Talk me out of replacing my klippermate

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by maxpower, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. maxpower

    maxpower New User

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    I love it. I only string for myself and a couple of friends. I average 2-3 racquets a month.

    But I can't help wondering what its like to have fixed clamps and even an electric tensioned.

    I've been looking at a gamma x-6 fc. Mainly for the fixed clamps....but also because if I'm not mistaken, you can add a wise tension head.

    That's about $1100..
    On an aside any other stringer with comparable features for same or lower price?

    I realize I don't need it but can't help wondering..

    Why shouldn't I ?

    And
    why should i?
     
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  2. samarai

    samarai Rookie

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    It just looks cooler? LOL. I was in the same situation that u are in. Been using a klippermate for about 1 year, nothing wrong with machine and I can string in about 45 minutes. About to get a gamma x-6 fc delivered in couple of days. Sad part is I only string for myself so its like only 2 rackets per month. Do for it if u can. Now u got me thinking about the wise tensioner.
     
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  3. LttlElvis

    LttlElvis Professional

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    If you enjoy stringing and can afford the machine, go for it. The Klippermate probably already paid for itself.
     
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  4. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    For $1100, consider getting a new upright (Gamma, Alpha or Prince) and adding the Wise in the future if you feel you need/want it. The benefit in upgrading will be reducing some of the Klippermate hassle and should make your stringing more efficent and enjoyable--an upright makes it more so. But make no mistake, you can do a fine job with a Klippermate and for your re-stringing frequency, it is a reasonable choice. You might also save some money by taking your time and looking for a good value in a used machine. Good luck.
     
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  5. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    If you can afford it get the most machine you can get. Now that you know what stringing is all about, and most likely know some of the nice features that some machines have, it does make the job much more enjoyable, especially if you know that you will be stringing years from now.
     
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  6. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    Look for a used machine and you'll be under $1000 easily.
     
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  7. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    If you're looking for someone to justify the cost, you're probably not going to have an "AHA!" moment. For the volume you string, it'd be a long term "investment" to offset the inital cost. It's simple arithmetic.

    HOWEVER, as many experienced people will tell you:
    A) Your enjoyment/pleasure factor/removal of aggravation is worth something! It's hard to translate to a dollar amount, but you probably won't regret the upgrade.
    B) "Time is money." If you're an old guy with a salary, you can roughly ballpark how much your "per hour" time costs. If you shave off 20 minutes off of an hour, you can justify (if you are a data nerd) how much you're saving in a dollar amount. If you're extremely time limited, this has real value.
    C) Fixed clamps will provide a more accurate, but not necessarily precise stringbed, IMHO. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accuracy_and_precision
    D) Buying a fixed height machine is really nice on the back. I prefer this even over a rolling cart machine.
    E) If you ever take on customers, they will be a lot more comfortable handing their racquet to someone who is stringing on more of an 'investment' than a dropweight. Even though it's not fair, and the machine doesn't make the stringer, the perception is that you are taking your craft more seriously. (bring out the pitchforks!!!)

    These are a few reasons.

    If you are upgrading to the $1100 range, I'd look at the Alpha uprights as well as the Gamma 6004 style machines. I'd just go big if you're willing to make that investment.

    Bang for the buck would be a used machine that is high quality, like a used NEOS, or anything in the range as above. Swivel clamps are probably a better future proofing investment, but not really necessary if you don't string fan patterns.
     
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  8. maxpower

    maxpower New User

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    Lots of good info and ideas. I guess I should add that I've had my klippermate for well over a year. I found it on Craigslist for $60. It was practically new. It even came with all but one of the included string sets.
    I have it on ..what I think is a custodian cart..actually it may be the carts used by hotel house cleaning...so its not uncomfortable to string on.

    Although I didn't ask my buddies payment.. they wouldn't accept not throwing some bucks my way. I throw it into a tennis can and have about $220..so there is that.

    I keep an eye on Craigslist for used machines but rarely see them..although currently there is a prince neos 1000 for $700 locally and one up in Austin for $525. By the by..how are the neos clamps used for crosses?
     
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  9. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    You swap the two for one glide bar for the corsses.
     
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  10. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    good answer by diredesire. I'm in the same shoes as the OP.

    However, I'm here still thinking the Kmate does a wonderful job. For the few times I'm stringing, whatever bells and whistles I need come from the radio and my cup of coffee.
     
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  11. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I was in the exact situation as the OP except I'd had my Klippermate for over 5 years before I caught the upgrade bug (which is referred to as twofootitis by boat owners btw). I started tracking Craigslist and after about six months of looking I finally found what I was looking for--a nearly new Neos 1000 with all tools-- for an acceptable price.

    My Klippermate had long since paid for itself and then some so it was pretty easy to justify the expense of the Neos. It too has paid for itself and then some in the two plus years I have used it. Not only has it saved me hundreds of dollars in stringing expense it is also a pleasure to string on.

    I could actually have made quite a bit of money stringing for members of my club as I frequently get asked if I string for others. However, since our two club pros derive a good income from their stringing (they also string on a Neos 1k fwiw) I don't want to take away any of their business so I refuse to string for club members. I just string for myself, my wife, and one friend who pays me in beer.
     
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  12. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    In the 21 years I've had my Klippermate, I've caught the upgrade fever a few times. I've delayed acting on it each time and I'm glad that I still string racquets on my KM. For people telling you that you can save 20 minutes, it's just not true. You can get fast on the KM and do a great job. I'm 22 to 25 minutes with a familiar racquet.

    Unless you consider stringing racquets as as much of a hobby as playing tennis, I don't know why you should upgrade. Nothing at all wrong with upgrading, it's just not necessary.
     
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  13. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    I've went back and forth in trying to decide if I wanted to replace my entry level stringer too. But when it comes down to it, my little unit produces excellent results in 45 minutes or less. In the winter, since I don't play as often, I only string 1 racquet every three weeks or so. In the summer I'll be stringing 1 racquet per week.

    I can't really justify the cost of upgrading, as I just don't have that kind of volume.
     
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  14. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    I can't imagine how anyone can string that fast on KM.

    The one thing that I really underestimated was how uncomfortable stringing on a coffee table is for the back...doing the crosses hunched over is a nightmare. I have to get some sort of high workbench table to put the thing on, as I only string while catching up on my DVR programs. Any cheap idea on this? You have to be careful with this thing, because heaven help you if it falls on your foot.

    Aside from the back pain, my KM has already paid for itself. At first I thought it might be a mistake because the first racquet was such a pain in the butt. But, once you get started, and especially if you are doing your own frames that you are familiar with, it gets easier. .
     
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  15. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    It's definitely possible. I didn't say that it's not possible to string quickly on a KM. The poster also stated "on frames he's familiar with." This could mean just about anything, and I don't put too much weight on the post (I should note that I'm not being dismissive, it's just that there's always the outliers that claim XYZ without properly qualifying it). Is that 22-25 minutes on just string time? All prep included? Etc? In the end, it ONLY matters if that 22-25 minutes is fast ENOUGH for YOU. If a higher end machine would suit your needs and saves you a single minute per string job, is it worth it? You have to valuate your time before you can come up with an answer. Like I said in my first post, for many people, upgrading to a higher end machine will be a long term investment, and you won't always "pay it off" (monetarily) in a reasonable amount of time. Most people looking at an upgrade specifically for "savings" are probably not going to be able to justify it.

    With that said, though: How many people on a Klippermate are stringing high volume? Have you ever had to string a stack of frames 12 deep in one sitting, all with different string types? If the answer is no, and you don't expect to... you're probably fine :) You can't get away from having to re-pump a weight (unless you're on an entry level machine with a ratchet, and even then...). This will take you a second or two here or there, but when you start looking at cumulative losses, it adds up -- this is obviously compound losses. You can obviously get a lot of experience over X years and minimize re-pumps on the weight just by getting an intuitive 'feel' for the machine, but I'm frugal with my time, as I valuate it highly.

    With THAT said -- When it comes to speed, if you're not stringing pretty frequently and/or are not very critical when it comes to your own work flow, you may never top out at the faster speeds. I don't think speed should even be considered as one of the main criterion for buying a stringing machine in the first place. IMHO speed should come about due to necessity, not as a goal of stringing in the first place. I (used to) string a lot of frames in single sittings, so I focused on my work flow and reduced wasted time. When you string 12 frames in a sitting nearly every day, even if your time ISN'T worth very much (monetarily), you start to realize that if you're stringing at 30 minutes, that's six hours a day lost (at a minimum!). Get down to 20 minutes a frame -- that's still four hours! Get down to 15 minutes a frame, then it's three hours. If you're doing a racquet or three a week -- honestly, who cares? If you're losing 3-6 hours a day -- you have to start asking honest questions about what your time is worth. For most people, though, this isn't a major consideration. I'm just speaking from the perspective of someone who has done both.


    Edit 2: dman72: You're looking for a "utility cart." You can look online to see if it's something you are looking for, there are threads out there on this board, you can search for rolling cart, etc. Often times you can get them at Walmart, Sears, other hardware stores. Make sure to look for one that is either already the appropriate height for you, or one that you can adjust the height on. I'd also look for some U shaped bolts or some other solution to fix down your machine if you don't mind keeping it on the cart semi-permanently (for a safety issue). I'd also recommend at least thinking about getting one with additional shelving and/or drawers for tools/string/misc items. It CAN be a nice stringing "system" if you want to make it one. Expect to spend significantly more than the bargain basement "base" models, though. Google around to see what's out there.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
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  16. mr_fro2000

    mr_fro2000 Rookie

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    if you find great joy out of stringing and would get greater joy out of having fixed clamps and electric tension heads (ie great joy out of more efficiency), and don't mind paying that much, then go for it.

    Personally I think that's a TON of money to spend considering you are only stringing for yourself and a few friends. I just think about all that i could do with 1100.

    But then again, stringing is not really one of my main "hobbies". I get some enjoyment out of it, but wouldn't get more just b/c im going 'faster'. However if it is one of your main hobbies, then maybe its worth it to you.
     
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  17. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    Spoken like someone who has at least SOME interest in SOMETHING :)

    This is exactly why I don't scoff at others who have passions that I don't. Someone wants to spend $500+ a month eating at ritzy restaurants? Fine. Someone wants to spend four figures a year on sneakers that they're not even going to wear? More power to them. It's not something I'd do, but people find the most petty reasons to judge others. I'd rather focus my disposable income on the things that actually interest me and/or give me greater joy in life than hemorrhaging it away on things that don't matter (to me). This is "little stuff" like a latte a day, etc. It adds up if you don't pay attention.


    This is all with the caveat/concession that it's A-OK to do this stuff as long as you've got all your other personal matters in order. If you don't, well, that's not really my business either.
     
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  18. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    Sorry diredesire. I didn't really realize I had to "properly qualify" my statements. I'm just putting in my two cents worth. Frames I'm familiar with are mine and my son's primarily. I string those a lot as we each have three. 22 - 25 minutes is pretty much stringing time. However, I can string most normal frames from setup to put away in 30 - 35 minutes. That's good enough for my volume.
     
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  19. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    Again, I'm not trying to make any personal statements, here. I've just seen too many people trying to measure their "worth" with ridiculous claims to put much weight on time claims. I did say I wasn't trying to come across as dismissive. While anectodal claims are valuable, you HAVE to take them with a grain of salt. Your two cents are valued here, honestly. You'll notice in this sub-forum, we don't usually have posters insulting each other or making grand troll claims. I'm just chiming in with my two cents from the other side of the fence.

    At this point, I'm beating a dead horse anyways, but from the beginning I said it's likely this is an investment that will take a LONG time to recoup, AND the value is largely dependent on the individual.
     
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  20. samarai

    samarai Rookie

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    What is a thousand? I spend that much on an offshore fishing trip. And we do a couple a year. Seriously though if u have to question it than its probably not the time to invest in a newer machine.
     
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  21. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    I agree with this.
    Years ago (1960's-70's) , I strung with an old Serrano machine and I strung a great # of racquets back then. It did the job back then, but it was an antiquated machine.
    Even though I do not string anywhere near the number I once did back then , Now I have a great machine that makes stringing so much of a pleasure, that in itself is hard to place a value on, and is very well worth it to me.So I agree with diredesire the value is dependant on the individual.

    If you are happy with the way you are going with your machine then your all set.I will say, I really never heard of a stringer that upgraded to a better machine and regretted that decision.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
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  22. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    I put my Klippermate on an old dresser-top drawer unit (about 6-7 inches tall) that I've put on a basic chore work-stand.

    (It's great having a work-stand for various projects and things around the house; I keep it in the garage and enjoy stringing in the driveway).

    The nice thing about the dresser top drawer unit is that you can throw tools, etc., in it. Very nice.

    And in the wintertime, I just put it on the workbench in the basement to string.
     
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  23. tennis4

    tennis4 Rookie

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    OP: what's your take on this? If you are going to upgrade, what machine you have in mind?

    thx.
     
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  24. 2handsbothsides

    2handsbothsides Semi-Pro

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    I have been stringing on my Klippermate for 25 years now for my personal rackets only. I easily do my 16x18's in 30 minutes at the kitchen table, but I do use a computer chair raised to highest level for comfort.

    Probably average one string job ever week to 10 days so I have done at least 1000 string jobs. Also I never string more than 2 rackets in one sitting even when playing in a weekend tournament. I would make the change if I felt I could do a better more consistent job with another machine. But if you ever are going to do a bunch of rackets in one session you have to go to a more ergonomic machine.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
    #24
  25. maxpower

    maxpower New User

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    Since my question was with the caveat that I am happy with my kmate...but am curious about the green grass on the other side, I thought the gamma x-6fc had what I am curious about...fixed clamps. But who am I kidding I would love an electric tensioner as well. Though I haven't looked at any with this thread in mind.
     
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  26. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    If I had to take a stab at a guess - and yes, I've read the thread start to finish - I think after dropping $1100 or so on an higher-end machine you might not find that the "value added" was worth it. I say this because you state that you're currently content with your KM. Oh you'll get a thrill the first few restrings, but after the short-lived novelty wears off, you might wonder why on earth you spent all that money when you were happy with your current machine.

    I own an Apex 2 with a wise. It's my first machine. People scoffed at me for spending that much money when I had never strung before. I knew what I was doing and why; didn't feel the need to justify it to others, and I didn't. I've looked at other machines (mostly the Alpha Ghost), and although I can afford it, I know full well after the first few sessions with it I'd be kicking myself for dumping a several grand into a mahine I really don't need. Like you, I'm content with my current machine, and upgrading would only result in a temporary "high".

    Could be wrong, but it's just the impression I get. My suggestion would be to try to get one of the local pro shops to let you string on their machine. That's a huge step up, but you never know; you might hate it lol.
     
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  27. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    Dude! Finally someone who's had a KM longer that me (21 years). All original equipment? Replaced any clamps? The clamps 20 years ago, though they looked the same, were not lifetime guaranteed. I've replaced one. With that exception, everything is original. Forgot that I did change to the knobs on top from the wing nuts but that was really just for looks.
     
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  28. tennis4

    tennis4 Rookie

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    igrushing, 2handsbothsides, and all KM owners,

    I have a X-2 and have to deal with this kind of upgrade temptation once in a while. Since I only string 2,3 times a month in summers and at most twice a month in winters, I tell myself it is not worth the cost given the small volume.

    Glad to know KM lasts so long and stays strong! How often do you string on average?

    thx.
     
    #28
  29. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    Outside of winter, I usually do it about as much as you. It's nice being able to put in fresh strings whenever you want to, at a reduced price vs. pro shop charge.

    PS: upgrade to Kmate clamps! :)
     
    #29
  30. mongting

    mongting Rookie

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    After switching from my drop-weight floating clamp machine to fixed clamp crank machine, it is day and night. I love fixed clamp! Don't have to worry about clamping two string which is wider than the floating clamp width.
     
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  31. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    To be fair, though, your 'starter' machine is pretty sufficient for even a small-scale "pro shop" (high end home stringing). I would also kick myself if I were upgrading to a high end machine "just because" (unless you justify the purchase as a hobby purchase). IMO a klippermate to a ~$1000-1200 machine vs. an Apex2 + WISE --> Ghost/Star is apples and oranges.
     
    #31
  32. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    You know, there IS something to be said for the fun of playing with a nicer machine, having nicer gear is just plain fun.

    But efficiency-wise, if utility is your only concern, stick with the Kmate.

    If not, buy a fine machine and enjoy it!
     
    #32
  33. tennis4

    tennis4 Rookie

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    Absolutely! That's the niche advantage as you can do it anytime you want.
     
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  34. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    Agree, apples to oranges, but my intent (however crudely stated) wasn't to compare my machine to his, but rather to say as much as I sometimes think it'd be really nice to string on something like a Ghost, in the end, the novelty of the new machine would be fleeting. It has everything to do with the fact that I'm "content" with my current setup...just as he's satisfied with his. That's all. ;-)
     
    #34
  35. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    You know, it's interesting how our tastes and interests and concerns can change.

    I used to keep a close eye on the Guild guitars being sold on e---bahhy. And salivate over some of them.

    Just this morning, I took a look in that area after having stopped this practice about a year ago. . . and, nada, no thrilling adrenaline rush! no pitter-patter of admiring heart beats.

    I'm pretty good on guitars. Time's gone by and I realize I don't need another one.

    For me, it would be great fun to have a shiny, good-smelling, bright new machine to toy with. And fun, too, to learn how to use it. Fun.

    But I suspect there are other joys that would be more enduring for me, and a new stringing machine would be transitory, and my mule of a Klippermate will just keep plodding on doing a great job for me when I need to use it.

    For me, the thing's have fresh strings, rather than dead ones, and a Kmate does the trick here.
     
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  36. 2handsbothsides

    2handsbothsides Semi-Pro

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    Had to replace one clamp right at 20 years and the new one from Klippermate has much better action than the original. Also around the same time frame one of the bolts broke on the drop weight string clamp mechanism which i had to drill and tap out to replace. There really is almost nothing to go wrong on such a simple unit and I like how easy it folds up to store in a closet.

    I fully agree with others that there is nothing like working with a fine piece of equipment and if I strung for others you pretty much need an upright for the ergonomics. But in my case for my personal rackets it never made sense to upgrade. The drop weight avoids calibration issues associated with a spring unit and the lower cost electronics have performance issues. You can also mount very quickly on the KM and I never have issues with a properly adjusted speed clamp. I get absolutely consistent string jobs time after time.
     
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  37. ohplease

    ohplease Professional

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    I got my Klippermate around 1990. I got the Gamma dropweight with the ratchet in maybe 2004 or so. I got a Stringway ML90 a few years ago.

    I should have bought the ratchet dropweight from the beginning, and I should have gotten the Stringway before either the Klippermate or the Gamma. Each machine improvement does result in some speed increase (not tons) - but that's no the point. The point is how much less annoying the whole process is.
     
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  38. tennis4

    tennis4 Rookie

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    Well, it is a valid point. I like my X-2 because it delivers consistent results from time to time. However, I wish the mounting process is easier, the clamp is fixed instead of flying, an easier way to tell if the lever is level (enough). Because of these, I have been looking around, eagnas logic-90, ML100 are among them.

    On the other hand, I restring my racquets once every two weeks or so. So the volume is limited. One thing I am afraid the most is if the upgrade fell short my expectation after having it, or there is maintainance issue involved (the X-2 is simple enough that I don't expect it can break.) going forward.

    I guess if I will ever upgrade, it must be because I can't resist the tempation.
     
    #38
  39. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    This is how I feel these days about some other hobbies (namely computers). Passion isn't there for certain aspects of it... next one I'm looking at is 3D printers/rapid prototyping ;)

    I'd recommend getting a cheap/small bubble level module and use some hot glue to attach it to either your dropweight bar or the gripper. should be a pretty easy mod :)
     
    #39

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