Babolat Star 4 Stringing Machine (photos included)

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by drakulie, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. skyzoo

    skyzoo Banned

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    it's cerrtainly not as good and efficiant as a gamma x-2
     
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  2. YULitle

    YULitle Hall of Fame

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    :shock: :shock: ¿¡que?!
     
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  3. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    Sounds like something Bud would say!
     
    #53
  4. skyzoo

    skyzoo Banned

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    Hahah I joke, I joke. I've been string with it for like 9 months and my time with it is like 20 minutes and that machine is all i really know. I wonder what my time would be with a *real* stringer......
     
    #54
  5. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    LOL, skyzoo! You do have a "real stringer', and if it works for you, and does a good job>>> that's all that matters.

    In my case, when I got back in the game, and eventually began breaking strings very quickly, I just couldn't justify spending close to $100.00 a week taking it to a tennis shop. Already previously knowing how to string and having lots of experience, I purchased a SP electric stringer that did a good job. Since then, I've begun to string more and more for others, and the SP was too tiring to do so many frames. I wanted to buy a star 3 or neos, and luckily found a neos for $300.00 in great condition, but kept looking for a 3, when I decided I'd rather have the 4. So, here I am with a star 4, and neos (as backup), and very happy.

    Stringing, whether on a high-end machine, or lower-end is alot about the pilot, and not equipment.

    have fun.
     
    #55
  6. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    Drak - the question is, what are you doing with your Neos? ;)
     
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  7. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I have it as a backup right now. After purchasing it, I spent quite a bit of time cleaning it, purchasing a brand new cover for it, and sent the crank to tennismachines to have it serviced. They completed refurbished it with new parts. In all, machine with all the upgrading, cleaning products, etc cost about $500.00, but was well worth it, because the machine is outstanding, and produces great string jobs.

    Are you looking to purchase a Neos or similar machine??
     
    #57
  8. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    I am hoping to. I missed out on 3 Neos 1000's in the last year for $400 each. Still kicking myself.

    Was going to buy the Alpha Pioneer, but they're out of stock until likely November.
     
    #58
  9. skyzoo

    skyzoo Banned

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    How much faster is say an electric tensioning system with a 6 point than my trusty x-2?
     
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  10. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Hmmm. I'll shoot you an email.

    Kind of hard to answer that. For me, I never liked the process of stringing on any dropweight, although they are very good. If you are use to using one, and have good consistent technique you could do a quality string job in about the same time as the best electric stringers in the world. That said, an electric stand up is much, MUCH easier to work on, and as a result, when you are doing more than one racquet, your stringing time will eventually be lower. For example, say you have 10 racquets to do. It may take you 5??? hours to do on your model, where it will take 3.5 on an electric. (just an example so you get the idea of what I'm talking about).

    Hope this helps.
     
    #60
  11. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    It appears that I've solved the stringer problem, but I have to be patient. ;) Found a used Gamma X-ST for a great price, but can't have it until the end of September. Almost as good as a used Neos. :)
     
    #61
  12. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    ^^ahh, good news. :) I'm sure you are relieved. Good luck with that.
     
    #62
  13. little_e

    little_e Semi-Pro

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    It's probaly to even out the balance of the machine.
     
    #63
  14. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    Nah, drakulie probably misunderstood the myth about swingweight and maneuverability, and was disillusioned enough to put it on there. (yes, i read the thread)
     
    #64
  15. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    You mean.......... putting lead tape on the stringing machine *WON"T* have any effect on the racquets overall maneuvarability/balance?? :)
     
    #65
  16. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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  17. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    hahaha. Good observation. Heard you are having some problems with the feet. Hope all gets better.
     
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  18. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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    Thanks!

    Yes, I had a strange cellulitis (infection of the skin) last month that took four rounds of antibiotics to clear. Then I developed a mild (thankfully!) case of plantar fascitis last week, only to have the cellulitis recur. I've been resting the foot, icing, and taking a new antibiotic. Hopefully I will be 'all go' for tennis in NYC this weekend!

    Best,

    BHBH
     
    #68
  19. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Get well soon.

    As for the Open,,,,,,,have fun~!! and tell, Roger, Drak wishes him well. :)



    For the rest of the guys/gals who have chimed in on this thread, I will have a comparison review of the Neos vs Star 4 this weekend. I think many of you will find it an interesting read.
     
    #69
  20. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    Bump. Drak, did you ever get a chance to do this? No rush but I am interested in your findings/opinions. Thanks.
     
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  21. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Max, I'll have it up in the next few days. Thanks for your patience.
     
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  22. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    No, I would say you can perform a high quality string job on an X-2 but the Star 4 would be more time efficient.
     
    #72
  23. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    No worries. You are doing us a favor--take your time. Thanks.
     
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  24. smithy173

    smithy173 New User

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    Hey Drakulie,Can I ask you a question do you live in the Ft Lauderdale Tennis Club.the reason I ask is because a friend of mine has a place down there.He goes down in Dec to May.Maybe you know him,his name is George Millman from New Jersey.Can you tell me your name so I can see if he knows you.We always talk about the tennis club there.Thanks
     
    #74
  25. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    email sent::::
     
    #75
  26. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Review Comparing Ektelon Neos 1000 and Babolat Star 4 Stringing Machines

    I’ve had the machine for a bit over a month now, and have strung well over 50 frames. The following are my thoughts comparing stringing on this machine, vs. the venerable Ektelon Neos 1000.

    Starting at the beginning of a string job, setting tensioning on the Star 4 is not only faster, but much easier and efficient, compared to the tensioning knob of the Neos. The Star 4 uses a digital display with buttons that enable the user to easily move tension higher and/or lower. With a touch of the button, you could increase/decrease desired tension in values of one increment per touch. If you hold down the button, it will go by value of 2 increments. The Neos is dependent on one turning a knob over and over, until the desired tension is reached. Once the string job is completed, the tension knob should be set back to zero in order to alleviate strain on the spring used. This is not necessary on the Star 4. Just turn off the machine, and you’re done. When turned back on, the last set tension is displayed.

    Mounting/dismounting is much, much easier with the Neos. The Neos’ simplicity in mounting a frame I don’t think will ever be improved on. Place the frame on the posts, clamp it and you’re done. The star 4 requires one to mount the frames on what Babolat calls a 10 point mounting system; 4 arms that secure the frame near the throat, and head (approx 2, 4, 8, and 10 o’clock), and two billiards that secure it at 12 and 6 o’clock respectively. One has to turn knobs to adjust the arms, and billiards. This is not only a slower mounting system, but a bit trickier, as it requires the user to leave the frame in an almost “floating” mode. Of course, dismounting the frame is also easier on the Neos. Just reverse the process in two easy steps, and you’re done.

    When completing mains/crosses, the mount arms of the star 4 tend to get in the way, compared to the Neos having nothing in the way, which makes for a bit of a smoother ride on the Neos. This is especially magnified when completing crosses. When weaving, having no arms in the way ala the Neos makes it much easier, and allows for more space to move your arms/hands underneath the frame. In addition to the Neos having no arms in the way, the center clamps of the Neos being at a angle when clamping the string, rather than upright like the star 4 allow one to have more room to work underneath the frame. However, once one makes a slight adjustment on the way they string, both are very easy to string on, with the Neos having the edge.

    The clamps of the star 4, when compared to the Neos have almost zero draw-back. They are also much more maneuverable, which makes them easier to get into the tighter spaces, especially when completing the frame near the throat. The holding power of the star 4 clamps is also superior. With hardly any “pinch/pressure” the string stays put, which results in less marking of the string, or “ghosting”. However, the act of positioning the clamps on the glide bar under the string on the Neos is much easier and faster, compared to the star 4, as is the act of clamping the string. With the Neos, one single lever clamps the string, and locks the clamp to the glide bar, where as with the Star 4, there is two actions required; Clamping the string, and then locking the clamp base. To unclamp the string, the action is reversed, which gives the edge to the Neos in this department.

    Moving on to the tension head, I give the edge to the Star 4. With the aid of the Diablo, there is way less stress on the string, and again, hardly any “ghosting”. The star 4 also has a function where the speed of the pull is changed with a push of one button. Slow, medium, and fast pull. This results in a much more consistent pull from string to string. There is also a “Kevlar” function to adjust the pull when completing strings with hardly any stretch to them, such as Kevlar, or poly strings. With these aids, which take human error out of the equation, along with the speed one can reach when setting the string on the tension unit, and in one easy step letting the unit tension the string, it provides for a very quick set of the string to be clamped. Way faster, safer, and smoother on the Star 4.

    Some other things to note:
    • The Star 4 has no need for pulling off the clamps and re-setting them to complete crosses. The clamping system of the star 4 allows for fan pattern frames/badminton frames to be completed without the use of a flying clamp. The Star 4 includes a “Tie-off” button, which is an invaluable extra, as is the cross button.
    • In regards to the tool tray, I prefer the Neos as it has two trays (one underneath the frame, and a second larger unit underneath the first tray). The Star 4, although has a nice sized tray, is not as comfortable to use. For example, my string bed cutters fit on the tray, but then some of the tools I use have to be placed under or over the cutters, which makes access a bit of a pain. However, the Star 4 does have a small second tray next to the digital display unit that allows one to place/push awls in the designated holes. There are 4 holes for awls. I end up using this for the awls, and a place to secure the two starting clamps I use. The other tool tray is used for cutters, pliers, nail clippers, and some of the extra billiards.
    • Turn table lock of star 4 is superior, and much easier to use. Not much to be said here. Anyone who has completed an O Port frame on a Neos, knows what a pain it is to lock/unlock the turntable. The star 4 is so easy in comparison. One half turn of a knob, which takes hardly any effort and table is locked/unlocked.
    • Last thing I want to touch on is how I feel (physically) when completing a frame. I hadn’t realized until stringing exclusively on the Star 4, how much more energy it takes to string on the Neos. Although the Neos is very easy to string on, and super fast, there is still a lot more movement going on with my arms, positioning my feet, etc. With the Star 4, I’m hardly moving my feet/torso at all, and barely moving my arms. Just stand in one place, and get going, which I have never found to be possible with the Neos. Everything is purposely placed to allow the user to minimize all movement, and use as little effort in completing a string job. When doing 5-6, or 9 frames in one day, I am way less tired when stringing on the Star 4, as opposed to the Neos.
    Hope you all enjoyed, and thanks for your patience.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
    #76
  27. Mochel10s

    Mochel10s Banned

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    Nice review Drak, thanks for taking the time to do it! I also have a NEOS and love the speed of it, but I much prefer stringing on the higher end electronic models I have at work. But there is something to be said about being able to string racquets by candlelight on the NEOS when a hurricane knocked out power to the club for 5 days!
     
    #77
  28. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Mochel10s, what part of the country do you string, and what kind of machines do they have at your work??
     
    #78
  29. 000KFACTOR90000

    000KFACTOR90000 Professional

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    Wow - pics really show how much of the star 4 has been copied by the second tier stringing machine companies ! :)
     
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  30. Geoff

    Geoff Professional

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    Great review Drak! Very thorough and well organized. I agree with your evaluation. There are definitely tradeoffs among the top tier machines. Too bad that "demo" programs are not available when making a stringing machine purchase! Comparative reviews of this nature would be great to add to the site that pictures all of the stringing machines.
     
    #80
  31. FloridaAG

    FloridaAG Professional

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    Nice for the comparison Drak - I definitely need to lower the tension next time-
     
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  32. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    Thanks so much. Pretty much my assessment as well. Continued good luck with your stringing and your tennis.
     
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  33. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Demo programs would be great, although probably not feasible. :( The photo machine stringing project started by our very own Veruscelli (spelling??) is a great resource. Would definitely be nice to have reviews on there by all the people who provided photos.

    Ahh, sorry to hear. Is the string too stiff for you? I'm stringing for one guy who I recommended he try the Big Ace (he didn't like the Lux Prices), and he loves it. He is using it in a hybrid strung at 59 in a liquid metal radical mp. He is using the 17 gauge.

    Anyway, hope you have been able to get in more hits. Your wife told me you were really busy, and hadn't been able to play much. :(
     
    #83
  34. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Hey, max. Your welcome. Anything you would add, change about your assessment???

    Thanks.
     
    #84
  35. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    No, not at all. Despite being a long time Ektelon/Neos user, I was glad you made the point about ghosting--it doesn't seem to affect playability but even as finely tuned as I think I have my machine, I still end up with more ghosting on softer strings (gut, NXT, etc.) than I would prefer. I know Prince incorporates the diablo on their electronic machines--it would be nice if they would also do it with the 1000.

    I was a little amused on your point about the "physical toll" the Neos takes--I must have used one way too long because I don't think I move around that much but I suspect you are right in relative terms. Thanks again.
     
    #85
  36. FloridaAG

    FloridaAG Professional

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    I like the string a lot - your tension is probably more accurate and seems to be tighter than MP - and I had no idea what the tension on this was on the other frames I had been playing with and now it seems obvious it was considerably looser and that a couple pound drop is in order - Basically stuck playing matches with no practice due to the work schedule. Results are not surprising although last night was a good match -
     
    #86
  37. Topspinchris

    Topspinchris New User

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    First off congrats on the Star 4, that is a really nice looking machine...Do you still have the NEOS and if so are you looking to sell it?? If so I would be very interested in it. Let me know
     
    #87
  38. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thanks, max!

    As for the "physical toll", understand I wasn't exhausted from using the Neos, however, did want to make a note that there was much less movement when stringing on the 4, and as a result, I didn't feel as tired when doing a lot of frames.

    They are both amazing machines, and when compared side by side to one another like this, both have their plus' and minus'.

    Sucks!! We have to get together to hit soon. Let me know when you have more time freed up.

    Topspin, thanks! Yes, I still have the Neos. Not sure if I want to part with it yet. I will send you an email.
     
    #88
  39. Topspinchris

    Topspinchris New User

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    replied...very interested
     
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  40. sapient007

    sapient007 Semi-Pro

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    drakulie, do you do anything to maintain the machine? mine was cleaned up when i first got it and it has been sitting under a cloth since to avoid dust.
     
    #90
  41. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Sapient, I do the following at the end of each month and/or as needed:

    • check the calibration at the end of the month
    • with a tooth brush and alcohol clean the clamps, base clamps, glide rail, and tension head.
    • apply glide slide to the rail.
    • wipe down the whole machine with a cloth to get dust off.
    I also always cover the machine when I'm done.

    As for tools, I also clean them with toothbrush and alcohol as needed (especially the starting clamps).
     
    #91
  42. sapient007

    sapient007 Semi-Pro

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    is there a tool for calibration? i haven't used my machine in ages and the thing has been gathering dust since 2007.. woot!!!

    p.s it's a babolat VS so it might be even earlier than the star units.

    p.s.s tfm and i had a good laugh about you asking me how to stringing machine functioned. it'd be like sup asking me how to hit a forehand
     
    #92
  43. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    ^^^hahaha! The reason I asked about the base clamps, is because you had started a thread about it, and I wanted to know if you finally got your base clamps off and how you did it. You had included photos in the thread of your base clamps, buy they had long been taken down. wanted to see them, which is why I emailed you. Turns out, my base clamp (bottom) is a bit different than yours, but I got it off. The earlier star models came with base clamps that have a ring attached to the bottom of the rail that must be taken off before one could remove the clamp. (which is a pain to take off)

    As for "special tools">>> not really. Only thing you would need is a small screw driver, and calibrater.

    if memory serves me, you have a babolat star 2???

    Here is a video that is really informative, and shows you everything about these machines, including how to calibrate them:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3083498355369693136#

    Let me know if you need any help.
     
    #93
  44. sapient007

    sapient007 Semi-Pro

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    my problems were the baseclamps were sliding when i tried to pull crosses ~60lbs. i ended up finding the hex hole to adjust the clamp's tightness after removing a babolat stamp on top of the base clamp.
     
    #94
  45. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    yeah, my clamps are the same. However, under the rails, the hex screw attaches to a ring, that slides under the rail. One must first loosen this ring, before being able to loosen the hex screw you refer to. Everything else is the same.
     
    #95
  46. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    So... are you liking your Star 4, Drak?

    Do you find you can string more frames per day without fatigue/burnout with the Star?

    What machine did you use before the Star?
     
    #96
  47. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Bud, Yes>>> I'm loving the Star 4. :)

    I had a neos 1000 before the star 4. (still have it).

    I find when stringing 7-9 frames, I feel less tired when stringing on the Star 4. I posted a little about this earlier. One of the things I noted was that I move around way more on the Neos than on the star 4.

    Here is my review comparing the two:

     
    #97
  48. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Thanks! I must have missed that post :)
     
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  49. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    ^^No problem, Bud. It definitely (for me) makes stringing much more enjoyable. very happy with the purchase, as are the customers I string for.
     
    #99
  50. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    A couple people asked for me to post photos of me stringing some frames. Here you go, stringing a head microgel radical mp, and drinking a Heineken:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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