Entry Level Stringing Machine - Any recommendations?

flaspur

Rookie
I'm considering getting my own stringing machine just for home use, mainly due to recent elbow issues causing me to try various strings at various tensions to find my ideal set up to help the recovery process.

Getting my sticks constantly restrung is getting expensive with changing tensions, gauges etc so I'm thinking, why not get a stringing machine for home use. It'll get plenty of use and I could do a few restrings as a side line.

Can anyone recommend a good entry level machine that is good quality, fairly easy to learn how to use, good for tennis rackets and will last a good few years?

I don't know where to start. Will most likely try to find a used one on the auction sites.
 

idono1301

Semi-Pro
It depends on what your budget is.

I do recommend going with a machine that has fixed clamps. I can elaborate after hearing what your budget is :)
 

Wes

Hall of Fame
What's the importance of fixed clamps btw?

Fixed clamps tend to be more enjoyable to work with and less "fiddly" in general since you clamp only one string at a time, rather than clamping two strings to one another.

Additionally, each time you release tension (from the tension head), fixed clamps do not twist like flying clamps do. Hence, they result in less drawback and more accurate tension.

Also, potentially less marring of the strings with fixed clamps since the number of clamping points on the strings are fewer.

Fixed clamps are usually nice and smooth. Generally easier and faster.
 

ARKustom93

Professional
the alpha DC plus is a great investment. udner $500 and has fixed clamps.

I bought that about ten years ago, pretty solid machine, chose it over the comparable Gamma mostly because of the gripper. Very precise, and easy to work with; so far no complaints.

That said, I did modify/'improve' a couple of mechanical details, including switching to the Gamma All-Metal clamps(Alpha clamps, not so happening in terms of quality and design).

I string both for personal use and for my students as well as a few of the pros I work with, and would recommend that machine. Whatever model you end up choosing, you should definitely go with a fixed-clamp design, and preferably 6pt-mounting, which significantly reduces distortion/frame stress during the stringing process.
 
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The OP said his budget his around $500, so what Prince neos is available at that price?

At entry level, drop weight or crank would be fine, and especially at around that price range.

I started off with a Gamma X-2, which is cheap and easy to use. It may take longer than crank... but they are still very good.

Perhaps if you were looking for fixed clamps, you can go for the Gamma Progression II 602 FC.
 

flaspur

Rookie
The cheapest Prince Neos I can find here in the UK is the 1000 £1,349.95 which is $2000 so that's way out of reach on my budget!

The Alphas and Gammas are also hard to find over here. I'm most likely to go for a Pro's Pro Pilot but yet to hear any feedback on this.

Anyone own one?
 

Bluenose62

New User
The cheapest Prince Neos I can find here in the UK is the 1000 £1,349.95 which is $2000 so that's way out of reach on my budget!

The Alphas and Gammas are also hard to find over here. I'm most likely to go for a Pro's Pro Pilot but yet to hear any feedback on this.

Anyone own one?

I'm fairly new to stringing and purchased one for the same reasons you stated. I ended up with Pro's Pro XP Plus machine, I think new they are £384, but I picked up one that had only done 10 racquets for £240 off ****, and I'm really pleased with it, and find it easy to use.
 

pyk64

New User
Newbie Stringer...

Earlier this spring I purchased a well used Alpha Axis. Constantly fiddling with it, but appreciate the features that it has to offer. If I had to do it again, I'd get another machine with similar features, but would want some type of spring assisted base clamps. Paid $200 USD, but would've paid more for a more updated clamping system. Hindsight you know.
- Spring assisted base clamps (fixed clamps).
- Hand crank tensioning (think it's easier than dropweight)
- Easily adjustable clamps. Mine is an old version where you need an allen wrench to adjust it)
- 6 point mounting system
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
The OP said his budget his around $500, so what Prince neos is available at that price?

At entry level, drop weight or crank would be fine, and especially at around that price range.

I started off with a Gamma X-2, which is cheap and easy to use. It may take longer than crank... but they are still very good.

Perhaps if you were looking for fixed clamps, you can go for the Gamma Progression II 602 FC.

A used one. That's exactly what I paid for mine in 2009. You probably will not easily find one at that price, at least I did not, but if you watch multiple craigslist sites in your area they will sometimes pop up. You might want to look in the TT want ads too to see if anything local is being offered in there.

I love my Neos and do recommend it but there is something to be said for first going with a true entry-level machine like an X2 or a Klippermate. I used a Klippermate for over 4 years before I even started looking to upgrade and then took several months to find and buy the used Neos I wanted.
 

struggle

Legend
The pros pro challenger you asked about in the other thread would be a fine option if you are toO eager to wait on a better used machine.

You can always upgrade later and I honestly think stringing on a "slower" machine helps one learn the ropes, so to speak.
 
The OP said his budget his around $500, so what Prince neos is available at that price?

At entry level, drop weight or crank would be fine, and especially at around that price range.

I started off with a Gamma X-2, which is cheap and easy to use. It may take longer than crank... but they are still very good.

Perhaps if you were looking for fixed clamps, you can go for the Gamma Progression II 602 FC.

In the US, you could find a used one for $500. Even if one has minor issues, they are very easy to maintain and get working right. Not a lot of stuff that can go wrong. Biggest things are the clamps....make sure they are in working order. I have an Ektelon H I bought new in 1993. I use it occasionally and it still works like a champ. Probably 10.000 racquets strung on it. Now in the UK or Europe, I am not sure if the price of a new Prince Neos would be more expensive than here, which would obvsiouly drive the used prices up. I would go with a stringer that is NOT dropweight and has fixed clamps. Neos, Gamma, or Alpha.
 
Very tough to get that brand over here in the UK. Pro's Pro seems to be the most common but I've seen mixed reviews of those machines on here.



The OP said his budget his around $500, so what Prince neos is available at that price?

At entry level, drop weight or crank would be fine, and especially at around that price range.

He (OP) stated that a new Neos goes for $2K over there, so finding a used one for $500 is a long shot at best I would think. Not impossible, but in my mind it's not a reasonable suggestion since he'd be looking a very long time to come across a deal of that sort.

flaspur, you can find some good advice on these boards at times, but there's also a lot of garbage. People tend to recommend what "they" like without taking into consideration what is practical, feasible, or even reasonable with regard to the one seeking advice/feedback.

I would never buy a dropweight machine for myself, but given your budget and the fact that you seem to want to string for yourself (not start a home business), a dropweight machine will suit your needs just fine. You won't max out your budget, which will allow you to buy string.

On the other hand, the Pros Pro Pilot "looks" like a decent machine - fixed clamps, crank, 6-pt mounting, a brake...looks decent. The four reviews on the Racquet Depot site (UK) give it five stars with two of those reviewers touting excellent customer support from the site.

Bottom line: ANY machine is better than no machine, so pick one and go for it.
 
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pmata814

Professional
Those pro's pro machines on the UK racquet depot site look very similiar to the alpha machines. The challenger one looks like the alpha DC plus and the pilot looks like the Revo 4000. They both have 5 star reviews and theyre at a great price. If i were in ur position i'd roll the dice on one of those. Besides, they offer one year warranty so you can't lose.
 
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struggle

Legend
Those pro's pro machines on the UK racquet depot site look very similiar to the alpha machines. The challenger one looks like the alpha DC plus and the pilot looks like the Revo 4000. They both have 5 star reviews and theyre at a great price. If i were in ur position i'd roll the dice on one of those. Besides, they offer one year warranty so you can't lose.

yes, i think they are the same as alpha and eagnas (but with better customer support than eagnas of course).

i agree, i'd go that route considering the OP's budget/position.
 
Since the original post is about saving some money on string jobs for home use, it seems like just getting the cheapest used stringer is the way to go -- at least is was for me. I picked up a used gamma x-2 for $100. I am sure that my string jobs are not as exact as a professional with a better machine and I certainly had a learning curve. I'd suggest buying some racquets at goodwill and the cheapest strings -- where is that weed wacker! -- you can find to get started. That said, at this point I can sit down in the evening, crack open a beer or two and string a racquet in an hour and a half. When I am done I know that it is consistent with the previous stringing I did at the same tension. For what the OP wanted, this seems good enough.

I'd like a locking mechanism on the machine so that dealing with the Prince open grommet thing could be easier and I can see why the klippermate's lack of a ratcheting system on the dropweight is an oversight I am glad the X2 did not make. For me the locking claps seems more like a time/professionalism thing that for my own sticks (just doing one every so often) is not a big issue (although it might be a deal breaker if you wanted to try to actually make money stringing).
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
I'd like a locking mechanism on the machine so that dealing with the Prince open grommet thing could be easier and I can see why the klippermate's lack of a ratcheting system on the dropweight is an oversight I am glad the X2 did not make. For me the locking claps seems more like a time/professionalism thing that for my own sticks (just doing one every so often) is not a big issue (although it might be a deal breaker if you wanted to try to actually make money stringing).

With a starting clamp one can use the 50-50 method on Prince O-port frames. IMO it's better than using a brake (I have a good geared tooth brake on my 6004 but I use the 50/50 method instead).
 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
With a starting clamp one can use the 50-50 method on Prince O-port frames. IMO it's better than using a brake (I have a good geared tooth brake on my 6004 but I use the 50/50 method instead).

I use the 50/50 method also .... it's really easy.

You don't even need a starting clamp, your flying clamp can be used as a starting clamp, just remember to put the tail end of the string in the clamp also as it's meant to clamp 2 strings at once.
 

flaspur

Rookie
Thanks for all the advice and insight guys. I managed to pick up a used Pro's Pro XP Plus with 100m of Luxilon Big Banger and Toalson Syn gut, plus all tools for £200 which is a steal. I've strung my first racket one piece with it and it was pretty straightforward. Made a few of the usual schoolboy errors along the way but it was just a test run on a stick I don't use and the end result was pretty respectable.

It's such an easy machine to use. I've even adjusted the crank to brake correctly once tension is reached and have a tension calibrator on order to get it all set up to perfection. Once that's all done, I'll be restringing one of my main sticks with a hybrid set up of multi crosses and poly mains. Really enjoyed my first string job and it's a great machine.

So thanks for all your input as it was a great help choosing the right machine with fixed clamps, six point mounting system and a crank based tensioner.

If my day job goes all wrong, I might become a stringer full time haha!
 

pmata814

Professional
Congrats! From the picture i found on the bay it looks like an axis pro but with the turntable of the revo 4000. Looks great in red too. Enjoy! :)
 

flaspur

Rookie
Yes, I'm very pleased with mine, def good value for money. Would be even better with a Wise Electronic tension head on it. This is what I'm considering doing with mine.

Yep, if I knew I would use it often, I would be tempted to but it's only for home use so a well calibrated crank will do me just fine.
 

jmc3367

Rookie
I have a Prince Neos 1000. Like one guy said it's the Honda Accord of machines. I do my rackets and a couple of others. I bought it in almost new condition for $600 with several sets of pliers and cutters. I have really enjoyed it. I would say I have broke even on it in about 6mo. No regrets
 

max

Legend
I have a Prince Neos 1000. Like one guy said it's the Honda Accord of machines. I do my rackets and a couple of others. I bought it in almost new condition for $600 with several sets of pliers and cutters. I have really enjoyed it. I would say I have broke even on it in about 6mo. No regrets

Sounds like a great deal. I bought my Kmate at the factory in Elgin (wanted to see the place, actually) and bought a "second' (the decal was misaligned!) for $125. Having used it (and much enjoyed it!) I think if I ran into a deal like yours I would've spent the extra bucks. . . I mean, a machine should last a lifetime, so you really can amortize the expense, and I imagine the Neos to be more fun to play with.
 

vrx46

New User
In my personal opinion i would get a professional level machine, You can find them fairly cheap. Just look around, I would recommend an Ektelon or Prince, very basic setup that won't give you any hassles and they are the BEST machines out there. you can find a noes for around 300$
 

deebees

Rookie
Just recently made a thread on the Klipper asking a few questions about it and in the end did end up buying one. I must say that for a beginner (I knew NOTHING about stringing) the KM is great. The instruction manual it comes with is very good. Step by step details are given from start to end. Of course it's not the fastest machine ever, but for a beginner it's exactly what I was looking for.
 

max

Legend
deebees, I have to confess: as much as I LOVE stringing, I just mostly string only for myself. The Kmate really just fits the bill there. . . even though a much more expensive machine would be fun to play around with!

I found that the string jaw gripper works fast for me: of course, I use the same racquet and string all the time, so it all goes pretty easy.
 

deebees

Rookie
deebees, I have to confess: as much as I LOVE stringing, I just mostly string only for myself. The Kmate really just fits the bill there. . . even though a much more expensive machine would be fun to play around with!

I found that the string jaw gripper works fast for me: of course, I use the same racquet and string all the time, so it all goes pretty easy.

I agree! A more expensive machine would be fun.... but I didn't see spending the cash on one for me to learn on. The KM was a great purchase and I know it will last me a while..
 

TLB

New User
http://www.tennispro.eu/catalog/mac...chine-manuelle/machine-a-corder-cb10-pro.html

This is what I have, a "cb10 pro stringing machine".
It is absolutely identical to the gamma progression 2 with Fixed Clamps (I think it's just rebranded), and it's rock solid...and close to your budget.

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Gam...FC_Stringing_Machine/descpageGAMMA-602FC.html
I'm looking at buying the CB10 with floating clamps and you are the only person who has said anything about the TennisPro CB brand.

Any other comments on the machine? Are you still happy with it?

If you know where I can find some reviews please let me know.

Thanks
 

TLB

New User
I'm trying to decide between the TennisPro CB10 and the Stringway ML90 T92 TH. It's my first machine and I'm having trouble deciding if I should spend the extra money.

Any help would be great.
Thanks
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
I'm trying to decide between the TennisPro CB10 and the Stringway ML90 T92 TH. It's my first machine and I'm having trouble deciding if I should spend the extra money.

Any help would be great.
Thanks
Big difference between those machines. I would not consider the Stringway an entry level machine.

Where are you and what machines are available at what cost?
 

swizzy

Hall of Fame
my gamma x2 has performed slowly but flawlessly for 6 years..has paid for itself 10 times now..
 

TLB

New User
Big difference between those machines. I would not consider the Stringway an entry level machine.

Where are you and what machines are available at what cost?

I know there is a big difference between the two. I'm just trying to figure out if I should spend the extra money, Stringway is double the price. I have done a lot of searching on this site and I think I just need to decide how much I want to spend.

I'm in Europe and you can get almost everything here, but I haven't seen Gamma or Prince machines. I have to say though, I'm not really a good reference.

This machine looks so much like the Gamma. I'm just a little hesitant to buy it because I haven't been able to find any reviews on it.

cb10.jpg
 

struggle

Legend
I know there is a big difference between the two. I'm just trying to figure out if I should spend the extra money, Stringway is double the price. I have done a lot of searching on this site and I think I just need to decide how much I want to spend.

I'm in Europe and you can get almost everything here, but I haven't seen Gamma or Prince machines. I have to say though, I'm not really a good reference.

This machine looks so much like the Gamma. I'm just a little hesitant to buy it because I haven't been able to find any reviews on it.

cb10.jpg

It's a Gamma, just rebranded. Or shall we say, they are the same.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Stringways are nice and you can start with floating clamps and upgrade to fixed clamps later on.

Keep in mind though the Stringway racquet mounts can get in the way of of the machine clamps when trying to clamp the first/last crosses on some frames. Frames where these crosses are closer to the head/throat (quite a few Prince frames I string had this issue). You'll need a floating clamp in addition to the fixed clamps for these. Check this thread out (Wilson BLX Tour 90):

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=411989

Since you're in Europe, why not have a look at Pro's Pro machines? The reviews seem generally positive and they've been around a while.
 
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