Racket manufacturing question

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Top Jimmy, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Top Jimmy

    Top Jimmy Semi-Pro

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    Is string pattern just a matter of drilling holes or is there more to it before that?

    Why I ask is that why aren't they making exactly the same rackets in two flavors: 18x20 and 16x19 as an example.

    I go through each manufacturers list of rackets and it drives me nuts. It is almost like they don't want to give us what we want.

    Go look at Dunlops 4d line
    200 - lighter, 18/20
    200 Tour - heavier, 16x19
    300 - lighter, 16x19
    300 Tour, heavier, 18x20

    What kind of logic is that? And they seem to keep that same sort of schizophrenic logic in the new generations with the classics, M's and F's.

    Head plays similar games, they give you a 16x19 Speed but decide to make it longer, stupid. Then we have a Prestige Pro at 16x19 but the rest at 18x20 and different weights.

    Make 2-3 rackets, Lite (optional), Regular, Pro and offer 18x20 or 16x19 configurations in each.

    Would it really be that much more overhead?
     
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  2. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Their logic is impeccable. It's a matter of keeping inventory from being too complex. The number of permutations is already enormous in that one model of a racquet may already be available in 5 grip sizes, 2 weights, 2 lengths....do the math and see how many variations of a single model a dealer needs to stock and multiply it by how many different models are sold. It gets crazy. I think they plan their models to satisfy as much of the market as possible; offering more racquets in different string patterns isn't going to increase the total number of racquets sold, so why would they make their lives that much more difficult with respect to the supply chain if they don't have to?
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    They sell lead tape, strings from 15 to 18 gauge, can string to different tensions, you can adjust grip sizes, and you can choke up or down the racket handle.
    After that, it's up to YOUR ability and skills to ADAPT to the situation in hand.
     
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  4. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    This^^^^!

    it can be a pain in the butt and there's a lot to learn but once you do customization is a joy. Over time you learn what works for you and then you can take a couple of approaches to buying a frame.

    Option A: find something the is really close to your ideal. Downside with this approach is that you may not have much room to customize. With my 200 Tours I had to remove the head guards, add lead at 3/9, and replace the grip with a lightweight comfort grip. Even then it wasn't quite as whippy as my ideal. But their control is AMAZING.

    Option B: find something lighter with a lower SW than you enjoy and modify up from there. This is easier than Option A since you have more room to customize but the danger can be you need tooo much lead or hacking to get something you like. It's best to start with something close but a little under ideal SW and lower in static weight as a starting point.

    My experience playing last year with a modified Speed 300 and the last several months with Dunlop 200s was very helpful. The Speed ultimately required quite a bit of customization and never quite provided enough control. The 200s were at my upper limit in SW and weight and I could get them into my comfort zone only by a hair.

    Recently TW put the Pure Sorm GTs on sale. Looking at the specs I realized that I could use my favorite comfort grip (Shock Shield) and still have some room to customize SW and balance. Sure enough, I managed to bring them in just under 12 oz at 8 pts HL but with a SW equal to my stock 200s and modded 200 Tours. So I get the same plow and stability as my 200s but with more RHS (got to hit last night with a friend who plays A level doubles and 4.0 singles...the modded PSGTs were so darn responsive and yet so darn stable!)
     
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  5. Top Jimmy

    Top Jimmy Semi-Pro

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    I guess from a manufacturers perspective that makes sense.

    But thinking outside the box and going down this train of thought, do they just drill holes to make the string pattern or is there more to it? I don't know the process to make a racket.

    Could they offer custom drilling for a mark-up? Have a custom shop like they have for guitars?

    I play guitar and you can get anything made to spec. Why not on tennis rackets.
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    In theory, you can drill and add a carbon/glass tube to connect the frame back together, to allow the string to slide thru during stringing, but....
    Most racket have the SPACING of the holes figured out. You cannot add any more holes between the existing holes. You might drill your holes on the outside, but that is where the load of the impact with the ball is carried, and you'd weaken the whole structure to where failure is a constant.
    You could theoritically skip a hole or two, but that might lead to warpage of the frame because you now create an uneven load on the frame.
    In other words, you can, but you have to accept he consequences of frame failure.
    Now you can add layers of fiberglass/carbon to strenghten the area you drilled....
     
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  7. Top Jimmy

    Top Jimmy Semi-Pro

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    Wow, I did not think I'd have to spell it out like this.

    They would drill holes in a non-drilled racket. Racket would have no string pattern until you requested it. Custom.

    Hell, tennis shops could have digital/laser guided drilling machines in the future. Manufacturers would ship the shop frames with no holes. Customer comes in, tries a few demo's, decides he likes the 10x10 pattern (exaggerated example so please don't explain to me "that isn't realistic, blah, blah, blah..."), then tells the shop to drill at that spec and string at 30 pounds with gut.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
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  8. cork_screw

    cork_screw Hall of Fame

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    That's not true. They aren't doing it to keep inventory from getting too complex. If they really wanted to, they would introduce new lines, or they would introduce specialized sub divisions within a line, like how the prestige is a line of racquet, but you can get it in the pro 16x19 or the mp 18x20. If they were really interested in testing the patterns, they would introduce another one that would be 16x15 and so on. But I don't think they ever thought to go back from what they assumed was just an established rule of patterns that had been tested and embraced by professionals. I think they were accustomed to what was proven in the past, tested by not only just themselves but other manufacturers. I think after it was established as the set of patterns that people were mainly familiar with, they decided to focus their future improvements on other aspects and decided the pattern was set as something that wasn't going to change. I was always surprised that people don't fiddle around with more things that are in place. I think that the crop of 16x19, 18x20, 16x20, 16x18 and the only offering of 18x19, 14x18 is really shallow in the experimentation. I think after these patterns had been established in the industry for the past few decades it had just been an afterthought that they could be changed and became a knot that wouldn't be untied to see what permutations could come out of it because they were wrapped up on shaping the frame and the composition. It's very tunnel vision and it's the way that IBM sees the future of computing as opposed to how Apple sees the future of computing.

    It reminds me of the iphone. I think if the iphone never came out, we would still be seeing the advancements of more complex blackberry devices where they get led in a certain direction and they try to further the advancements there as opposed to seeing that there is potential in breaking down what was assumed an already locked state that was going to follow a certain direction. I don't think we would have seen touch phones as blackberries would have been the focus and not expanding how we interact with our devices.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I think we spend too much time on "what might have been", instead of going out and hitting thousands of tennis ball to make our game better.
     
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  10. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Hahahaha^ LeeD I'm with you on this one.
     
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