So, I gave up on the Eagnas 940 (LONG...)

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by mellofelow, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. mellofelow

    mellofelow Semi-Pro

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    Excited like a boy waking up on Christmas morning, I drove 20 minutes to the Maxline/Eagnas warehouse during my lunch hour to pickup the Flex 940. Earlier that day I had called Victor and made the arrangement for a will-call pickup. He seems like an ok guy, but not much of a conversationist. In the midst of our dialog, he made a sly remark in respond to one of my questions. I didn’t know if he was being sarcastic or humorous… or both. My impression was that Victor is no tennis or racquet sport aficionado but strictly a business man. However, even that assumption is debatable.

    Arriving at the warehouse, I wasn’t surprised so see that the entire Maxline business enterprise was just that… a warehouse. Frankly, this is quite typical of ‘mom & pop’ type of operation. Regardless, my mission was accomplished after I picked up a big box and loaded into my car.

    Later in the evening, I spent a good hour carefully examining each part and assembled it all together. Everything went as well as I expected. It was getting late but I was optimistic that I should be stringing my racquets the next day. But before I call it a night, I wanted to make sure all the intricate parts such as the mounts, clamps are operable and more importantly, the crank tension head is calibrated.

    This is where the reality sets in. While checking the racquet mounting system, I discovered one of the four independent adjustable mounting arms was defective. Basically one of the knobs controlling the outer mounting wing was not working. “Just great,” I thought to myself. Making another trip back to Maxline (Eagnas) is as much fun as going to the dentist. The mounting post can be exchanged easily but as disappointed as I was, I didn’t bother to check the clamps. However, I wanted to make sure the tension head is calibrated.

    [​IMG]

    Not to long ago, I made myself a digital tension calibrator from a fishing scale tied to tennis strings. Using the turntable brake, I locked the turntable with both mounting posts parallel in-line with the tensioning crank. With the scale hooked to the far post, I pulled the string, along with the digital scale to 50 lbs (limit of the scale). I was pleasantly surprised to see the tensioner was fairly accurate but also noticed that the tension drops fairly quickly. This was something I haven’t encounter with my old Ektelon. Bewildered by the phenomenon, I tried it several times but I began to notice each time as I would pull to tension, the mounting arm/post would flex a little. The movement was very subtle. So subtle that I don’t think anyone would notice but I had to guess it was about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch inwards. Speechless and disturbed by this discovery, I can only imagine how disfigured my precious racquet would look like after tightening all 16 mains to 60 lbs each.

    [​IMG]

    After closer inspection of the structural integrity of the mounting system, I have to conclude that the stainless steel turntable just isn’t strong enough. Should there be close to 1,000 lbs of tension pulling inwards, this fairly thin sheet of metal would have to give. I wondered if my old Ektelon had this problem so I walked a few steps away and studied the old-faithful. No comparison… the Ektelon’s turntable and support mount was a single hunk of steel; so solid that I’d trust it if I had to use it as a jack for my car.

    So I pondered my options. The defective mounting arm had to be replaced but would I keep this stringer given the evident structural flaw? NO CHANCE IN CHINA!! The decision was easy. Now the problem is what are my options? In the course of an hour, I had gone from excitement to extreme trepidation. The thought of asking for refund from Maxline must be like taking a bone from a pitbull. Somehow, going to the dentist isn’t so bad after all. Maybe the defective arm was a blessing in disguise.

    Back to my computer, I surfed the Eagnas website and researched what seem like hundreds of other manual stringing machines. Obviously my goal now is to perhaps trade my 940 to some other units with much stronger turntable and mounting system. After a bit analysis paralysis, it’s evident my only other options are the 900le or the 910. And of course, it’s going to cost me BIG TIME! From what I can see, the only differences between the two are $50 and the braking system. Believe it or not, I do use the brake often – sometimes to calibrate tension, and always set when I store it in the corner of the garage. So 910 it is!! And I’ll also gain a pair of spring assisted swivel base clamps. If this unit is functional (BIG IF) and sturdy enough, I figured it will be my last machine.

    I spoke to Victor the next day and addressed the defect issue and my desire to upgrade to the 910. He agreed as long as the 940 is still in brand-new condition… no problem there. Our conversation wasn’t as cordial as I described but we got to the point. For those of you thinks customer reigns supreme, I suggest you desensitize yourself and give Victor a call.

    Tomorrow’s another day… to be continued.

    Link to Eagnas Flex 940

    Link to Eagnas Combo 910
     
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  2. dancraig

    dancraig Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the report.
     
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  3. flash9

    flash9 Semi-Pro

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    It is all in the name.

    I guess they call it a "FLEX" 940 for a reason.:mrgreen:
     
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  4. theace21

    theace21 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the update - I hope it works out for you. Please post back.
     
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  5. Rumjungle

    Rumjungle Semi-Pro

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    Good report. Those were the same models I was considering. I've heard good things about the combo 910 and I hope yours is problem free.
     
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  6. STRman

    STRman Rookie

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    Mellofello's post must be a joke, isn't it? "1000lbs of inward tension and the turntable won't hold up?"
    I have the 840 which I believe has the same turntable. It's a full one quarter inch thick stainless steel and I can assure you that you are not going to bend it. My machine weighs 66 pounds and mine is the table model without even a stand! The majority of the weight is in the turntable.
     
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  7. DX_Psycho

    DX_Psycho Semi-Pro

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    my mounting arm was laso not working. i coudln't turn the knob. i popped it off after some forcing and when i put it back on it worked.
     
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  8. mellofelow

    mellofelow Semi-Pro

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    Well, at least I'm glad someone has found my report humorous.

    All I can say is the proof is in the pudding. Unless there’s an optical illusion or my digital tension meter malfunctioned 10+ times in a row, I will stand by my theory based on culmination of tests. Keep in mind that there are another 7 inches of rise above the plate for the mounting towers. Simple physics will tell you in effect, the entire mounting table resembles the shape of a tuning fork. Pinching the tips of the fork together is mere child’s play.

    As for 1000 lbs of pressure applied, that’s my guestimate of 62 lb of tension times 16 (mains). If this assumption is grossly in error, you have my sincere apologies.

    Going back to my digital tension meter test, once the tension is tripped, usually I expect a few pounds of loss due to resilience of the synthetic string (attached to the meter). If you have a better explanation of approximate 8 lbs of tension loss versus 3 lbs on my Ektelon and the new 910 which I just put together, please entertain me.

    I didn’t get a chance to apply my theory onto a real test, and since you have an 840, pick a flexible oversized racquet and mount it to your machine. Now before you start stringing, measure the exact length from tip of the top grommet to the bottom. After you strung all 16 mains or so at 60 lbs, re-measure the length of the racquet face again. I’d be very interested in the readings. Donuts to Dollars, you will have a bigger gap than I would.

    Don’t get me wrong, the 940 is a very capable machine. In fact, I found the similar turntable on Alpha and Mutual Power and such. Surely they’re much better than lower end drop-weight machines. In the end, we’ll all have nicely strung racquets.
     
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  9. barry

    barry Hall of Fame

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    The 62 pounds by 16 (992) number maybe misleading. If you never released tension and did not have a frame in the machine, it would be true. But in reality after every 3rd string, you are releasing tension and the frame is handling the torque.
    I have seen many frames, strung tight, flex, but in my opinion the stress is put on the frame and mounts, not the stainless steel plates. My machine moved one time, I had the bottom screws lose and the entire post moved.
    Either the plate is built out of thin metal, like some of the Gammas (aluminum), or maybe the post is not flush on the plate, is the only thing I can guess. I don’t mind a little flex in my racket, but not in my stringer!
    I could be wrong, but I would look elsewhere. Just my take, SW_Stringer could construct a better proof, as he seems to have logical answers for problems.

    One question, How do you like the new Combo 910?
     
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  10. Radical Shot

    Radical Shot Semi-Pro

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    A well written review - top marks for the writing style.

    Now why didn't you read and learn from all of the bad experiences that people have posted in the past about these machines and the poor service from Maxline?

    Low marks for reading.
     
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  11. mellofelow

    mellofelow Semi-Pro

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    Absolutely beautiful Mr. Barry... you're right! You had to make me use my noodles and reprocess my theory. In essence, with a racquet in the machine, it basically takes on the property of a Roman Archway or a bridge and thus absorbs most of the pressure. And as the racquet is strung outwards, the inward tension displaced on the mounts diminishes.

    Brilliant!! I stand corrected.

    But remember I discovered the flex issue while I was calibrating the tensioner at 50 lbs. Now let’s forget my wild arse 1000 lb number, surely I expect to see more than 50 lb of tension after stringing the mains. Isn’t that true? It had to take more than that to move your post.

    As for the new Combo 910, it’s now sitting in the garage and as far as I can tell, everything is functional… thank goodness. And you know what, I’m impressed! Hopefully I get a chance to string a racquet today and have a follow up review soon.

    Thanks again!
     
    #11
  12. barry

    barry Hall of Fame

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    I noticed overnight I lose about 8% of the tension depending on the string. I have an ATS tension meter, spring type, which gives you a relative string tension. Right after stringing you get one value and then the next day and you can see the tension drop. Really depends on the string.
    Maybe someone else who has an 940 could test their machine and let you know if it was unique to your machine, or maybe it will create a massive product recall.

    I am in the process of buying an combo 910 and since you are an experienced stringer look forward to your review.
     
    #12
  13. mellofelow

    mellofelow Semi-Pro

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    Thank you and believe me, I have done my share of research. Being in the computer field for 20 years, I have always taken pride in being analytical and astute. Having said that, did I make a bad choice going to Maxline/Eagnas? Not in my opinion. Here’s why.

    Besides being a computer nerd, I’m also a tools junkie. In my free time, I like to woodwork and tinker with cars. But in order to do so, tools of the trade must be acquired. As a hobby, should I furnish my garage/workshop with names of like Snap-On, Laguna tool, Delta, Ingersoll-Rand or Festool when Craftsman, JET, or whatever Harbor Freight carries would do the job at fraction of the cost? While you ponder that thought, you ought you know that you have learned more about me than my wife did on our first date.

    In all the years I’ve own a couple of stringing machines, it never seize to amaze me how simple the mechanics are. Like the JET tablesaw, unless it rust and rot away, I expect it to last my lifetime. On occasions when I need to make a service call, I’m willing to deal with it.

    Buying a stringing machine from Eagnas is like going to the flea market. It’s bargain basement shopping and therefore, the quality, sales experience and service baggage rules apply. FORTUNATELY (with emphasis), Maxline is only a few miles away and as long as I lower my expectations, yes – I’m prepared to deal with it. Sure I b!tched and moaned about their service skills (or lack there of) but I got it done. The emotional scar will heal over time. However, if I have to b!tch and moan every time I use the machine, then it’s simply NOT an option.

    Now if I were hundreds or thousands of miles away from Maxline, that’s a dilemma I haven’t had to deal with.
     
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  14. DX_Psycho

    DX_Psycho Semi-Pro

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    when i use a tension calibrator, nothing of mine changes. it holds it at the same tension. must be ap roblem with yours. i haven't deformed any of mine.
     
    #14
  15. MikeV

    MikeV New User

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    Thanks mellofellow,

    That's exactly the point I've been meaning to make all through these similar Eagnas threads. If you're within driving distance and you can get face to face with the proprietor of the business, you've (and socalstringer) got a leg up over the rest of us. Living on the east coast, not only would I have to pay higher shipping but would be dependant on the directions those finicky winds blow when (and if) Victor is providing customer service.

    I'm much more comfortable with the no questions asked/no arguments/the customer is always right position that Alpha and Gamma have adopted. So much so, that I've just bought the Gamma 5003 *with free shipping* (directly) from a shop that lists on that big auction site. Best service, best price, free shipping, no sales tax; I'm comfortable stating I'm adhead of the game this time. And with regard to the great deal on the Eagnas 8000, check out the Gamma 5800 ELS. For $1999 w/free shipping and the free string package, it's not too far away from the Eagnas price after all.
     
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  16. Audiodude

    Audiodude Rookie

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    I too own a 5003 and have nothing but good things to say about it. I do think the 5800, at $2000.00, is a bit overpriced. The 5800 is essentially the 5003 with an electronic tensioner. I'm sure it's a great tensioner, but I find it hard to rationalize $1200.00 for the upgrade.
     
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  17. mellofelow

    mellofelow Semi-Pro

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    Mike, if I own a shop or stringing for some income, Gamma 5800 ELS would be my tool of choice. I just found the link and slobber over my keyboard just looking at it… foot pedal, digital and constant pull. Very sweet indeed. Agree, Eagnas 8000 is not even in the same ballpark.
     
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  18. CocoTheMonkey

    CocoTheMonkey New User

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    Yeah, right.

    Have you ever used the PLUS 8000?
     
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