The Ever-Prominent Topic of the X-2/Progression 200 and POLY strings
In my opinion, stringing poly, in terms of tensioning
(I'm not talking about weaving and dealing with the the stiffness of the string.), is quicker than say, a synthetic gut, because the string stretches very little. It simply takes you less time to get the bar to horizontal. One can, for example, once one learns how the string stretches (or doesn't seem to stretch):
Position the bar at a given angle.
Insert the string in the gripper.
Let the bar down to horizontal.
And never have to ratchet up--well, at least not often*. Then you can simply clamp and release tension to move on.
So, these machines are fine for poly offerings. *Of course, there is a wide variety of strings, many of which I have not used, but in general, at least less
ratcheting will be required depending on string type and technique.
Also, as a dropweight is constant pull, if you use a method for stringing poly where you let the string be tensioned for a certain period of time, this can easily be achieved by letting the bar remain in its "horizontal" position as per the method/time period.
Just remember, poly stretches less and you'll need enough string with the X-2/Progression 200 to get out of the racquet and around the gripper with enough to hold (about 15")--without "bridging/jumping" (explained earlier).
Do your racquet/string math if you want to know precisely how much string your racquet requires using one of these machines.
Generally, those starting out with entry-level machines start with their own racquets. As noted earlier, one can find racquet patterns. I'd recommend, as noted briefly earlier, to measure the string you are going to string with the first time. Note the string type and length out of the package. Be a bit generous to start if using a reel. Just know the true lengths of your "one-piece" or "two-pieces." For something like a synthetic gut or a multifilament string, the standard 40 feet (standard package length) should be adequate for even standard OS frames (Some huge
frames may require more.). However, to complete the racquet without "jumping/bridging," more is necesssary with a poly (in relation to the amount of a more "stretchy" string
) in the same racquet. Again, take into account that with these rotational gripper machines, you must get out of the racquet and around the gripper with the final mains and cross to pull tension. This was noted earlier. So, know how much you are starting with. Then measure how much you had left when pulling tension on your final mains and cross. You need enough to get around the gripper with each and a bit to hold. Once tension is pulled on each, you can set the clamp and release the string from the gripper. That amount will be plenty with which to tie finishing knots. Anything else is unnecessary. Of course, with a package, this isn't a concern unless you came up short (Then note that figure.). However, you may
save some string on a reel. Elongation may vary some with strings of a "similar" type. Also, in some cases you may be better splitting a 40 ft. package, for example, 22' and 18', rather than 20' and 20'. Details of specific racquet models is beyond the scope of this thread. You can SEARCH or start a thread if you are unsure.
The Confusion Regarding One-Piece Stringing
Sometimes dropweight users ask (It seems like more often than for other types of machines--perhaps because they are "entry-level.") about "one-piece" strings jobs as though they are something "unusual."
I already explained these ideas above, but to make it clearer, here it is in more detail:
Simply, a one-piece job uses ONE piece of string. You complete the mains and crosses with one length of string. You start the mains as normal with a start loop at the head or throat, and then continue on.
Here is the part that confuses. How do you get the mains and crosses out of one length? With a basic one-piece job (not getting into something called an Around the World (ATW) pattern yet), you measure your entire length of string. You then (do not cut) "note/mark" the point along the length that will be enough for the mains on one side of the racquet. The rest of the length should be enough to complete the mains on the other side AND the crosses.
Now, the point of the length of string "noted/marked" should be at your start loop. In other other words, you will be lacing the shorter portion of string (and tensioning each) through one side of the racquet for the mains. That is called the "short side" (SS). You will be doing the same on the other side with the longer portion (enough for one side and crosses). That is called--surprise--the "long side" (LS).
You complete the mains as usual. You tension each string as normal. You alternate installing mains on the left and right sides, never getting more than two ahead (to equalize tension on the frame). You will be pulling more string through on one side because it has the portion for the crosses as well. When you complete the "short side," you tie off with a finishing knot.
You then go on without tying off the long side to complete the crosses as normal. When you complete the crosses, you tie off with a finishing knot.
And thus you have TWO knots--both finishing.
Quickly, had you done a two-piece, you would have had two lengths of string. You would have tied off mains, left and right. You would have tied crosses on and off. Four knots.
It may be best to use whatever the manufacturer specifies. If you have a choice, then go with what you prefer. If doing a hybrid (two different types of string), then you must do a two-piece.
The Around the World Pattern: There is a general concensus that stringing crosses from head (top) to throat (bottom) is best for the integrity of the frame. Sometimes a racquet will have mains that end at the throat. The ATW (various exist) addresses this so one can string crosses from the top when doing a one-piece with that situation. You must pay attention to specific instructions, and make sure the information applies to you.
ATW is one-piece taking the special note into consideration so it can be applied to many types of racquets.
For specifics on doing this type of pattern, see below:
"The Universal ATW" by Richard Parnell: http://youtu.be/hUDO10wBpmo
Yulitle: (Multiple) http://www.youtube.com/yulitle
SEARCH "TT" for more. Others may have produced additional materials.
I'm not going to address special patterns or techniques. This is more or less basic information to get your racquet strung correctly and safely, with a focus on these machines, with a few added extras.
What the heck is this? I received it with my machine.
The Pathfinder Awl.
It gets your string through blocked grommets when other methods may not work. Briefly, you push the awl point (with the black handle section against the red end from where the metal tube protrudes) through the blocked grommet. Once through, keep the red end and the tube in the same position as you pull back on the black handle section. The "awl point" will recede into the tube, leaving an empty tube. Insert your string into the tube. Keeping the string in the tube
as you do so, slowly pull the awl out of the grommet to get the string tip on the other side of the frame, and thus through the grommet. You may lubricate the tip to help it pass through more easily.
See the videos regarding its use.
What do I do if my racquet is cracked?
There's not much you can do. It may be a crack in the paint or an upper layer, but if it is more than "cosmetic," another one bites the dust. In a given period, you may have a warranty claim, but the situation would have to be very specific to a manufacturing/materials defect.
What if my head guard/grommets are worn out?
If you have a newer racquet, finding replacement grommet sets should be easy. Sets for older models may be hard to find, if not impossible. Ask around if you can't find any. Other than that, you would need to use small pieces of tubing to protect the string from damaged grommets, or use individual replacement grommets. Check the stringing supplies section. Yulitle, for example, has a video on using tubing. If your guard has seen better days and you can't find a replacement, finding an alternate method of protecting the frame itself in that area is your only option. You may be able to find an alternate set that "sort of " fits. This can be tricky. Again, ask. Warning: Don't remove your grommet/guard set without having a replacement that you are sure will fit. You don't want to end up with just a frame for which you have no grommets that can be installed.
How do I remove individual grommets for replacement?
The tool of choice is a "grommet grinder." It is basically an "awl" with a tip that is sharply knurled to act as the "grinding" medium. They generally come in different sizes and are available in the stringing tools section of a seller.
(Continued in Post #14.)