Originally Posted by kmartin
I've been wondering if Laserfibre/String_ways were really that much better than the normal dropweight. It seems like YULitle posted a link to a graph some time back, that showed tension variance on a normal dropweight when you are within 10 degrees of horizontal, was not much more than what you got. I have been leaning towards a String_way ML 100, but if the non-horizontal tension varies just like a normal dropweight, it wouldn't be nearly as desirable. Which model do you have, and are you pretty happy with it?
There is NO COMPARISON between a ********* dropweight and a ratcheting style dropweight. The ********* is simply in another class entirely. Ratcheting dropweights give blisters, are time consuming, and are no fun to string on. I have plenty of experience with them. I would never EVER go back.
The ********* ML100 is what I own and while it's true you have to be way off horizontal with a ratcheted tensioner to make any real significant difference, the ML100 is still more accurate, but more importantly it's quite simply about ten-ONE HUNDRED fold a nicer experience to string on--HANDS DOWN.
You'll also be cutting your stringing time down in half, if not more (those pesky blisters again).
It is DEFINITELY worth the extra money for a ********* over any sub-500 dropweight, period, in my opinion. Furthermore, other dropweights are usually seen and treated as the bargain basement step sister in most company's product lineups. As a result, they are treated as such and receive the manufacturer's lower-grade clamps and mounting components for the most part. With the *********, there is no such sacrifice. From their high-end electronic machines to their ML100, they all use interchangeable clamps and mounting. Their clamps do have some drawback, but it's not eggregious by any means, and the clamps themselves grip ALL kinds of strings exceptionally well with pretty much never an adjustment needed. Their mounting system is also a full class or two or three above the lower-grade 6-pt. mounting or 2-pt. mounting on most dropweights in my opinion.
You also have to factor in flex of the turntable. The more rigid and higher quality a turntable, the less tension loss. A lot of dropweight machines skimp out there. ********* does not. Very rigid twin i-beam design.
Again, there's just no comparison. The ML100 has been used to string run-offs at a pro challenger tournament before (the Bronx Challenger), INCLUDING one of Michael Chang's rackets. The story was that Carl Chang came into the player's lounge laughing saying he couldn't BELIEVE that his racket was strung on a dropweight. Note though, that he wasn't complaining about the quality of the string job, but rather that he just couldn't believe that a dropweight machine could produce a professional result.
I've strung for low-level touring pros with the ********* ML100 and they kept on coming back for more whenever they were in town. They LOVED the rackets that came off my machine.
Would I have the same confidence using a run-of-the-mill, "conventional" dropweight? No way, Jose'.
And yet it's not because of the tensioning mechanism (slow and clumsy and wearisome, but it gets the job done with due dilligence and patience...it's the whole tortoise vs. the hare type thing). It's because there's a lot more that goes into producing a quality string job than just the tensioner. Again, rigidity of the turntable, quality of the mounting system (can lead to premature frame fatigue, possible distortion, etc.), due to the clamps crimp the string unnecessarily leading to premature string breakage, due to the clamps hold tension well, and so on and so forth...well, actually not so on and so forth, but these are the other factors you have to consider and the bottom-line is that most dropweights being at the low-end of their manufacturer's totem pole get the scrub treatment, sorry to say.
Their reasoning? Well, any serious stringer would never deal with the hassle and labor-intensity of dealing with a ratcheted dropweight anyway, so why bother giving the star treatment to the clamps, turntable, and mounting anyway?
This reason more than any other is why you see dropweights traditionally being seen as "lesser", "hobby" designs...and NOT the actual ability of the dropweight ITSELF to produce professional results.