Absolute 1st time stringer... what do I need to know?

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
Yep, found his videos thanks to the forum.

I do have some old/unused frames I could do the 1/4 string jobs with if needed. I also have some cheap SG I am not particularly sentimental about. I'd be using that same string whether going 1/4 job or fb, so either way it is a set or two of collateral damage. Decisions decisions.

With the machine coming Thursday and a very busy weekend ahead, I won't legitimately have a chance to play with anything until next week. Plenty of time to think about best next steps and how confident I am feeling about diving in off the deep end. Feeling pretty confident, by the way. Famous last words!
 

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
Update: Machine is in the building. Condition looks pretty good. Very usable. I unpacked and set it up last night. Everything appears in good shape. Mounted a racquet and that was solid, so it looks like I am in business. I didn't see a way to lock the position of the tension arm so it doesn't smash into my racquet while mounted, so I am going to do a bit of woodwork and make something I can mount to the upright holding the tension head and arm to limit forward travel. I'm psyched, if you can't tell.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Update: Machine is in the building. Condition looks pretty good. Very usable. I unpacked and set it up last night. Everything appears in good shape. Mounted a racquet and that was solid, so it looks like I am in business. I didn't see a way to lock the position of the tension arm so it doesn't smash into my racquet while mounted, so I am going to do a bit of woodwork and make something I can mount to the upright holding the tension head and arm to limit forward travel. I'm psyched, if you can't tell.
Leave the tension arm down and then you tension lift and drop the arm will not hit your racket unless you let it.
 

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
Leave the tension arm down and then you tension lift and drop the arm will not hit your racket unless you let it.
Yeah, I guess I could do that. But I think I can pretty easily make a block out of wood that will keep the arm up and out of the way. That way I don't have to put the arm down, put the string in, lift the arm up and then tension. Just seems like an extra step that isn't needed if I can easily fix the issue.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah, I guess I could do that. But I think I can pretty easily make a block out of wood that will keep the arm up and out of the way. That way I don't have to put the arm down, put the string in, lift the arm up and then tension. Just seems like an extra step that isn't needed if I can easily fix the issue.
You may find it's easier to start with the arm down anyway.
 

Wes

Professional
Yeah, I guess I could do that. But I think I can pretty easily make a block out of wood that will keep the arm up and out of the way. That way I don't have to put the arm down, put the string in, lift the arm up and then tension. Just seems like an extra step that isn't needed if I can easily fix the issue.
You're going to do all that work for what will end up being a moot point. Eventually, you'll figure out that "ratcheting up" simplifies things greatly... particularly when stringing a poly.
BTW, look on the back side of the piece that your rotational gripper is connected to.
On most dropweights, there is a bolt/screw back there that limits the travel of the bar/weight.
You may have a screw back there... or you may, at least, have a hole back there where a screw once was.
If you do, simply replace the bolt/screw.
 

esgee48

Legend
"Tighten tension bar stop screw using 5mm hex Allen wrench" is what the assembly instruction says. So @Wes gets a Twinkie for being right. :)
 

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
I see a bolt on the opposite side of the upright that the ratcheting assembly is attached to. I've looked at that bolt, but it appears to be holding the ratchet assembly to the upright. I'll look again, but I don't see anything that looks like it would limit forward movement.

Ok, so all the videos I've watched seem to make a big deal out of that limit screw and the bar being in that position. It sounds like I really don't need it. Put the bar in the down position and ratchet up from there is easier? If so, we are good to go.

@esgee48 - you have assembly instructions for the ATS Super String v1? I have downloaded the manual for the v2 and Gamma X-2. The base on the v1 is different. Not a full tray/board, but more of a beam supported by crossbars on each end that act as feet and can be swiveled in or out for storage/transport. Again, maybe I am missing something. Haven't had the time to give it a full close inspection. Just make sure all the parts I was expecting are there and there is no obvious damage.
 

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
I found the manuals here:
https://gammasports.com/support/
Select Machine Manuals
Select Gamma X-2 (Issue 1) or Gamma X-2 (Issue 2) or Progression 200 (Issue 1)
They all mention Tension Bar Stop Screw
Thanks. I have the manuals for the X-2. I have a screw on the same side of the "upright" but it is not positioned where the stop screw is positioned in the pictures. It is directly into the metal "donut" in the center, as pictured. Appears to just hold the tensioner assembly to the upright. I'll take a closer look, but I don't see how the screw on my machine would limit forward motion of the arm.

Update: here are some close-up pictures.

https://goo.gl/photos/3RTVHfhVSmD4du6u9
https://goo.gl/photos/tTxv88RJLzUjRhSdA
 
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krisdrum

Semi-Pro
Bumping to see if anyone has thoughts on the use of the screw in pictures above. Forward limit screw or hold the ratchet assembly to machine? Thanks.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Thanks Irvin. I'll have to give it a closer look as I don't see how that screw would limit forward rotation. I can't find any official manuals, so I'll have to see what I can figure out.
Put your finger on that screw and push it forward you will see. The farther in (clockwise) the sooner the screw hits the stop, the farther out (counterclockwise) the farther the gripper travels and the more it closes.
 
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krisdrum

Semi-Pro
Put your finger on that screw and push it forward you will see. The farter in (clockwise) the sooner the screw hits the stop, the farther out the farther the gripper travels and closes.
Will give it a go tonight. Fingers crossed.
 

Wes

Professional
Bumping to see if anyone has thoughts on the use of the screw in pictures above. Forward limit screw or hold the ratchet assembly to machine? Thanks.
My call is... it holds the ratchet assembly - and does not limit the travel of the bar.

Now... I'm not familiar with that particular machine, however I too have trouble seeing how that screw is going to limit the travel of the tension bar.
On machines having the stop screw (that I spoke of previously), the screw is oriented perpendicular to the one that is shown in your photo.
Your screw is oriented vertically (and seems to function merely as a set screw for that larger bolt).

The screw, that I had referred to before, would be oriented horizontally (which then protrudes towards the actual rotational gripper itself).
Basically, the end of the screw enters a slot/channel that is sort of "C" shaped (on the backside of the rotational gripper assembly).
When the bar is all the way up, the screw comes to rest against one end of the "C" shaped channel (preventing it from coming down onto the mounted racquet).
When the bar is all the way down, the screw comes to rest against the other end of the "C" shaped channel (preventing it from going down too far, and likely hitting the table the machine is sitting on).

After you try Irvin's recommendation, report back to let us know how that went.
I hope, for your sake, that Irvin is right and that I am wrong.
 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
A couple of little things: if you don't want the "mounting" spots at the mid points of the head and throat to get scuffed up. Place some padding between the metal rod/screw and the frame; I use small spare pieces of leather. Also a starting clamp is very handy, aside from providing starting help, you can eventually do away with the starting knot as well if you want; I do it out of personal preference.
Happy stringing!
That's what the nylon spacers are for, the racket should never touch the metal.
 

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
Survey says... Wes gets a prize. Sorry Irvin and thanks for playing. ;)

So I took the entire assembly apart last night and discovered, there are actually 2 of those set screws. The one you see in pic and another inside the upright (plastic cap snaps off the top of upright). The "donut" is solid from where pictured, through the upright to the other side (and welded to the upright at several spots), where the assembly slots into it. The assembly itself has the "c channel" on the back of it, but nothing in place to capture it and stop the forward motion.

So I see 2 choices if I want to have the arm upright as a default. 1) Create a wooden "arm rest" as I originally planned (I've already measured and created a cardboard template to the shape and spec I want). 2) I could figure out where the "c channel" would need to stop to give me an upright arm, drill through the upright (it is hollow) and install a screw/bolt/pin at the right location.

I'm going to try option 1 first, as it is less invasive and easy to create. We are talking 5 more minutes of work.
 

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
Hooray! First racquet stringing in the books. Did it over this past weekend, but was at the Open yesterday, so haven't had time to post. Strung it Saturday, hit with it Sunday.

Overall the process was pretty painless.

Forgot to move the clamp a few times on the mains, so had to back a few strings off and re-tension once or twice. Did the same on the crosses once. Just learning the flow is how I account for that.

Weaving was slow, as I imagined it would be, but not to the point I wanted to give up and walk away. Probably took me about 1.5 hours to complete. Maybe 2, I wasn't watching the clock too closely.

I ran out of string on my last cross, and tried a few approaches to use a starting clamp to rectify, but none really worked. So my last cross has significantly less tension. Did the best I could. Need to re-examine fixes to that situation. I had plenty of tail at my other knots, so I am thinking I can probably get away with an extra 6 inches of cross string and avoid the too short scenario in the future.

I can definitely be more precise in my technique. I was shooting for 45lbs and RT gave me a 38lb reading right off the machine. Obviously I'd like to get a lot closer to reference tension. But overall, pretty satisfied with how my first go turned out.

It is a lot like a bicycle wheel (something I've also built). Pretty amazing to see these simple materials (a hoop with holes and some string or a hoop with holes, some bits of wire and a hub) turn into something far greater than the parts.
 

CosmosMpower

Hall of Fame
Congrats, you will get better and faster as you go. My first racquet or two took at least 1.5 hours and i'm down to about 40 minutes now after a dozen racquets experience so you will pick it up quickly.
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
If you strung 1 piece you can probably get away with 11' of string on the short side. A typical racquet with a typical 40' pack of string you should have PLENTY of string left.

Good job on finally jumping in. It will get easier and faster for sure.
 

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
Update: WTF am I doing wrong?

Strung 1 piece tonight, second racquet, everything seemed to go smoothly, although I am still struggling a bit with the process of starting mains with flying clamps. They don't seem to hold tension the way I think they should.

Was using RT of 57lbs on OGSheep 17g. Man, that stuff is stretchy (first job was with a poly). Lots of drawback. Ended up with DT of 38.8lbs according to RacquetTune. That seems like a HUGE discrepancy to me. What could I be doing wrong? Missing?

I did notice the racquet supports (2 point) on my machine are quite tall, causing a pretty aggressive angle down to the tension head. Could that be messing me up? Causing too much friction? It is especially noticeable on the center mains, as the supports are somewhat blocking an unencumbered path to the tension head. To the point I can't get a starting clamp on there under tension because the string is pinned up against the support.

The supports are replacements provided by Gamma due to the original support having a small crack/stress fracture. Side by side there is a significant difference in height, as I have both sets. Could I repair the shorter support and use that?

I'm at a loss and frustrated.
 

esgee48

Legend
Both frames came back at ~ 38# ? Is the weight positioned so that the edge nearest the frame set over 57#? If you position the weight's edge furthest from the frame over 57#, that's the wrong position for the weight.

You could also clamp closer to the frame and pull longer. Problem with stretchy strings is clamping too soon. If you clamp before the weight stops moving [or is not horizontal by a lot], your tension will be too low.

I guess you could try repairing the older support towers. If they're aluminum, don't know where. If they're steel, maybe a blacksmith or metal shop?

I am also not sure what you are talking about when you say DT of 38.8#. DT is expressed as kiloponds/cm, so your message does not make sense.
 

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
Both frames came back at ~ 38# ? Is the weight positioned so that the edge nearest the frame set over 57#? If you position the weight's edge furthest from the frame over 57#, that's the wrong position for the weight.

You could also clamp closer to the frame and pull longer. Problem with stretchy strings is clamping too soon. If you clamp before the weight stops moving [or is not horizontal by a lot], your tension will be too low.

I guess you could try repairing the older support towers. If they're aluminum, don't know where. If they're steel, maybe a blacksmith or metal shop?

I am also not sure what you are talking about when you say DT of 38.8#. DT is expressed as kiloponds/cm, so your message does not make sense.
Thanks esgee. I think I addressed all your suggestions appropriately while stringing. Sorry for confusing concepts. Thought DT was measured tension.

No, first job was RT of 45, measured tension (according to RacquetTune) of 37.4 with Volkl V-Torque Tour 16g (poly) and I strung it 2 piece. Last night's frame was 1 piece with RT of 57, measured tension of 38.8 with OGSheep 17g.

The weight is properly positioned with the edge of the weight closest to the racquet at the hash-mark of the desired tension.

They are the big bulky plastic clamps, so I try to get them as close to the frame as possible, but that can be a challenge.

I did try to take my time and pull longer, as it became quickly apparent how stretchy OGSheep was compared to a poly, but maybe I could have gone even longer.

Luckily I want to re-string another frame tomorrow, so I am going to try it with the old support towers instead. The crack is pretty minor and original owner says he used it without issue.

Here is a pic of the (from left to right) old support tower, new support tower and height of the tension head relative to both. The new tower is a good 2+ inches taller than the old.

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOCfcgaZRCVPh1bFqbMRjhF4zbtQ1Lf__XNz_LSWPZcrhT73vFa1e_L0DlxYRkfIQ?key=dkFkOHhyU0lsVkMyTmhJWDlEcnM3UklJN3pOUVB3
 
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gmatheis

Hall of Fame
Update: WTF am I doing wrong?

Strung 1 piece tonight, second racquet, everything seemed to go smoothly, although I am still struggling a bit with the process of starting mains with flying clamps. They don't seem to hold tension the way I think they should.

Was using RT of 57lbs on OGSheep 17g. Man, that stuff is stretchy (first job was with a poly). Lots of drawback. Ended up with DT of 38.8lbs according to RacquetTune. That seems like a HUGE discrepancy to me. What could I be doing wrong? Missing?

I did notice the racquet supports (2 point) on my machine are quite tall, causing a pretty aggressive angle down to the tension head. Could that be messing me up? Causing too much friction? It is especially noticeable on the center mains, as the supports are somewhat blocking an unencumbered path to the tension head. To the point I can't get a starting clamp on there under tension because the string is pinned up against the support.

The supports are replacements provided by Gamma due to the original support having a small crack/stress fracture. Side by side there is a significant difference in height, as I have both sets. Could I repair the shorter support and use that?

I'm at a loss and frustrated.
Couple of images that may help (or may not) :)

This is how I checked for slippage. pull tension, clamp off, place a small piece of scotch tape on the string as shown, release tension and see if it moves away from the clamp.

 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
Thanks esgee. I think I addressed all your suggestions appropriately while stringing. Sorry for confusing concepts. Thought DT was measured tension.

No, first job was RT of 45, measured tension (according to RacquetTune) of 37.4 with Volkl V-Torque Tour 16g (poly) and I strung it 2 piece. Last night's frame was 1 piece with RT of 57, measured tension of 38.8 with OGSheep 17g.

The weight is properly positioned with the edge of the weight closest to the racquet at the hash-mark of the desired tension.

They are the big bulky plastic clamps, so I try to get them as close to the frame as possible, but that can be a challenge.

I did try to take my time and pull longer, as it became quickly apparent how stretchy OGSheep was compared to a poly, but maybe I could have gone even longer.

Luckily I want to re-string another frame tomorrow, so I am going to try it with the old support towers instead. The crack is pretty minor and original owner says he used it without issue.

Here is a pic of the (from left to right) old support tower, new support tower and height of the tension head relative to both. The new tower is a good 2+ inches taller than the old.

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOCfcgaZRCVPh1bFqbMRjhF4zbtQ1Lf__XNz_LSWPZcrhT73vFa1e_L0DlxYRkfIQ?key=dkFkOHhyU0lsVkMyTmhJWDlEcnM3UklJN3pOUVB3
With the taller towers you will lose tension due to the angle from the racquet to the tensioner, due to the friction. Greater the angle, greater the friction.
 

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
Couple of images that may help (or may not) :)
Thanks, we are good on where to read the tension. Edge of weight closest to racquet when mounted.

I'll give the tape trick a try. Maybe the clamps are slipping a bit.

Yeah, didn't notice the angle on my first job, but definitely noticed it last night. I think the taller tower is definitely part of the problem.
 

esgee48

Legend
True statement about the height of the towers. That downward angle means significant tension losses. Don't know if OP can raise the height of the tower that the ratchet is attached to. If it is bolted on, some small metal spacers may suffice. But longer bolts will be required too.

Before stringing, I wipe down the frame with a waxy cleaner (Amour All) to remove dirt, gunk and add protection to the plastic grommets.

Instead of using scotch tape, I previously used a sharpie to make little mark where you put the tape. Haven't done it for years, but that mark is easier to clean off than trying to remove tape. :)
 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
True statement about the height of the towers. That downward angle means significant tension losses. Don't know if OP can raise the height of the tower that the ratchet is attached to. If it is bolted on, some small metal spacers may suffice. But longer bolts will be required too.

Before stringing, I wipe down the frame with a waxy cleaner (Amour All) to remove dirt, gunk and add protection to the plastic grommets.

Instead of using scotch tape, I previously used a sharpie to make little mark where you put the tape. Haven't done it for years, but that mark is easier to clean off than trying to remove tape. :)
I used to use the marker, but tape is actually easier (especially on black strings) ... you don't wrap it around or anything ... just lay it on the string.
 

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
True statement about the height of the towers. That downward angle means significant tension losses. Don't know if OP can raise the height of the tower that the ratchet is attached to. If it is bolted on, some small metal spacers may suffice. But longer bolts will be required too.
I'll look tonight to see if the tower tension head is on could be adjusted up. If memory serves it is welded to base, but worth checking.
 

Tennis_Monk

Hall of Fame
Couple of images that may help (or may not) :)

This is how I checked for slippage. pull tension, clamp off, place a small piece of scotch tape on the string as shown, release tension and see if it moves away from the clamp.

This picture is very helpful. I have an alpha pioneer dc plus. So far I’m putting the weight the other way round. Basically the tightener is towards the top and the little circle is also towards top. I guess my tension is probably off by a bit
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
This picture is very helpful. I have an alpha pioneer dc plus. So far I’m putting the weight the other way round. Basically the tightener is towards the top and the little circle is also towards top. I guess my tension is probably off by a bit
That would depend on which side of the weight your reading the tension. Where the knob is probably does not matter.
 

Tennis_Monk

Hall of Fame
That would depend on which side of the weight your reading the tension. Where the knob is probably does not matter.
Thank you. So regardless of how I place the weight, if I read tension towards bottom side ( the one closer to hinge), I’m good?
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
If the weight is on backwards you will be off about the weight of the knob. But you could be off that much normally.
 

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
Update: getting closer & lessons learned

Strung another last night. 1 piece.

Tested the clamps as @gmatheis described. I WAS getting slippage. Stupid me hadn't considered the clamps needed adjustment. I was focused on getting a good pull, not what was holding the tension in between pulls. Lesson learned.

The shorter mounting towers are NOT an option. The put the racquet much lower, to the point where the grip is just barely above the tension head, making it tough to ratchet and tough to get the flying clamps under the center mains. More importantly the "small crack" reveals its true nature when the tower is mounted. It runs the entire length of the mount at the edge of the "tunnel" that fits on the swivel bar. Putting tension on the mounting screws widened the crack. I did gingerly attempt to use it, but didn't get very far before it started to deform more and I immediately backed off tension and switched to the high towers.

Confirmed the tension head height is not adjustable, the upright it is mounted to is welded to the base. I would have to DIY something to change the height.

Also confirmed using the "Yusuki method" to start the mains (using a starting clamp and pulling both center mains at same time) is not possible with the higher towers. The angle is just too much and I can't properly mount the starting clamp.

So I think I have no choice but to use the basic "flying clamp on both center mains, mounted in middle of length" for starting my mains. Lesson learned... unless someone can suggest another method.

Also noticed my SS outside main is significantly looser than the LS outside main (that then becomes my top cross). Besides using the SS to also weave the top cross, is there any way to address this tension loss? if not, is it worth the risk?

On a positive note... my weaving is getting better (I was also using a very flexible string - Forten Sweet 16, so I had help). And I'm getting closer to RT when I measure tension with RacTune. I was aiming for 57, measured out at 50.6 right off the machine and the string bed felt much tighter and had a more consistent feel across the surface. I'm sure more appropriately adjusted clamps contributed most of this improvement.
 

buckeye_man18

New User
Sounds like you might've been better off just buying a new, lower-level dropweight, rather than buying used. I know different people have different budgets, but as a noob, I recently sprung for the Gamma X-6FC which has 6 point mounting and fixed clamps. No regrets whatsoever about the extra cost. I almost wish I had sprung for the ST II. Anyway, sounds like you are figuring it out. Congrats. It's a rewarding new skill to learn.
 

krisdrum

Semi-Pro
Sounds like you might've been better off just buying a new, lower-level dropweight, rather than buying used. I know different people have different budgets, but as a noob, I recently sprung for the Gamma X-6FC which has 6 point mounting and fixed clamps. No regrets whatsoever about the extra cost. I almost wish I had sprung for the ST II. Anyway, sounds like you are figuring it out. Congrats. It's a rewarding new skill to learn.
Yeah, in hindsight I would have gone with something I knew more about, like a Klippermate, that has a solid track record. But I also didn't want to spend a lot if I eventually figured out it wasn't for me.

I am definitely wishing for fixed clamps. Maybe a 6 point mount. I might spring for a set of Stringway floating clamps, we'll see. But it is all good and fun and a learning opportunity, so no regrets diving in the way I did.
 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
Yeah, in hindsight I would have gone with something I knew more about, like a Klippermate, that has a solid track record. But I also didn't want to spend a lot if I eventually figured out it wasn't for me.

I am definitely wishing for fixed clamps. Maybe a 6 point mount. I might spring for a set of Stringway floating clamps, we'll see. But it is all good and fun and a learning opportunity, so no regrets diving in the way I did.
keep learning on the machine you have, but keep an eye on craigslist and facebook marketplace for a deal on a better machine. If you are patient eventually a really good deal will pop up.
 

NuBas

Legend
Never strung a racquet before and really noob question but regardless of racquets as long as you know how to string a racquet that is 16x19 pattern then you can do it on all racquets that are 16x19? Also please tell me if I am correct as I noticed a few 16x19 racquets the mains go 1-6 then skip one hole to 7 and skip another hole to 8. And for the crosses starting from center 1-8 going up skip one hole to 9th string skip another whole to 10th string and going down its 1-7, skip one whole to 8 and skip another to last string 9th?

Thx
 

esgee48

Legend
Not all 16x19 patterns string up the same way. It all depends on what the manufacturer instructions says (or what is marked on the frame.) KlipperMate has sets of instructions by frame. The manufactuers have the same instructions by frame. The USRSA has it for most frames ever made including some really weird ones like odd number mains.
 

NuBas

Legend
Hey everyone is there a quicker way to check the weaves cause I find myself literally checking under/over with my previous weave and its time consuming having to check each and every time I weave another cross, is there a quick way to make sure you didn't do a mis-weave?
 
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