Talk me into getting a cheap stringer

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by Maui19, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I have decided to start stringing my own racquets. It is a no-brainer from a cost standpoint--even if you don't want to experiment with strings. Even a $400 machine would pay for itself in less than a year. It seems very simple and straighforward, and easier than many of the projects I tackle around the house.

    I have been reading about various machines, and it sounds like a Klipper or X-2 would do the job, but they look so cheap and unsubstantial. I want my tensions to be accurate, rather than +-2 lbs or so, and my machine needs to be precise (it used correctly). I am also a little leery about a machine that takes 2-3 hours to string a racquet. Heck it only takes me about 45 minutes to build a set of golf clubs.

    So I am now attracted to machines like the Mutual Power 680, with fixed clamps, 6 point mounts and great (IMO) tensioning system. Of course it is more expensive, and I am worried that it is overkill for my needs, which would be perhaps 2-3 string jobs/month.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  2. rich s

    rich s Hall of Fame

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    also consider a Gamma 602FC or a Gamma X-6FC
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
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  3. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    you really can't get any more accurate than a drop-weight machine, IMO (like the ones you mentioned).

    if you want some "cheap" alternatives look at eagnas challenger I (drop weight) and combo 910 (crank). They might be on par with mutual power (maybe the same?).
     
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  4. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Semi-Pro

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    Get an Alpha crank machine and replace the crank with a Wise 2086 tension head and you will be stringing like a champ. They sell the wise right here at TW.
     
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  5. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    All machines are more or less accurate regardless of price except for perhaps really cheap electronic machines.

    A DropWeight with 6 point mount and fixed clamps will not reduce your string time over a dropweight with a 2 point mount with floating clamps. It may still take you 2 hours, especially if you've never strung before. (that's where I am at right now)

    Fixed clamps are slower then floating clamps from what I can tell. They just may more accurately secure the string since they are attached to the base instead of another string.
     
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  6. dak95_00

    dak95_00 Professional

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    You can't go wrong stringing your own. I only restring mine a couple of times a year and am glad I got a machine. I bought an old, really old Ektelon Model D w/ the H upgrade kit I installed. It is a 2 clamp crank machine simlar to the Prince Neos. When I started, it took me 1 1/2 hours to string. I then started stringing friends racquets for string + $5 and got down to 50 minutes. Now, I string strangers and other people who know me through others and I'm down to 30 minutes. I have a couple sets of cheap but playable reels of string I bought from TW and I'm in business. The machine has paid for itself and I have fun learning.

    Stringing machines seem to hold their value well so you can always upgrade to better later as you learn what it is that you want or need. Good luck.

    I also take old racquets as payment for string jobs. It is fun to wheel and deal for more things.

    I bet if you put a wanted ad on the classifieds, someone would find you a good deal here on TT.
     
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  7. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    I'm pretty much a novice stringer with an X2 and no experience with other machines, but I'll say that it doesn't have a "cheap and unsubstantial" feel--it's a pretty solid little piece of machinery, though some users have issues with the clamps. I think the main advantage of a higher end machine may be to string faster. But I bet I could string slow on a $2000 machine too. :oops:
     
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  8. [d]ragon

    [d]ragon Hall of Fame

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    I'm actually going to try to talk you out of getting a cheap stringer.

    I have a Klippermate and a SP Hip Hop and let me tell you, the Klippermate is a piece of #### compared to my Hip Hop (6 mounting, fixed clamps, dropweight). The cost difference between them is rather large but totally worth the extra dough.

    And now that I've been using the Hip Hop for awhile, I really regret not getting a crank machine from the get go

    So I recommend the Alpha Revo 4000 if you can afford it. The Gamma Progression ST II looks the same machine but I'm not sure and Alpha is known for their excellent customer service. With a crank tensioner and spring assisted fixed clamps, it is a much better machine than any dropweight you can get. Plus it's upgradeable (Wise tension head) and has a tool tray (I didn't realize how nice a tooltray would be until after I got my Hip Hop!)

    On a side note, accuracy is not that important. Precision is the most important thing a stringer can achieve. So what if your 55 isn't really 55 lbs. As long as you can consistently get "55," then you have to do is adjust the tension according to your needs
     
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  9. [d]ragon

    [d]ragon Hall of Fame

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    And your first string job is going to take 2 or more hours, no matter what machine you have (ok, probably alittle less with a higher end machine). Just keep practicing and you'll get faster over time
     
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  10. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    I'll talk you into it. . . I'm assuming you have confidence in your ability to actually DO things, different things, a variety of things.

    Here's why: it's fun. I particularly like doing stringing early Sunday morning before church, with a cup of coffee and the radio on. It's a mellow time for sure.

    Another reason: it opens up the World of String to you: by cutting out the labor expense, you can tinker around and find exactly the string that works for you.

    Another reason: no more hanging on to dying/dead strings to wring out a few more bits of value.
     
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  11. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    Maybe I wasn't clear. I plan on getting a machine. The question is whether a basic model is good enough. I look at the cheap ones, then compare them to the $300-$400 models, and the pricier models look so much better.
     
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  12. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Semi-Pro

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    I just got a Stringway ML120 from Alpha in Austix TX and the above poster was correct - their customer service has been excellent. I'm really happy with the build quality of the stringway and the racquet holding system is really secure - it's a good feeling because when I cut the first string out of an old tennis racquet I picked up to practice on I realized just how much tension there is and I can tell you I would not feel good with one of those little stringers with the two-point mount support only. On the stringway, that stick is really secure in there and is not going anywhere. I watched YULitle's videos on youtube - he's a poster here and his videos are a huge help - from how to start your mains to how to tie different knots and how to pull them tight.

    Anyway, for what it's worth, I'm very happy with the stringway so far. I'm adding a Wise tension head next but am buying the adapter bracket first to make sure it's going to fit (not to hijack this thread, but does anyone know if the wise will fit on a stringway?).

    Stringing that first racquet was fun you will enjoy it trust me. Good luck!
     
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  13. rich s

    rich s Hall of Fame

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    That's an accurate assessment.....
     
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  14. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    I am not going to talk you into a cheap unit, but rather a machine with more features, as that is my preference.
    For me, the more features the better. The more features the easier it gets, therefore the easier it is, the better the job done, but thats me. Others here like the inexpensive models and do a good job, but my opinion is get as much as you can afford, especially if you plan on stringing for a while.If you think that you just want to try stringing, and not continue for a while , then get a cheap model.
    For stringing machines it the same as many other things, you get what you pay for. Minimum requirements for me is six point mounting, fixed clamps, and a good brake, but thats me. If you string a # of O port racquets, you may wish to get a model with a good table brake.
    If you are not in a hurry, every so often some decent high end used models are found on an internet auction site, and even on the for sale section on this forum from time to time, that way, you may get a machine with some nice features, and a reasonable price.
     
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  15. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    Okay the drama is over. I just ordered a Gamma Progession 2000. We'll see how it goes.
     
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  16. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    My advice is to spend as much money as you can on a stringer. It is a long term investment and the better machines with respect to mounting, clamps, tension are worth the extra dollars.

    I've owned 4 types of machines:
    • Tremont TR-145 - which had a wind up tensioner and flying clamps, very basic machine and wore out in 5-6 years. Real PITA & POS. Just for kicks, here is a link to this beast... :) http://www.photostringer.com/tremont_t145_01.htm
    • Gamma Dropweight with ratcheting linear gripper & flying clamps. Nice for a dropweight, but inconsistent. From most of my reading, probably due to the clamps. But it was slow. I used it prior to the current poly craze and once I started stringing poly found it even slower.
    • Prince Neos with the standard lockout. Bought it ten or more years ago, strung a ton with it. Everything is still like new.
    • Added Wise 2086. Love it. Absolutely love it. It takes a great machine and makes it nearly perfect. Cuts down on stringing time, gives the most consistent results and is just fun.
     
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