Bad Clamps?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by davidahenry, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. davidahenry

    davidahenry Professional

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    I recently purchased a used SAM Pro-Master from a guy on these boards. According to him (and according to the pull counter), the machine only had about 30 racquets strung on it. It seems practically like new. Anyway...

    In stringing three racquets thus far on it (and I am a newbie), I've had trouble with the string popping out of the clamps when doing the first few mains. (The clamps are five-tooth diamond dusted.) To alleviate this problem, I tightened the clamps, but I am very afraid they are now too tight and could damage string. I managed to successfully complete three racquets, and all seems fine with those sticks.

    Today, I was attempting (I gave up to write this post) to string my first gut job. (Wow - what coil memory!). I loosened the clamps slightly to avoid damaging the gut, but now the string is still popping out of a completely locked clamp when I pull tension. I tightened them slightly but am still having the problem. When the string pops out, I can see a tiny white cloud of dust where some of the diamond dust is coming off. The clamps are tight enough to make little white teeth marks on the gut but not tight enough to hold the string. Very frustrating.

    Any tips/advice would be greatly appreciated. Do the clamps need cleaned better? Do they sound like faulty clamps? Could it be operator error?

    I have un-used three-teeth clamps for badminton racquets. Should I try using those instead?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
    #1
  2. zidane339

    zidane339 Hall of Fame

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    Could be a variety of things...I doubt the clamps are bad..

    When specifically does the string pop out?When you pull tension on the next main?
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
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  3. deuceside

    deuceside New User

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    I don't think the clamps are bad.

    You just have to learn to adjust the clamp to be tight enough and not to damage the string when you pull. Different type of strings require some clamp adjustment.

    I suggest you try to get some cheap strings to practice.

    Please don't use the badminton clamps to string your tennis racquets because they are design for badminton racquets only (the string tension on badminton racquets are much lower comparing to tennis racquets).
     
    #3
  4. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Hi,

    Have you cleaned the clamps? I keep a note on my machine that reminds me to "clean the clamps". The clamps will slip if they are not cleaned on a regular basis. I am not sure about fixed clamps, but with flying clamps it is a good practice to get the gunk off of them. Otherwise.. you can really get flying clamps. :)

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
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  5. GPB

    GPB Professional

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    I see what you did there... :)
     
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  6. davidahenry

    davidahenry Professional

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    It tends to pop out on a couple of different occasions...

    I follow YULitle's video advice and set the anchor clamp inside the frame - at the opposite end from the tension head. Then when I pull tension on the other main (the one without the anchor clamp), the string sometimes pops out of the anchor clamp.

    If I get past that point, then, yes, sometimes it pops out when I pull tension on the next main.

    Thanks.
     
    #6
  7. davidahenry

    davidahenry Professional

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    I can get the clamps tight enough so that the string doesn't pop out, but I am afraid I may be damaging the strings. Don't get me wrong... I can surely get the clamps to hold the string and can complete racquets, I just don't know what it "too hard" on the strings. If the clamps make marks on nat gut or indent syn gut/multis, is that too tight for the strings?

    I have several sets of PSGD that I have been using as cheap strings for practice. I just wanted to play with gut tonight, so was giving it a try.

    No worries then - I won't use the badminton clamps. Thanks for the direction on that one.
     
    #7
  8. davidahenry

    davidahenry Professional

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    No. I did not have the materials at my house in order to properly clean them. I will get the materials, clean them, and give that a try.

    They are fixed clamps, so they better not start flying across the room! :)

    Thanks.
     
    #8
  9. zidane339

    zidane339 Hall of Fame

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    That happened to me also when I first used fixed clamps. What you can do is, along with the anchor clamp, clamp a starting clamp next to the anchor clamp, or use the other clamp that is free. That way you have two clamps to anchor
     
    #9
  10. BigApple

    BigApple Banned

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    Don't be too afraid to tighten your clamps. Most clamps will have to "squish" the gut for it to hold. You really need superb clamps to hold gut without any marks. It is always better to overtighten than to undertighten. If you are really crushing the strings, try cleaning it with rubbing alcohol and an old toothbrush. Uncleaned clamps and cleaned clamps are world's apart!

    -BA
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
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  11. davidahenry

    davidahenry Professional

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    Thanks all. These posts are all very helpful. I'll give it another try tonight after indoor dubs.
     
    #11
  12. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Rubbing alcohol and an old toothbrush will do the trick.. :)
     
    #12
  13. Dags

    Dags Professional

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    This may be a case of the blind leading the blind (I got my machine at the weekend and have also only done 3 string jobs :) ), but:

    - I was wasn't sure how hard I should clamp the string. To find out I clamped the end of the string and kept trying it a little bit tighter until the string finally crushed. Then I knew how much was too much, loosened it a touch, cut off the damaged string, and away I went.

    - I completed my first string job on Saturday with no clamp issues, covered up the machine and returned to it on Sunday for another go. All of a sudden I had the same problems as you: the clamps just wouldn't hold tension, and kept releasing the string when I pulled. I believe I've found the cause: overnight, I left the clamps open, and it looks like gravity has played its part and made the clamps looser. After adjusting them, I was fine again. I don't think this is your problem, but thought I'd mention it in case you (or anyone else) is stood there scratching your head and wondering what the hell happened since yesterday.
     
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  14. 1012007

    1012007 Hall of Fame

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    Dags - did you string the second time with a smaller gauge?
     
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  15. Dags

    Dags Professional

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    No, same string. Just looking at the clamps, it was clear the gap was bigger. Gravity is the only reason I can give - I've had them closed since then, and they look exactly as I left them, so hopefully that's problem solved.
     
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  16. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    David, as you know I have the same machine as yours. I have yet to have a string pop out of a clamp, and I have strung a good # since I got my machine.About every 12 racquets I have cleaned them with alcohol, using tooth brush as others have said to do, plus soaking a shoelace with alcohol, clamping just to hold a little, and then pulling it through. This seems to clean them nice. I have strung a good # of nat gut racquets on this machine, as vs touch 16g. is my favorite, also my brothers, and also a good number of my customers like nat. gut, and the clamps do not even ghost the gut strings, (some multis will like wilsons K gut but that is the nature of that string).
    I normally use the origional 5 tooth clamps that came with the machine, as I just like them, but I also have a set of the 3 tooth clamps from eagnas, which I have used about 25 or so times.Both sets have really never gave me a problem.
    Once I adjusted the clamps to hold my 16g. strings, I marked the top of the adjustment wheel on the clamps with a sharpie pen,(a little narrow black line to mark the spot), to mark the setting, so it is always in the proper spot, and not moving during the use of the clamp,(that way you can see if clamp wheel is moving to looser setting), and so far, no popping, and absolutely no slipping.I don't even use a starting clamp, to back up the anchor clamp as some do, as it holds just fine by itself.

    Any chance you are not placing the string in the middle of the clamps teeth, so they are not holding with enough force?Maybe you should try placing the string further into the clamps jaws to hold better, but there is no need to over tighten as to leave marks on the string.With 5 teeth on the clamp, if you are placing the string properly, I really can't see how it could pop out especially if all 5 teeth are holding it??Is it possible you are just placing the string on the very top edge of the clamps teeth so it is not holding properly?Or possibly the previous owner never really cleaned them properly.Let me know how you make out. Jim
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
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  17. davidahenry

    davidahenry Professional

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    Hey Jim. Thanks for the post. Hoping to get some work done on my laptop here in a few, and if I have enough energy left, I may try some late night stringing. I'll certainly clean the clamps before I do - as I picked up some rubbing alcohol at the store tonight.

    I believe I am putting the string deep enough into the teeth, so I really don't think that is the problem. I am hoping the slippage is due to the clamps not being clean.

    I'll post a follow-up to you and all the others that offered helpful advice and report back as to whether or not cleaning solved the problem. If not, I am going to buy some new clamps.

    Thanks.
     
    #17
  18. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    Yes, i've had that problem before!

    I use a starting clamp on flying clamps as a backup. I would try that if all else fails.
     
    #18
  19. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    David, as I said earlier, I also have the 3 tooth eagnas clamps, they were only $39.00 each, so they were cheap enough to try. (I did not even know for sure if they would be compatible, fortunatly they were).
    The ones I did receive from eagnas, it appeared that 1 was new, and 1 was used as it was marred up, but it did work fine.No problems with them. But as I said earlier, I do prefer the 5 tooth clamps that came with the machine. I'm sure that you could purchase replacement clamps at xtremesportsmachines, but I can't understand why yours wont hold up as it only has 30 or so racquets logged on it. I hope it is just needing cleaning.
     
    #19
  20. davidahenry

    davidahenry Professional

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    I cleaned the clamps thoroughly, and that seemed to help a great deal. I spent a bunch of time fine tuning the tightness of the clamps and seem to have that dialed in much better as well.

    I quit trying to string the VS Touch - as I did not want to damage it while still "experimenting" with getting my clamps finely tuned and working. I switched to a cheap set of PSGD, and everything worked just fine - no string popping out of the clamps.

    Thanks again to all who posted - I appreciate the help. Hopefully, this problem is behind me now.
     
    #20
  21. nadalfan!

    nadalfan! Professional

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    I am having some trouble with the eagnas clamps as well. I always tighten them too much or too little. No in between. I don't want to flatten the string or fray it... :cry:
     
    #21
  22. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    A couple of ideas:

    1) Are you preseting the string tension in the clamp? I like to pull tension on the first two mains then set my clamp as close to the frame and as far from the tension head as possible so that the string in the clamp is straight from the grommet through the clamp and starting clamp if one is used. Then start by pulling tension on the main string that was not clamped.

    2) Is the string being placed far enough down into the clamp and not just be held by the tips of the clamp? The string should be placed far enough down in the clamp so that it can just be seen above the valley between the teeth.

    3) Are the clamps clean and dry? With use the clamps will get a wax buildup on them that can be removed with Q-Tips and alcohol. If in doubt clean them.

    4) Is the tension too high? Pulling too much tension on the string may cause them to pop out. Try placing a starting clamp on the string next to the clamp so that the starting clamp is between the clamp and the tension head.

    5) Have you checked the calibration on the tension head? It is possible you think you a re pulling 60 pounds of tension when you are actually pulling more.

    Irvin
     
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  23. davidahenry

    davidahenry Professional

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    Yes. I am doing exactly what you described above.

    This may have been part of the problem. I have really fine tuned the tightnes of my clamps and am putting the string a little deeper into the clamps. This is definitely helping.

    This may have been another big part of the problem. I cleaned my clamps thoroughly, and now all seems well.

    I was pulling tension at 65 lbs. This, IMO, should not be considered "too high".

    No. I need to buy a calibrator. My machine is a fairly high-end machine, and it is supposed to automatically re-calibrate every time it is turned on. Nevertheless, I still need to buy a calibrator and check it periodically.

    Thanks.
     
    #23
  24. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    What happens when the circuit that checks for calibration fails? Better safe than sorry.

    Irvin
     
    #24
  25. davidahenry

    davidahenry Professional

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    Exactly. That is why I am buying a calibrator. :)
     
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