Basic Stringing Information Included.
"Wanna be" stringers who want (in this case) entry-level machine information have arrived. Plus, apparently tennis players are getting really strong and can break strings quite fast! A low(er)-cost option is requested. To serve this population, especially those who choose not to search for the tons of information already in place (Someone has to help the lazy.), I decided to copy and paste, and update, some of my previous posts regarding the entry-level Gamma dropweight/composite floating clamp offerings, the X-2 and the Progression 200. Basic information about stringing is shown below, as well.
Here, I not only present my own explanations and images, but direct you (with proper credit) to the works of others which have been referred to many times in the past and are well known to those on the forum. I have no interests in Gamma other than owning and using a machine. These machines are "popular" because of their price, quality, portability, and ease of use.
If you have a question, search or start a new thread.
This thread is NOT about
, "Which brand should I get, Gamma ________ or ____________?" Do a SEARCH. There are many, many, many (actually, many^10) threads on this. You will not be getting a singular answer. Do your research. Make your purchase. String. It is also not about, "How good is this product or any of the parts?" For all of those answers, again, SEARCH.
I won't be doing a supplemental video. I'm not a performer. Also, I have nosey friends and relatives. Links to lots of informative videos are included below. I don't guarantee working links.
You should read the entire guide before attempting to string.
The starting and clamping method is slightly different for machines with floating (also called "flying"), rather than fixed clamps, because the clamps are not attached to the base. This is explained below. Also, I am "officially" renaming this category of stringing machines, "Let It Down Slowly" (LIDS) Weight Machines. Don't DROP.
X-2 vs. Progression 200
What is the difference between the X-2 and the Progression 200? They have the same dropweight/ratcheting rotational gripper tensioning, clamping (composite floating clamps), and two-point mounting systems. The X-2 has a blue aluminum base with a small drawer and a soft, lined tray. The Progression 200 has a plastic-covered metal base and tray as shown below.
What is included?
One should always check with the supplier, but to my knowledge, along with the parts shown below, the following items are included: manual, USRSA stringing guide (Gamma version for inclusion with its products), hex keys, small wrench, racquet adapters, pathfinder awl, pliers, awl, and a razor (Tip #1: Avoid the razor and get cutters as noted in Post #3.). You may also receive sample sets of Gamma string (This may change.).
How do I assemble my machine?
The manual contains this information. PDF files of the manuals are available at the Gamma site. However, a picture is worth a thousand words. The machine is properly assembled in the photo below. You will use the 5mm hex key (included) to "lock" and "unlock" the supports. The support posts angle out away from the center (\___/). A few details on this are written below in the "MACHINE USE" section.
These instructions are for basic stringing with a Gamma machine using floating clamps (X-2 and Progression 200). They are not intended to cover every scenario. Other methods can be used to string a racquet. These can be learned as the stringer gains skill or by necessity. Also note that some racquets may require specific techniques (particularly Prince "port" racquets). Links to helpful videos, images of sample racquet patterns, and other useful information are shown below the following instructions. However, this method can be used with any machine that can mount a racquet and tension, as the main issues in the instructions involve the use of floating clamps, rather than fixed. Your machine applies if you own floating clamps. I simply do not provide information on other mounting and tensioning systems.
Before you string, check your racquet for any damage. This includes things such as cracks in the frame and damaged or missing grommets.
RACQUET SUPPORT ADAPTERS
Place the tapered racquet support adapters over the threaded posts for the hold down plates. The hold downs go on flat side down and are curved to the shape of the frame.
Note: In the photo above, the racquet was already strung when the photo was taken. The example of how to use the adapters still applies.
MOUNTING THE RACQUET
Choose the tapered adapters with the largest size and side that does not block the grommets. Place your racquet down on the support posts. The adapters should contact the inside of the frame at the head and throat. Be sure the posts are centered between the center grommets, right and left, at the head and throat. Adjust the support posts as necessary to be sure the adapters properly contact the frame. Secure your racquet with the frame hold down plates. Turn the knobs so they are secure but not too tight as to damage the frame.
You should choose an adapter (there are four: two thin and two thick for wide body racquets) with the thickness that gets as much frame contact as possible without blocking the grommets.
Place the weight on the bar so the knob is on the side facing the gripper. Set your desired tension by aligning the face closest the gripper with the tension number stamped in the bar.
THE SCALES TO SET TENSION
There are three scales (sets of numbers for pounds or kilograms). With the bar leaning to the left (resting position) when looking at the machine from the front are kilograms (numbered 10-40). With the bar leaning to the right when looking at the front of the machine, as when tensioning, are the pounds (to 90). "Below" that, the scale goes to 26, which are pounds for badminton, used after removing the larger part of the weight using the hex key.
Determine the pattern for the racquet. I'll write out instructions for stringing two-piece (four knots) here using the basic method for machines with floating clamps. For one-piece, you simply measure enough string to complete one side of the mains and tie off, and when you complete the other side, you do not tie off, but continue to string the crosses and tie off (two knots).
So, for two-piece, measure your mains. Note: with the Gamma Progression 200/X-2, you'll need enough string to get out of the racquet and around the rotational string gripper to pull tension (about 15") (without using a jumper or using a scrap piece of string and a knot). This becomes important when tensioning the last mains before tying off. Cut the tips of your string to a point so they pass through grommets easily.
Determine whether the start loop is at the head or throat. If the number of grommets at the throat in the yoke is even when divided by two, the start loop is at the head (8/2=4: head). If the number is odd, the loop is at the throat (6/2=3:throat). Using the basic method shown for floating clamp machines, keeping the tips together to have equal lengths of string on each side, pull the main length of string through the grommets for LM1 (left main one) and RM1 (right main one) from throat to head (or head to throat). Pull the string through so the starting loop is properly set against the frame.
CLAMPING YOUR FIRST STRINGS
Pull the strings as not to be loose, and with one floating clamp, clamp the two center mains (RM1 and LM1) together on the side of the start loop, leaving a space between the clamp and frame for the second floating clamp.
Note: A floating clamp must be clamping two strings, as it is not attached to a base.
Note: Not to scale. Only for example of holding two strings, as some new stringers didn't understand this part.
You move the clamp when the string is still held tensioned by the gripper. Otherwise, you will lose all of your tension!
THE MAINS: LACE, TENSION, CLAMP, RELEASE...REPEAT
Now lace one of the sides of string for the next main (It doesn't matter on which side you start.). For example, lace RM2. Place the string for RM2 around the string gripper and in between the gripper jaws. Drop (let down slowly) the arm to pull tension. Use the "ratchet" if needed (Hold the gripper with left hand and lift bar with the right, and only lift a click or two at a time if the bar is only slightly below horizontal.). There are various methods/techniques for doing this, but you'll want to get the bar to about horizontal (+/-2 to 5 degrees. See the link below to the dropweight physics thread for the science and math. Your "personal threshold" may differ depending on your patience and skill! However, be consistent.). Never push down on the bar. When the bar is about horizontal, clamp (in this example) RM1 to RM2 (which is tensioned now) in the space between the first clamp and the frame (the space you left earlier when clamping the two center mains together). Raise the arm after you've clamped the string.
Note: This is the only time you will double-pull (pull tension on two strings at once.) This is due to the use of floating clamps.
(Continued in Post #2.)