$200 more for a spring tensioner machine. Worth it?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by goose guy, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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    Okay, I have an X2 but looking to upgrade to a Gamma x6fc or 602fc. I was also looking at the X-ST or Progression ST II, but for over $200 more than the dropweight machines? Is it worth it? Will it make me that much faster?
     
  2. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    A lockout is on the average 15 minutes faster than a drop weight you do the math.
     
  3. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    plus if you get the lockout you can add a Wise 2086 later much easier :)
     
  4. sstchur

    sstchur Hall of Fame

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    I started on a drop weight and now have a Gamma 6004 crank. I really like the crank and can't imagine going back to drop weight. It's easier and more enjoyable to string on (but this is due to more than just the tensioning mechanism).

    I also happen to like the feel of the string bed produced from a lock out machine and am one of the rare people who would probably opt for the lock out setting if I had an electronic machine.
     
  5. mmk

    mmk Professional

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    I have an X-2, and a few months ago bought a used Eagnas fixed-clamp, lockout machine. The fixed clamps are the biggest improvement over the X-2, but the lockout is also a nice improvement, especially with poly strings. On the other hand, there are more things for your string to get wrapped around, but that is a minor inconvenience.
     
  6. Peppershaker

    Peppershaker Rookie

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    Also started out on an X-2 and was looking to move up. Had just about decided what I was going to purchase when I ran across some posts regarding the Stringway machines.

    Ended up purchasing an ML100 and really enjoy my machine. And although classified as a drop-weight, not really any comparison to other drop weight machines.

    Don't upgrade too quickly, might be better off holding off until you can spend more, or have determined what you'd like to improve on. Doubt that you can wrong with any Gamma machine (and many other makes), but you might find yourself wishing to upgrade once again.
     
  7. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    Irvin,

    I easily string in 25 minutes with my Klippermate--10 minutes? Really, I occasionally string on a Neos. Granted, it's not my normal machine and I could get better but I am no faster on it.

    One comment though. I do think that the ratcheted grippers are slower. The KM cam system is really faster once you're really proficient with it.
     
  8. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    ^^I can show you a video TW made where they used a NEOS to string a racket in under 7 minutes - that is 18 minutes faster. But there are a lot of techniques used in their method I would not use if I were stringing a racket. If you can string as fast on a KM as you can on a NEOS I would like to see the video.

    I can string a racket in about 12 minutes but that is pushing it. Once one becomes proficient using a lockout I would assume they could save at least an average of 15 minutes over a drop weight.
     
  9. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    As you become moire proficient, I don't believe that there is any question that you would be significantly faster on a crank machine versus a traditional drop weight (I cannot comment on the Stringway as I have no personal familiarity with it). I use a Neos and have been stringing forever (learned to string when I was 12 (about 40 years ago) and my average is probably 15-18 minutes all in (cutting out old strings, mounting, etc. and I generally string with natural gut--easy frame to string however (BLX 95 (16x18)). I have competed in some local fast stringing contests where quality was secondary and with younger fingers, could string a racquets in just under 10 minutes with cheap nylon.

    Having said that, as you get better, you can do a quality job on just about any machine in less than 30 minutes. The real time saver relates to your proficiency in weaving the crosses. My personal view is that an upright crank (or if you want to pay for it, an electronic) with fixed clamps is simply a more enjoyable stringing experience and gives you a machine that is a practical tool should you ever wish to get to the point you wish to string a sigificant number of racquest (i.e., beyond your own sticks).

    My best advice is to try a few different machines if you have friends with them. If not, you will just have to make your decision by reading as much as you can. My two cents is an upright crank is the most economic, efficient and enjoyable stringing experience--if you are really committed, save your money for that. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  10. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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    Well said, Max Ply. Very good points and very convincing. Thanks.
     
  11. Brocolt

    Brocolt Rookie

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    I had a klippermate. IMO spend the money and get the crank well worth it. I would never go back to a drop weight. Looking forward to upgrading to an electric tensioner in the future. If your not in a hurry search Craigs list. I posted a wanted add and found an alpha revo crank for $280. The fixed clamps are the only way to fly. Spend the money you will thank yourself later.
     
  12. Racquet-Priority

    Racquet-Priority Rookie

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    In a 16*19 racquets you have 35 pulls. Lets say you are on a dropweight. You tension each pull in 30 seconds (which is not fast.). That would mean you spend 17,5 minutes each stringjob with tensioning with the dropweight. And you say you can get 15 minutes faster with just another tension head?
     
  13. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    ^If it takes 30 seconds on each pull on a drop weight and if you were stringing purely for speed on a crank, I actually believe you easily would save 15 minutes on a crank---again pulling purely for speed, I suspect you can pull the crank to lock out position in 2 seconds or so (maybe even faster)---not a technique I would recommend for quality but I believe the math works. Honestly, even a smooth and steady, quality pull on crank is likely less than 8 seconds. I have never timed it, but 30 seconds a pull seem like an eternity.
     
  14. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    On my stringer I use a slow pull of 5 seconds and do a double pull (Yusuki Method) for starting my mains so I actually do 36 pulls. 36 * 25 / 60 = 15.

    EDIT: You have to remember also the OP is considering upgrading from a rotary gripper to a linear gripper.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  15. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    I'm sure that I'd be faster on the Neos if I strung on it a lot. My only point, and it's not argumentative, is that the pulling process on the Klipper cam gripper is really fast once you're proficient and using a string that you're used to. I constantly see threads on here about how difficult dropweights are and how hard it is to get the bar horizontal, etc. It's just not true.

    With the Klipper being the machine I use regularly, I'm most comfortable on it. I am faster making the pulls and releasing the strings on it than I am on the Neos. The loading, cranking, releasing, process actually slows me down. I know that would get better with use. Also, the KM floating clamps are so quick and easy. The glide bars on the Neos give me a bit of problem. Once again, with lots of use, I'd get way better.

    I am in no way saying the KM is a better option; I'd rather have a Neos. But, I've strung hundreds of racquets on the KM and probably less than 20 on the Neos. I just like for people to know that they can become proficient on, and deliver a quality job, on table top, low end machines. And I know that you've been a proponent, so no arguments with you Irvin.
     
  16. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    I can't imagine getting the bar close to horizontal being hard. And the more experienced you are the faster and easier it will be. But doing a fast job on a drop weight brings up some problems. For one thing the weight on the bar weighs maybe 6 pounds (I have no idea for sure.) But if it does weigh 6 pounds the weight must be out on the bar 10 times the radius of the circular gripper to get 60 pounds of tension. This means as you lower the weight any momentum is magnified 10 times. In order to minimize any overshoot on a drop weight you should have the bar almost motionless before it stops. With a lockout you can pull as fast as you like with little or no overshoot. The problem with being too fast on a lockout is after the initial fast stretch there is a lot of tension loss.

    If at a later time you think you may want to add on a Wise I would go for the drop weight because it is $250 cheaper. That is half the price of a Wise tensioner. With the Wise you hit the bottom or foot pedal and let it tension while you move the clamp. If you set it on the slow setting that takes 5 seconds and by the time it beeps you are ready to clamp the string and go to the next.

    EDIT: Also stringing poly on a drop weight would be easier (when you get the hang of it) but and appreciative amount of overshoot could stretch the life out of the strings.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  17. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    agree

    I too have come 'through the ranks' of machines. My first machine was an old Tremont wind up. I then had a Gamma drop weight and then a Neos and I added a Wise tension head a little over a year ago.

    Crank is way better than drop weight from a user standpoint and electronic is better than crank. From strictly a stringing standpoint, I give it the same order.
     
  18. bbulla

    bbulla Rookie

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    I have strung for over 15 years on an Ektelon Model H (ie. an older version of a lock-out Neos). I only recently started stringing on a Stringway ML120 drop-weight, and I must say the Stringway gives a much better job.

    It is only marginally slower, and that only because I am still getting used to the clamps....not because of the tension head. It pulls tension just as quickly as the Neos.

    The drop weight is far superior to that of a 'ratchet' style, so you can't even really compare it to 90% of the drop-weight machines out there.

    I've never used an electronic, but with the Stringway you don't have to worry about calibration or having a power source nearby.

    But thats just my 2 cents. :)
     
  19. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    I don't know if "better" is the right word but I generally agree with the ranking (the one exception being the Stringway as it does not seem to be a typical drop weight--I also suspect it is out of the OP's reasonable price expectation). My personal preference is my Neos crank but I pretty much only string my own racquets these days.

    Funny you should mention the Tremont--I had one too (ordered out of the back of Tennis Magazine for about $70 then)--not a lot of room to do the crosses but it did work (saw one for sale recently on the Bay for $200--that's a lot for a collector's item).
     
  20. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    If I had a drop weight it would be an automatic drop weight like the Stringway but not a Stringway. Any drop weight can be made into an automatic drop weight by adding a pie shaped device to the arm and suspending the weight with a string that went around the outside of the pie device to keep the weight at a constant distance from the center of the rotating gripper. That way as long as the point where the string connects to the pie device is past a perpendicular line to the gripper and above horizontal you have the exact tension.

    But if the weight has momentum and relies on the tensioned string to stop it you have overshoot no matter what 'type' of drop weight you have.

    EDIT: If that description above is hard to understand let me know and I will draw a picture.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  21. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Me too! I opted for the Tremont because it was actually cheaper than the Klippermate. Little did I know.

    I like the "but it did work"....yeah it worked, but there was definitely a loose definition of 'work' ;)
     
  22. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    Don't mean to hijack this thread but as to the Tremont--other than the time it took, it did a servicable job--of course, I was 13 or 14 at the time and strung JK Pro Staffs with Blue Star, Gold Twist and Leonia 66 --hardly discriminating taste in those days. But I did save a lot of money.

    To the OP--don't get a Tremont at any price!:)
     
  23. ten11

    ten11 Rookie

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    Can someone comment on this problem I have? I found the tension is hard to set in lockout machine. After lockout, it keeps losing tension for quite long time. I use a digital fishing scale to calibrate the tension and it goes for more than 20 seconds depends on the string I used to calibrate.
    If that is the case, how would you set tension? What about hybrid job? also longer main will lose more than short cross? I don't think you can ever confidently say you had it at 55/52.
    I think only the constant pull can say that confidently. (just realize my cheap reliable klippermate is a constant pull machine. :))
     
  24. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    When you adjust your lockout you adjust it to the tension immediately at lockout. No matter what type of tensioner you use the string will continue to either stretch or loose tension there is no way around it. A CP pulls to the reference tension then when the tension drops it re-pulls until you clamp the string off. You can do the same thing with a LO by pulling tension once then again after a given time. See this video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aYI...xt=C3d80654UDOEgsToPDskI2epXHlAwuYHelAs9y96J4
     
  25. Harl Goodman

    Harl Goodman New User

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    I think the biggest question comes down to how much stringing you do, and how valuable/limited your time is.
    If you only string for yourself every few weeks, is the extra time saved really worth the up front cost?
    However, if you string for others, and it's not uncommon to string 3-4 in a row, that extra time saved is very noticeable.

    I enjoy stringing, in large part due to my ritual, which involves throwing in a DVD or catching up on a backlog of shows @ Hulu.
    So, I try to string quickly, but relaxed. Consistency is the key.

    I learned on a drop weight over 20 years ago, and currently use a Progression ST II (about 3 years now). The crank is certainly a faster/smoother experience, and if I find that my "customers" suddenly multiply exponentially, I will definitely throw on the Wise.
     
  26. oldcity

    oldcity Rookie

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    that is pretty much the question you have to answer. how many racquets are you really going to string on it. For me, I knew it was mine stuff and some friends and family so giving an extra 200.00 plus for a crank didn't make sense. If i was going to string as a business, shaving time would be essential and worth a lot more than 200.00.
     
  27. Ennismt

    Ennismt Rookie

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    I'd love to see a picture. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  28. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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    OP here. Thanks for everyone's input. At first I was convinced to get the Gamma X st but not too many businesses were willing to ship to Hawaii, including TW. One quoted $150-$200 to ship. Best price was $699 at Wally mart but after shipping and taxes, it was around $790. Getting a 602fc from Ama zone would be $469 (free shipping to Hawaii), over $300 more! I couldn't justify $300 more for a crank machine given I would only string 5-10 racquets a month, to begin with.

    Therefore, I had settled on the Progression II 602 fc from Ama zone, thinking I could always upgrade to a wise later on. But when I viewed the picture and read the description, it looks and seems like the 602 being sold does NOT have the quick action base clamps, which would be a deal breaker. If I buy one from Ama zone, do you think I'll get the old style wing-nut base clamps or the newer quick action clamps? Please advise.

    Gamma tech, what do you think?
     
  29. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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  30. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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  31. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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    Product Features
    Drop weight tensioning mechanism
    Patented, diamond-coated ratchet gripper
    6-point, quick-mount support system
    Dual-action, diamond-coated, swivel string clamps with self-locking adjustment knob
    Base with tool tray
    Product Description
    The Gamma® Progression II 602FC String Machine features a drop weight tensioning mechanism; patented, diamond-coated ratchet gripper; 6-point, quick-mount support system; and dual-action, diamond-coated, swivel string clamps with self-locking adjustment knob. A tool tray is incorporated into the base for convenient storage.
     
  32. Ennismt

    Ennismt Rookie

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    Hard to believe they are selling that old of a version of the machine. I believe that the typical way the sale works is that the store (TW, ama zone, etc.) sells the machine but it is "drop shipped" by Gamma from P-burg. The images for the machine being sold varies between vendors (same with the Revo). It does leave doubt in your mind what you'll get, however, and if you do get the old version you have little recourse. One way you may be able to make sure is to call Gamma and ask them, maybe they will know. The easier thing for me is to go to another vendor, but maybe you are limited living in Hawaii.

    I did not see quick action bases and all metal clamps in the description and this further suggests it may be the old version. Hmm...

    BTW, I am in the same situation you are in picking a machine but I don't live in Hawaii. The extra money for the crank is so hard to justify. I am at the point of trying to decide what my price is for a tipping point. A mostly personal decision, I realize.
     
  33. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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    Did a little more research. This was posted by Bret, the Gamma rep back in 2005:


    05-16-2005, 04:23 AM #4
    Gamma Tech
    Semi-Pro

    The X-6FC and the 602FC come with the same base clamps now, the quick action clamps (lever style). The 602FC has the black FRP (fiberglass reinforced) and the X-6FC has the metal aluminum clamps. One clamps is not better than the other, it is personal preferance. They hold the same amount of tension, have same diamond coating, etc.

    bret


    Hopefully, ama zone is not selling over-7-year-old gamma units...
     
  34. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    If a crank is what you really want, then get it. You'll forget all about overshooting your budget if that's what you have your heart set on. Mind you, I make that recommendation on the assumption that you're not like...forsaking food or going without shelter just to have machine with a crank. ;-)
     
  35. Ennismt

    Ennismt Rookie

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    I think you're right. I am between a new gamma x-st and a used crank of some sort. I have a possibility of getting a 2005 Gamma 5003 with < 250 racquets strung on it with a Wise tensioner with < 150 racquets strung for about $650. Seems like a good deal, but I won't be seeing it in person before I purchase it. Financially, this is my one chance to upgrade my stringing machine. The 5003 has the metal clamps and quick action bases.

    If the $200 really matters, I think people can get a good crank system used for the price of a high end traditional drop weight new - if they can be patient.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  36. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    The Gamma/Wise combo is a heck of a deal if they're in good shape. Course, when someone says a stringer has X number of string jobs on it, you never really know; you're taking them at their word. Still, there's simply not much that can go wrong with a machine of that type.

    Were you able to view pics of the machine? Hiqh quality, close-up pics? You have to expect some cosmetic blemishes, but that should be a non-issue. Anyone you know live near the seller that could take a look at it for you?

    Lastly, if you string for others you'll recoup your money in short order.
     
  37. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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    I'm so jealous of you! You're so lucky to have this opportunity to buy a good used machine at a good price. Let us know how it ends up. If you get it, I might just pull the trigger on that $790 X ST just out of sheer jealousy. :)
     
  38. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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    [​IMG]

    I almost bought this (asking $450). I posted in another thread and someone said that it's over 10 years old and the wing-nut clamp bases were a pain to use. For me, it wasn't worth it so I decided to just buy new and get a shiny new machine with a full warranty.
     
  39. Ennismt

    Ennismt Rookie

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    I think that was a good decision, one that I might make. When you drop this kind of money, a little bit more seems worth the "new" and "warranty" aspects.
     
  40. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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    I was at a match yesterday and I was talking to another parent who turned out to be the director of tennis at a local club and the local Prince rep. So we got to chatting about stringing machines....and he basically said if you get a dropweight now (eg. x6), then you will always be wanting to upgrade to a crank machine (X-ST); once you try a crank, you won't want to go back to a dw.

    I was also worried about durability and maintenance, and he said the local shops have been using the same Prince/Ektelon machines for 20 years. Then he told about pricing and shipping and the pricing and shipping I got from one vendor was actually cheap in comparison.

    So I placed my order for an X ST yesterday. I figured it will serve me and my family for 10+ years, without me needing or wanting to upgrade during that time.
     
  41. rich s

    rich s Hall of Fame

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    Congratulations.... I think you'll be happy with your decision...... and when you want to take the leap to electronic..... just add the Wise....
     
  42. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    Congrats on your new machine - you'll love stringing your own racquets!
     
  43. Ennismt

    Ennismt Rookie

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    The answer is no to all your questions. And, by the way, I ordered a new x-st. I think the used setup was great deal but I was unable to find a place for it in my house. Plus, it is a bit more than I needed for a machine. The light weight and portability of the X-st sold it for me. I went for the confidence of a warranty, the fun of new, and it really fit with what I need. Looks like I am selling a gamma x-2 (which was a great machine in its own right).
     
  44. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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    Glad to hear u ordered one as well. Congrats!
     
  45. oldcity

    oldcity Rookie

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    I'd love to see a picture also
     
  46. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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    Woohoo! I got my X ST today! Placed my order Sunday night and got it on Wed. Box was huge and heavy (53 lbs)! I was extremely impressed with the quality of the parts. Can't wait to use it! I'm really glad people convinced me to go this route. Thx again.
     
  47. oldcity

    oldcity Rookie

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    Sweet, it's fun.did my first job 2 wks ago on my alpha and I'm itching to cut it out to do another one.
     
  48. goose guy

    goose guy New User

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    Well, I did my first string job on the X ST today. Took 1 hour vs. 45 min on the dropweight x2. But time will shorten with practice. My favorite feature so far is the turntable lock and the crank lockout. I'm really glad I spent the extra money for these features.
     

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