the mods work I'll be sure to make extras and spread the love.

VGP
11-15-2006, 11:29 AM
Indeed. And if the mods work I'll be sure to make extras and spread the love.

Thanks. That would be great!

How about a post of the right size that goes to a flat diagonal piece that would just pop into the hole. Just glue something softer and sturdy on the flat part that won't damage the finish on the frames.....but that might rotate and slip? Hmmmm, just thinking out loud....

Bolt
11-20-2006, 06:47 AM
I have a solution to the mount problem. VGP, Skraggle and Young Pete, contact me through the site with your mailing address and I'll send you a set ASAP. For any other interested parties, I have one set left and can make more but it will be two weeks before I have the opportunity to complete them.

skraggle
11-20-2006, 07:26 AM
Hey Bolt-

That was fast! I'd love to see what you came up with, so here's my address:

Bill Day
c/o Team One Advertising
1960 E. Grand Ave.
El Segundo, CA 90245

Also, please let me know how I can reimburse you for your efforts...this issue has been the only thing about the III that was less than great...

Thanks so much,

Bill

Young Pete
11-20-2006, 06:41 PM
I have a solution to the mount problem. VGP, Skraggle and Young Pete, contact me through the site with your mailing address and I'll send you a set ASAP. For any other interested parties, I have one set left and can make more but it will be two weeks before I have the opportunity to complete them.


BOLT! GOOD JOB! YOU THE MAN!!

please email me at

y o u n g p e t e @ h o t m a i l . c o m

(remove spaces)

i would like to see what u came up with and if you have any more sets...no hurry!!!!!

VGP
11-21-2006, 06:53 AM
I have a solution to the mount problem. VGP, Skraggle and Young Pete, contact me through the site with your mailing address and I'll send you a set ASAP. For any other interested parties, I have one set left and can make more but it will be two weeks before I have the opportunity to complete them.

Bolt - I can't seem to get to your contact information through TTW...

Is it possible you can get to me through my profile?

I'm off at my in-laws at the moment so I'm not on as often at the moment....

Thanks so much for the offer. I too can't wait to see what you've come up with.....

edited to add email:

vponferrada (at) hotmail.com

Bolt
11-21-2006, 06:56 AM
Hey Bolt-

That was fast! I'd love to see what you came up with, so here's my address:

Bill Day
c/o Team One Advertising
1960 E. Grand Ave.
El Segundo, CA 90245

Also, please let me know how I can reimburse you for your efforts...this issue has been the only thing about the III that was less than great...

Thanks so much,

Bill

The adapters will go out in the mail today. Don't worry about reimbursement. It's my pleasure. :)

Bolt
11-21-2006, 06:57 AM
Bolt - I can't seem to get to your contact information through TTW...

Is it possible you can get to me through my profile?

I'm off at my in-laws at the moment so I'm not on as often at the moment....

edited to add email:

vponferrada@hotmail.com

Email sent!

AR15
11-22-2006, 08:02 AM
Bolt, I'd be very interested in a set too. I'd be willing to PayPal you for your efforts.

Email me please: s d a v i s 2 6 7 @ comcast.net

Thanks!

VGP
11-27-2006, 03:42 PM
Bolt came through...I got the mounting retainers today. Thank you!

Looks like they'll do the job. But it could be a while until I get to try them out. I just strung up some frames and my stringing machine isn't with me at the moment.....

If anyone else gets theirs and gives them a try, let us know your experiences too!

skraggle
11-28-2006, 10:29 AM
Got mine too! Thanks, Bolt! I'll try them out tonight and report back...

skraggle
11-29-2006, 12:00 AM
Well, I just finished stringing an RDS 001 mid using the new BoltTastic 3000 mounts, and it's a big thumbs up! He designed them so they pull in and down just right, locking the frame in with an awesome Kung Fu grip. They look to be adaptable enough for any frame and won't leave any marks on your sweet frame.

There were a few small blockage and clearance issues, but minor nits in the face of having my frame properly mounted for the first time, with no chance whatsoever of popping out.

Bolt, thanks so much for hooking me up and fixing the only downside to the Alpha Pioneer III. Excellent job and I definitely owe you one!

Young Pete
11-29-2006, 12:19 AM
BOLT is the alpha mcgyver!!!

Bolt
11-29-2006, 05:31 AM
Well, I just finished stringing an RDS 001 mid using the new BoltTastic 3000 mounts, and it's a big thumbs up! He designed them so they pull in and down just right, locking the frame in with an awesome Kung Fu grip. They look to be adaptable enough for any frame and won't leave any marks on your sweet frame.

There were a few small blockage and clearance issues, but minor nits in the face of having my frame properly mounted for the first time, with no chance whatsoever of popping out.

Bolt, thanks so much for hooking me up and fixing the only downside to the Alpha Pioneer III. Excellent job and I definitely owe you one!

Rock on! I had the same clearance problems as well but the tensioner pulled the strings into place without a hitch. Besides, like you said, it was nice to have my frames properly mounted.

If any of the beta testers (VGP, Skraggle, Young Pete) can come up with ideas to improve the design I would be happy to take those ideas to the lab for a future release.

VGP
12-10-2006, 07:24 PM
I finally got around to stringing using Bolt's mounting contraptions.

As skraggle said, they do work great. I don't really have anything to add other than the design works well.

I can't seem to come up with any changes to directly help the blockage/clearance issues the others have experienced, but it's not a big deal. Perhaps creating a little more room on the inner face of the mount where you gain access to the grommet holes.....

FWIW, I strung up a ProKennex Copper Ace 90 (99 cents at a local thrift store) and another Wilson PS 85. The PS 85 is a great frame for the conventional Alpha Pioneer III because it's got a thin, flat profile. The PK Copper Ace 90 was a great test frame for Bolt's mounts because it's got a thin profile (thinner than the PS 85 actually) and it's rounded.

I guarantee that the PK Copper Ace 90 would have popped out of the conventional mounting system. Bolt's mounts held it securely in place.

Just wanted to say thanks again to Bolt and that those things work great.

...on a side note, I used Parnell knots for the first time and I'll be tying off that way from now on!

skraggle
12-11-2006, 01:27 AM
Hey VGP-

You know, I took a slightly different approach to Bolt's mounts and my clearance issues are 95% solved. Because he designed them to nicely pull down as well as in, I leave some room in the middle and let the top of the frame do the contact with the mount. With some basic pads I made out of overgrips wrapped with tape, I protect the frame from the arms and give the frame something to sink down into a bit. Works great.

Once again, I have to thank Bolt for the great solution!

VGP
12-11-2006, 07:14 AM
When I used the mounts, I tried to leave some gap between the vertical part of the mount and the frame. I did like skraggle said and let the top of the mount push down on the frame.

I had a thought earlier this morning...perhaps adding a thick nylon washer to the mounts where the washer can contact the base of the frame and the curved top of the mount can still retain the frame in a downward fashion. The nylon washer would allow for some gap to allow for easier access to the blocked grommet holes....

Bolt
12-11-2006, 07:45 AM
Thanks for the input!

Which of the adapters do you prefer: the long or the short? I was thinking that I could make some out of an even longer piece to allow for the adapter to be placed in the outside hole location. My thinking is that this might allow for more space between the frame and the adapter???

Also I'm thinking that a thicker hose material might allow me to trim some off the vertical part of the adapter where it blocks the holes.

Young Pete
12-11-2006, 08:21 PM
man i think you guys are going a little too overboard in this whole mount thing.

skraggle
12-11-2006, 08:28 PM
Young Pete-

Imagine you were dating a girl you really loved, ideal in almost every way but had an annoying laugh. You were always dreading the moment when she would open her mouth and let loose that sound.

Then, one day, someone came along and fixed her laugh. Wouldn't you be enthusiastic about that?

skraggle
12-11-2006, 08:30 PM
Thanks for the input!

Which of the adapters do you prefer: the long or the short? I was thinking that I could make some out of an even longer piece to allow for the adapter to be placed in the outside hole location. My thinking is that this might allow for more space between the frame and the adapter???

Also I'm thinking that a thicker hose material might allow me to trim some off the vertical part of the adapter where it blocks the holes.

I thought about cutting a channel into the hose for string to pass through, but clamping down and in has pretty much done the trick for me.

Did the Alpha comes with different adaptors? Mine only came with one set...

Young Pete
12-11-2006, 08:38 PM
Young Pete-

Imagine you were dating a girl you really loved, ideal in almost every way but had an annoying laugh. You were always dreading the moment when she would open her mouth and let loose that sound.

Then, one day, someone came along and fixed her laugh. Wouldn't you be enthusiastic about that?

you are correct!

OrangeOne
12-11-2006, 08:55 PM
Ok - I don't have an Alpha (or a stringer at all :( - that will change over the next year), but:

This is the best thread I've read on TW in a long, long time. Entertaining and with people being over-the-odds helpful. I'm impressed. If there's ever a best thread vote, you guys get mine!

Young Pete
01-23-2007, 02:00 PM
i just strung a ps classic with an alpha pio 3 using BOLT's modified clamps and they hold the racquet like it was engineered professionally to hold it!!!! again Bolt if you are reading this thanks a lot and the side clamps u made for me are the bomb!!!!!!!

skraggle
02-02-2007, 06:22 PM
Got to give another shout out to Bolt's bolts! I've strung 20+ sticks since he sent me the upgraded mounts, and I continue to be impressed with his design. Long like the Alpha Pioneer III and love live Bolt!

Thanks again, Scott...

ccelis
02-03-2007, 08:59 AM
Got to give another shout out to Bolt's bolts! I've strung 20+ sticks since he sent me the upgraded mounts, and I continue to be impressed with his design. Long like the Alpha Pioneer III and love live Bolt!

Thanks again, Scott...

Hi
Can you post pic's of your set-up?

Thanks

Bolt
02-08-2007, 11:50 AM
i just strung a ps classic with an alpha pio 3 using BOLT's modified clamps and they hold the racquet like it was engineered professionally to hold it!!!! again Bolt if you are reading this thanks a lot and the side clamps u made for me are the bomb!!!!!!!

Got to give another shout out to Bolt's bolts! I've strung 20+ sticks since he sent me the upgraded mounts, and I continue to be impressed with his design. Long like the Alpha Pioneer III and love live Bolt!

Thanks again, Scott...

Awesome guys! I'm glad the adapters are working out for you.

AR15
02-09-2007, 02:08 PM
Anyone know where I can get a replacement tension scale decal for the drop weight arm?

Is it the same as the one used on the Klippermate?

gotwheels
02-09-2007, 02:22 PM
For the tension scale decal for the Alpha Pioneer, go to Alphatennis or newtechtennis. Greg or Mark should be able to fix you up. Alpha is the kind of business that sends a spare tension decal out with a new machine. Little things like that say a lot about a business.

Also, Gamma and Tenex marketed the same machine - so Gamma may have one.

cpt.piccard
05-16-2008, 05:22 AM
Hey:) I bougth a used alpha pioneer 3 not long ago and I`m having som problems with the frame popping out! Do anyone have a picture of the adapters you have?

Bolt
05-16-2008, 05:39 AM
Hey:) I bougth a used alpha pioneer 3 not long ago and I`m having som problems with the frame popping out! Do anyone have a picture of the adapters you have?

Jean-Luc, I sent you an email through your profile. If you can send me a trilithium crystal I'll be happy to forward a set of adapters. Or just your address will work too.

cpt.piccard
05-21-2008, 09:08 AM
Thanks Bolt!! I just got the adapters today and they work perfect!
There should be more people like you in the world:)

WhoBDat
08-17-2008, 11:56 AM
Bolt, do you still have those adapters for the Pioneer 3?
Anyway I could get a hold of a set?
Or if anyone who's got them, could you post a picture?

Thanks.

:)

Il Mostro
08-17-2008, 03:28 PM
Bolt, just wanted to say that your ingenuity and generosity are very impressive.

VGP
09-06-2008, 01:56 PM
I know it's been forever since I started the thread, I just thought I'd post pics.....

http://i38.tinypic.com/2mch7o9.jpg

http://i35.tinypic.com/hwh8hj.jpg

Mansewerz
09-06-2008, 04:42 PM
Are those the parts that Bolt sent to you?

VGP
09-06-2008, 06:00 PM
No, I'll have to put those on and post another pic......

......hopefully within a year's time.

Mansewerz
09-06-2008, 07:17 PM
No, I'll have to put those on and post another pic......

......hopefully within a year's time.

LOL Ok.

I was wondering because those didn't look like they would securely hold a racquet.

Marietta_Ken
04-19-2009, 07:12 PM
I'm picking up a used Pioneer III tomorrow and sure would love to add this upgrade. BOLT... you out there??

Kot_Bigemot
08-24-2009, 11:35 AM
Jean-Luc, I sent you an email through your profile. If you can send me a trilithium crystal I'll be happy to forward a set of adapters. Or just your address will work too.
Hi Bolt.
Friend of mine just bought a used Alpha Pioneer III.
Can you please email me so i can talk to you about getting those upgrades, of course if you are still offering them. shtiblet@gmail.com
In return i can mail you some strings or overgrips or some leather grips. I am sure i can find something that will interest you :)
Thanks.

Bud
10-13-2009, 02:14 PM
That Pioneer III looks like a nice machine. I really like the internal mounting system.

monster j
10-15-2009, 01:14 PM
I want to buy one to start stringing, how much should I pay for one?

skraggle
10-15-2009, 01:24 PM
I got mine for about $220, so anywhere around that range is a pretty good deal.