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View Full Version : Trying to decide between 2 Gamma products and an Alpha


coach
06-14-2004, 08:12 PM
Hope to be a first time stringer soon and cannot decide between Alpha Pioneer DC Plus, and Gamma X-6 FC and Gamma Progression 602 FC, the latter two appear to be identical with the X-6 FC advertised as "New". All 3 machines are under $500. Thanks in advance for your opinions.

drop shot
06-14-2004, 10:00 PM
I had a Gamma 602 FC and I know that it is a very solid well built machine that will provide years of virtually maintenance free operation.

rich s
06-15-2004, 10:40 AM
I agree with drop shot only difference is I still have mine.

I have heard from two different people that the tension head clutch spring, on the Alpha machines, breaks at regular intervals.

The X-6FC has all metal clamps with quick lock bases vs the 602FC having composite clamps with the metallic diamond dusted inserts and the large wing nut clamped bases. I have not had any problems with my clamps but the all metal clamps sure do look like they are lower profile.

The 602FC is made from heavy weight solid castings whereas the X-6 is of bolted together extrusions. I think the warranty on the 602FC is lifetime vs 3 or 5 years for the X-6.

leog
06-15-2004, 08:30 PM
I just bought an X-6FC a couple weeks ago; it's my first machine and I've strung two rackets with it. I'm very happy with it--the drop-weight style may be older than the cranks and electrics, but with the ratcheting on the puller, it really doesn't seem too slow. You can also be sure that it's dead accurate since the weight, the bar length, and the laws of physics regarding torque should never change. It also gives constant-pull, which I wanted, and could only get in a very expensive electric or a drop-weight machine.

As for the aluminum base, it doesn't seem to be a problem--I've never felt that it was going to tip over. I think the trade off with the ProgIIFC for all metal clamps and their quick-latching is well worth shedding some weight on the base. I bought it from ATS and got free shipping, which helped make the choice even easier.

coach
06-19-2004, 05:37 PM
thanks for the input. I was leaning toward the new X- FC but considering that I will be stringing 1-3 racquets a month, and that I want accurate tension foremost, ease of operation second, I have now decided to go with Laserfibre's 200 ECO with Flying Clamps. I know these clamps will be harder to use than fixed but I can't justify the extra $200 (for fixed) with only a few racquets per month. I also have too much anxiety with any drop weight system being accurate and getting it easily to parallel each time so the ECO's "constant pull" system should do the trick for accuracy.

leog
06-19-2004, 06:10 PM
Hmm, I thought dropweights were inherently accurate. I can also vouch for the ratcheting clamp on the Gammas, it's very easy to get it horizontal/near horizontal, and there isn't much difference in the pull with a little deflection on the bar (equations governing torque from the effective bar length will show this, physics major speaking here:)

I'm not trying to push Gamma; I know the Laserfibres have a reputation for great quality--I just didn't buy one because I hadn't heard anything bad about Gammas and for the same money I could get way more features. Good luck with your machine, since I got mine (it's pathetic, I know) I actually look forward to breaking my next string.

Audiodude
06-19-2004, 07:00 PM
In my opinion, the fixed clamps are of far more value than Laserfibre's take on gravity. The tiny difference if tension, when the bar is not perfectly horizontal, will be more than made up for by the superior holding of the fixed clamps. The clamps on the Gamma are about as good as you can buy for anywhere near the price. The gravity used by each machine is largely the same. IMHO.

coach
06-20-2004, 08:20 PM
you know, color me confused. That's part of the problem with buying something on-line without being able to see it first hand in a store, but I think most stringing machines you have to buy that way unless you are lucky enough to live in a town that sells them, and if it's Laserfibre, that one and only place is Rhode Island. Part of the confusion too is that LF claims to have the only "drop weight constant pull machine", but Gamma's X - 6 implies constant pull with it's • Drop weight ratcheting tension mechanism - • Patented diamond coated, ratchet gripper. I know what a ratchet is but without any stringing experience I can't see the advantage with this. Then compare that with LF's ECO model's Smart Weight™ tensioning--- with different terms with different machines it's like comparing apples to pianos. At the very least this website talked me out of buying an Eagnas product, whatever I end up with should be superior to theirs. I spoke to Tim from LF the other day and I think I will call someone else to ask about Gamma's products, I guess that's the next best thing to being able to see it up close and ask a salesperson (who admittedly is hardly an impartial observer). As far as I can tell living in Los Angeles does me no good in locating machines I can look at first before buying. Heaven help the person like me who lives in a town like Rapid City, SD.

coach
06-21-2004, 07:31 AM
-- continued--- actually, Laserfibre has a 30 day "no questons asked" return policy, that's a pretty consumer friendly company. Let's see Maxline (Eagnas) do that.

Audiodude
06-21-2004, 08:10 AM
All dropweights are constant pull. The Laserfibre Smartweight system, while very clever, in reality offers very little benefit over conventional dropweights with regard to accuracy of tension. The small differences in tension when the dropweight bar is slightly off parallel are essentially insignificant. Even Laserfibre admits to slight differences in tension depending on the location of the bar. Drawback on clamps and especially slippage of flying clamps will cause greater errors in tension. That being said, I do admire the cleverness and build quality of the Laserfibre machines. It should also be noted that the Gamma will require slightly more string to wrap around the drum. Personally, I think any reasonably skilled stringer could get excellent results with either machine. I do think that the Gamma stringer will be easier to use for beginners, due to the fixed clamps.

Gaines Hillix
06-21-2004, 11:10 AM
I would also much prefer a Gamma 602 with fixed clamps to the ECO with flying clamps for the reasons already stated in the posts above.

Simbah2004
06-21-2004, 12:46 PM
Gaines, but I believe you still would choose the Eco with fixed clamps over the others mentioned above right?
Coach, one of the things other stringers have mentioned is the fact that people WILL ask you to string their frames (if you tell them you have a machine). That extra income may be handy when buying tennis stuff. But it depends on the person. First time stringers will still have to see if they enjoy doing it - and with fixed clamps the job seems easier.
I know for sure I will have control over my equipment and save money stringing my own frames - but that doesn't mean I will enjoy stringing. If I like it, I will do it for others and fixed clamps will be a necessity. If not, I believe the Laserfibre with flying clamps would be a perfect investment.

Audiodude
06-21-2004, 03:59 PM
You'll probably find that you enjoy stringing more with fixed clamps rather than flying. May as well stack the deck in your favor right from the start.

Simbah2004
06-21-2004, 06:07 PM
Good point! (:

coach
06-21-2004, 08:13 PM
okay, you guys have me talked back into a Fixed Clamp as I wrote in the original post. Also, knowing myself, I will enjoy stringing. I would even enjoy stringing with a entry level Klippermate but it would bug me knowing I could be saving time with fixed clamps and also I like to go easy on my racquets so I definitely need a 6 point mounting. So I will go with Gamma, probably the new X-6, doesn't look as heavy duty as the Progression 602 but with the X-6 I will get free shipping and also all metal clamps vs. composite with the P 602-- both have a 5 year warranty. Any other opinions? speak now or forever hold your peace.

Audiodude
06-22-2004, 05:02 AM
Gamma's all metal clamps are of a very high quality. I totally agree with your logic.

SW Stringer
06-22-2004, 10:03 AM
Unfortunately, I didn't know about this site when I bought my Klippermate six years ago - so I wasn't pre-programmed to "know" that flying clamps were crap and would "slow" me down. So with about six years of stringing with modified "vice-grips" I can speak with authority when I say they (the Klippermate vice grip flying clamps) are as fast as or maybe even faster than single action fixed clamps. Read this: Click, one thousand one, click. The first click is removing the clamp, the second click is applying the clamp. Takes about one second maybe less. Now I suppose you could take longer if you wanted to, but having fixed clamps doesn't guarantee fast release to clamp times especially with the double action kind. That's my experience after having clamped and unclamped about 128,000 times each with flying clamps. PS. It only takes a few times (not the full 128K) to be able to clamp and unclamp quickly.

Audiodude
06-22-2004, 11:48 AM
Go with the metal clamps. They are very well built and extremely easy to use.

coach
06-22-2004, 11:59 AM
It's me, Coach, and I just ordered the Gamma X-6 with Fixed Clamps. I will get the machine around the weekend or next Monday and will string 2 racquets right away so I will let you all know what I think and how it worked. Thanks to all who provided input on this.

Audiodude
06-22-2004, 12:55 PM
I'd go for the metal clamps. They are extremely well built, and very easy to use.

leog
06-24-2004, 05:37 PM
You won't regret the X-6FC. The only thing I wish I'd done differently is order a starting clamp from ATS to go with the machine--as good as the fixed all-metal diamond-coated clamps are, they have a tough time holding on the starting main pull. I've got a starting clamp coming tomorrow, so this will no longer be an issue. Enjoy the new Gamma, I sure have been.

coach
06-30-2004, 08:35 AM
Here’s an update to my Gamma X-6 FC stringer that arrived last NIGHT at 8:05 pm (grrrr). To summarize, it’s like the old western: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

Good:
1) I received 12 packs of Gamma string along with it, a great assortment, from the cheap stuff to others that retail for more than $10.00 a package.

2) The machine itself, though a lot of extruded aluminum, is still very substantial (about 35 pounds) and appears to be very solid.

3) The double action all metal fixed clamps were easy to figure out how to use and worked well. I had to adjust them once initially for a firmer hold and that was it.

4) The ratchet system next to the gripper (though not explained in the owner’s manual) was at first a mystery to me but then quickly became my best friend. Often the tension arm would go just past parallel and then I would raise the arm and it was just turning the ratchet mechanism with my other hand one more “click” to get the right tension.

Bad:
1) The owner’s manual for the stringer was better than a bad photocopy but not a lot better. Several of the black and white photos were grainy and the directions had me confused to the tune that it took me maybe 75 minutes to assemble everything. It also didn’t help that 2 of the underside lockdown screws for the mounts weren’t well packed and were loose in the box when I unpacked it, the last one I found underneath the turntable just when I had given it up for lost.

2) Also disappointing was the 2003 Getting Started stringers guide, probably from the USRSA. Though the print quality was superior to the owners manual, on page 9 it refers to Around The World stringing on page 23- there was no page 23, it ended at page 20 with still no explanation of that process.

Ugly:
1) The results – my first string job was aborted around midnight with 13 or so mains pulled and tensioned. The racquet I was practicing on was a cheap garage sale special, an old graphite Pro Kennex 110 Phoenix. Though I marked the 4 tie offs (it was strung in 2 pieces) before I cut it out, I got real confused about which mains to skip. I thought I could tell from looking at the grommets but that wasn’t the case. I was especially confused about the tie-offs (not physically how to loop them) but I still had more mains to string when I got to that point. It seems to me some tie-offs might be knotting the string against itself, whereas others might be coming back through with a cross and tying that to the base of the main string. HELP! Again this was practice but I would like to feel more confident before starting on my good racquets. Sorry this was soooo long.

leog
06-30-2004, 09:27 PM
Coach,
As I've stated earlier I have the same machine; I dealt with the same issues you did, loose parts from shipping and poorly copied instructions. I did manage to get the thing together in about an hour, and I read through the getting started manual before I tried to string anything. I also watched some of the videos on SilentPartner's website of rackets being strung on their machines...while their machines are a little different from the X-6FC, they methods are still the same.

I've strung 5 rackets now with mine and each time it gets a little smoother--you learn what knots you like and the weaving of the crosses gets easier. The one thing I found was that I needed a starting clamp for the first pull of the mains--you clamp the string with the fixed clamp and put the starting clamp behind the fixed clamp so that if (when) the string slips on the first pull, the starting clamp keeps it.

Keep working at it, after you do a couple rackets you'll be singing a better tune:)

coach
07-02-2004, 08:50 AM
much better with the next racquet. Ended up stringing 2 piece because I didn't know about measuring the short side and ended up with 11 and 13 feet after stringing the mains. So I grabbed a set of colored string and did a hybrid - which for a neo stringer like myself allowed me to weave crosses a lot better and check my work. Tying knots was easy with great pics of starting and other knots at the Silent Partner website. Thanks too for advice for the starting clamp, I improvised with a visegrip to apply backpressure.

Ruuzo
07-02-2004, 11:08 AM
You got 12 sets of string?!? I ordered the same stringer and only got 6. :(

coach
07-02-2004, 02:21 PM
I got them from ATS, not Gamma

Ruuzo
07-02-2004, 04:21 PM
Yeah, I got the stringer from ATS also - these are the strings I got - this is off the top of my head, the strings aren't in front of me right now so I may have the gauges wrong, I'll update this post later when I get a chance:

(now edited)

LiveWire XP 16
Pro Plus 17L
Duraspin 16
Gut 3 17
Synthetic Gut 16
TNT Titanium 17

What strings did you get? And by the way, I also received mine just this past wednesday.

coach
07-05-2004, 04:24 PM
I ordered from Leah at ATS. I received along with the X - 6 stringer:
Dura Spin 16
Pro 17
Infinity 15L
Gut 3
TNT Extreme Spin 19
TNT Titanium 17
TNT2 16
TNT Fat Core 16
TNT 17
Syn Gut 17
Live Wire XP16
Gamma (generic, black, feels like 16).

I also received (besides tools) gauze, 2 three packs of overwrap, a shockbuster worm. This was labeled Machine String Pack #2, perhaps you got #1 by mistake.

Ruuzo
07-06-2004, 01:06 PM
Thanks for the info, I'm going to contact them and see if I can get the strings I didn't get.

Simbah2004
07-12-2004, 01:36 PM
By the way, ATS is Gamma.