Gamma X-ELS Review With Pictures and Details

AndI

Rookie
This review is applicable to both, Gamma X-ELS and Gamma Progression II ELS. These are identical machines, with only difference that Progression has a red base without side drawers while X-ELS has a blue aluminum base with two small side drawers for tools. All essential for stringing parts and components are identical. Price is the same. Everything written in this review applies to Progression II ELS, except discussion of the size of the drawers.

I received my new Gamma X-ELS today. Since information on this machine (beyond manufacturer's description) is fairly limited, I decided, for community's benefit, provide details which go beyond the standard description.

Please have patience, it will take me a few days to finish the write-up and upload pictures. There will be several consecutive posts.

I got this machine today, unboxed it just 2-3 hours ago, so in this post I am sharing the very first impressions, which will without doubt be forgotten and replaced with more substantial impressions further down the road. I am writing them down before I forget them because, as we all know, the first impression is oftentimes important. Pictures will come later.

1. ORDERING PROCESS.

Order was placed through Tennis Warehouse, $1199 for the machine with free shipment. The machine was ordered on August 23. I expected that it will be a drop shipment from the manufacturer, and it was. Despite the note on TW site that the machine was "In Stock", it turned out to be backordered. TW send me an update on Aug 24 that it was scheduled to ship on Sept 8. There was no further communications, but unexpectedly the box arrived on September 7, earlier than expected. No complaints here. Gamma did not do a good job communicating the ship date nor did they send the tracking number. Oh well... Good that we were not out of town when the package showed up.

The price was almost the same everywhere, those online retailers who offered a lower price would offset it by charging for shipment, so I went with the TW. TW has excellent customer service and I like them.

2. BOX SIZE AND WEIGHT.

The machine arrived via UPS. Carton size was Length: 37.5", W=17.5", H=17.5", weight indicated on UPS label was 52 Lbs. The box says "Made in Taiwan", Gross Weight 23.9 kg, Net Weight 21.2 kg.

Hence, the weight of the machine itself is 21.2 kg.

3. UNBOXING.

The machine arrived completely assembled, with the exception of separately packed clamps which just slide into the bases and four feet which are screwed into the base. It was neatly packed with Styrofoam. I will post some pictures in the next couple of days.

4. MANUAL.

Manual is almost OK - but really, Gamma could have done a better job. What do you do when you get a new sophisticated tool out of the box? You look in the manual for assembly instructions, to make sure that you do everything that needs to be done before turning it on. You expect that you might need to attach some parts and perhaps tighten some bolts. The manual has nothing on it. This is not rocket science of course, you open all plastic bags and by trial, error, and with the help of a parts diagram eventually figure out what they are and where they go. It is not hard to find how to attach legs and where the clamps go, but is it hard to include a "getting started" two-page leaflet with well documented assembly instructions and with a list of what is in the box?

Let me elaborate why I brought this up as a concern. As you will see from the pictures which I will post later, this machine comes with a bunch of tools and multiple plastic spare parts which for me, a totally inexperienced aspiring stringer, initially made no sense. I had no idea what these parts are and if they should be installed on the machine somewhere, or put in storage. Also, the extensive selection of allen wrenches implies the possibility that I may need to use them for some purpose before turning on the machine.

The manual has "assembly instructions" on page 2 where it is explained how to remove transportation screw and install clamps. It does not describe how to install legs, which brings up the possibility that they may have forgotten to describe some other necessary steps.

To be fair, aside from assembly, all functions of the machine are adequately and concisely described.

5. STORAGE SIZE.

This was an important question for me before purchasing - how much room do I need to store it away from the focal point in the room. Will it fit on a shelf? Can I make space for it in the garage?

Here are the storage dimensions: Length 35 3/4", Height 14 1/2", Depth 14".

6. FIRST IMPRESSIONS FROM UNPACKING.

The first positive impressions (before even using the machines, only from unpacking) are two.

First of all, the machine looks nice, shiny, and high tech. It does have a professional feel and look. It makes impression of a fairly serious tool. Not a space age Babolat Star, not a Wilson Baiardo with its style clearly touched by a professional designer, it does not have quite that impressive look, but it still has a look of a high tech, functional, and professional tool, with all those shiny parts, buttons, and LED lights.

The second positive impression is that it came with more accessories and tools than I expected from the manufacturer's description available on TW and all other retailers which sell this machine. As luck has it, since flush cutter was not on the list of included tools, so I ordered a Xuron one from elsewhere... just to find that a flush cutter actually did come with the machine. Also, bent needle nose pliers were not in the factory description, but the did come with the tool. While writing this review, I discovered that description on Gamma web site is shorter, but more accurate. It lists all included tools correctly.

The first negative impressions are also two, fairly minor.

Gosh, this thing stinks! Seriously. Out of the box, it had a heavy rubber-like smell. I found that the most smelly part was a rubber tray liner. I temporarily moved it into the garage until the smell wears out. I was impressed by the amount of outgassing from it - a couple of hours later, the smell in the garage was akin the smell which is usual when new tires are installed on a car. There are several other rubber parts on the machine which also have some level of smell, but to a much lesser degree.

The second "first impression" was kind of a disappointment with the storage space. This is the case when reality did not meet the expectations derived from pictures on the web. In pictures, I really liked the two storage bins which slide into the base. This was the main reason why I opted for X-ELS instead of almost identical (except shape and material of the base and lack of drawers) Progression II ELS. Well, it turned out that these drawers are quite tiny. They are only 10 inches long, 1 inch deep and about 3 1/4" wide. They are too small to hold all the tools that came with the machine and all those spare parts for the clamps. In fact, at least one of the tools (a T-shaped hex wrench) would not even fit inside of these drawers since it is wider than the drawer.

I think Gamma's reasoning was that these tools were only intended for storage of basic stringing tools which came with the machine, with perhaps one or two additional ones. For these tools only, trays are sufficient. But there is no way to store in them all other tools and accessories provided with the machine. They have to be stored elsewhere. This, in a way, defeats the purpose of the drawers because if I need to get a tool box for spare parts and accessories, I can as well store my stringing tools there.

7. COMMENT ON THE "ART OF PACKAGING"


Back in the early 1990s, I very much liked the way how Dell packaged their computers, with "getting started" sheet on top. I never needed it, but I thought it was a great idea for first time users. Apple took the art of packaging to the new level. The reason is clear, if the customer enjoys the process of unpacking, if everything he needs is in clear sight, this increases the perceived value of the product and helps to get rid of buyers remorse. Apple had to do it to be able to charge a hefty premium for their product. This trend is getting more and more standard, recently I got a USB hub which was packaged like an Apple product! This leaves a lasting impression and really helps to get up and running.

Gamma is still in the 1980s with their presentation and packaging. They do nothing to make the first impression positive and memorable. They do nothing to help their customers to get started quickly and easily. No getting started sheet, no list of included accessories, incomplete assembly instruction, out of date version of the manual - it just does not sound right. Don't get me wrong, first impressions from the tool itself are all positive (about this later), it is just it is not a $50 purchase and we are no longer in the 1980s. First impression does matter.

(to be continued)
 
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gmatheis

Hall of Fame
The double tool drawers on the 5800 made me laugh as well. I was able to fit the hex wrench, barely, kind of angled and slanted with the handle on the machine side.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I'm enjoying my 5800, and post those pics :)
 

AndI

Rookie
OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION AND SPECIFICATIONS PROVIDED BY GAMMA ON THEIR WEB SITE

It is a correct and accurate desctiption, but it is very short and leaves out some important parameters such as weight and size. The words "WEB SITE" in the first line are a clickable llink which will take you to the Gamma web site.

I copied it over for the sake of completeness of this discussion.


• Digital control panel for +/- tension adjustment, 9 memory settings, lbs/kgs, pulling speed, pre-stretch, knot function and internal diagnostic check
• Electronically controlled constant pull tensioner (11.0 to 90.0 lbs / 5.0 to 40.0 kgs in 0.1 increments)
• 110 / 220 volt compatible
• 6-Point Quick Mount System w/”V” Mounts
• Quick Action Swivel Clamp Bases
• Slim profile all metal diamond coated string clamps with a unique self-locking adjustment knob to hold strings with less clamping pressure
• Diamond coated, rotational string gripper
• 360 degree turntable rotation with locking brake
• Strong, light-weight aluminum extrusion base with built-in tool tray and drawers
• Includes Tools (Pathfinder Awl, Straight Awl, Hex Wrench Set, Straight Pliers, Bent Nose Pliers & Diagonal Cutter)
• Optional foot pedal switch for “Hands Free” operation
• Floor Stand & Custom Cover available separately
• 5 Year Limited Warranty / 1 Year Electronics (call for details)

Unit
Each

Mounting System
6-Point
 
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AndI

Rookie
DESCRIPTION AND SPECIFICATION POSTED ON TENNIS WAREHOUSE WEB SITE

As of morning of Sept 8, TW does not appear to offer Gamma X-ELS through their web site. It was listed there the day before. Not sure if it is a web site maintenance and the link will be live again soon, or this machine is no longer available through TW, or if it is now so much backordered that TW cannot accept orders until Gamma gets more of these machines in stock.

The description below is copied from TW description of almost identical Gamma Progression II ELS. Essentially the same description is used across all online retailers, for both X-ELS and Progression II ELS.

Update Sept 19, 2017. The machine is back in stock at Gamma, and it is again available on TW web site. Here is the link: http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Gamma_X-ELS_Stringing_Machine_/descpageGAMMA-XELS.html

I highlighted in red those lines which are not entirely accurate, as of Sept 8, 2017. It is possible that they were copied over rom the first or second revision of this machine (the current revision is #3A, dated 2014).



  • Electric constant pull tensioner (9 to 90 lb / 4 to 43 kg)
  • Digital control panel for +/- tension adjustment, 9 memory settings, lbs/kgs, pulling speed, pre-stretch, knot function and internal diagnostic check
  • 6-Point Quick Mount Support System
  • Slim profile all metal diamond coated string clamps with a unique self locking adjustment knob to hold strings with less clamping pressure.
  • Quick Action Swivel Clamp Bases
  • Diamond coated, rotational string gripper
  • 360 degree turntable rotation with locking brake
  • Base w/ 64 sq. in. tool tray
  • 110 / 220 volt compatible
  • Optional floor stand & cover (Sold separately)
  • Starter String Pack of 3 FREE sets of Gamma performance string
  • USRSA Getting Started Stringing Guide
  • Tools Included: Pathfinder Awl, Straight Awl, Hex Wrench Set, Straight Pliers.
 
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AndI

Rookie
MY DESCRIPTION AND SPECIFICATIONS

This list is derived from the manual, from what I can measure, and from what I see included in the box.

DIMENSIONS: Length 35.75", Height 14" without feet, about 14.5" with feet, Depth 14".
WEIGHT: 21.2 kg / 46.7 Lbs

Shipping carton dimensions: L 37.5", W: 17.5", H: 17.5"
Shipping Weight: 23.9 kg / 52 Lbs

  • Electronically controlled constant pull tensioner with 11.0 to 90.0 Lbs tension range and adjustment steps of 0.1 Lbs.
  • Lbs/kg switch option. The range in kg is from 5 to 40.9 kg with step of 0.1 kg.
  • Digital tension settings with blue LED display and blue and white LEDs on the panel.
  • Mechanical buttons for adjustment of tension (in steps of +/- 1 and +/- 0.1), 9 user programmable memory presets stored even if machine is turned off, racquet strung counter estimator (I think it estimates the number of racquets from the number of pulls, there is no button for the user to press once a racquet has been strung), knot function (10% tension increase), three pulling speeds (slow/medium/fast), and pre-stretch function which increases tension by 10% or 20% for a short time and than reduces it back to the set point.
  • Calibration process achieved through entering actual measured tension at 22, 44, 66, and 88 Lbs. The process is described in the manual. Calibrator is not included. Gamma states the machine is factory calibrated. No automatic internal calibration.
  • Internal system check upon startup. This does not appear to be an auto calibration, just a system health check.
  • There are buttons and a connector for string length meter, but there is a note in the manual (which dates back to 2012) that "this feature is currently not available". As of Sept 2017, the string meter is still not available as an accessory. This appears to be a design idea which "slipped through the cracks" and was not fully implemented.
  • Connector for a foot pedal (available as accessory, but not included - and I do not readily see where one could get it from, other than asking a retailer to place a special order).
  • 6-point mounting system
  • Diamond coated clamps with clamping pressure / string diameter adjustment
  • Diamond coated rotational string gripper
  • 360 degree turntable with locking brake
  • Base with two small drawers, about 10" long, 1 inch deep, and 3.25" wide each. By far too small to store included accessories and tools.
  • Universal laptop-like power supply for 110-240 Volts.
  • Beeps can be turned on or off. Regardless of this setting, the machine beeps if it senses something unusual with the tension once it was pulled.
  • Floor stand and cover available as accessories. Casters for the floor stand is also an available accessory.
  • Starter pack of 3 sets of fairly low end Gamma strings. Strings included as of Sept 2017 were: Gamma Synthetic Gut 16 ($3.50 on TW), Gamma Poly-Z 16 ($3.95 on TW), and Gamma io soft 17 ($7.95 on TW).
  • USRSA Getting Started Stringing guide. This is a condensed version of the USRSA Racquet Professional Study Guide (27 pages compared to 112). It is a very good concise source of information and a great "getting started" guide for beginners.
  • Printed machine manual (issue 3, Dec 2012)
  • Included stringing tools: Pathfinder Awl, Straight Awl, Needle Nose Straight Pliers, Bent Nose Pliers, and Diagonal Cutters.
  • Included tools for machine assembly and maintenance: nice full set of metric allen (hex) wrenches, 6 mm T-handle allen (hex) wrench, small wrench for nuts on the rubber feet, 17 mm socket for clamp base nuts.
  • Included accessories: Badminton slide-on H-pads, Badminton V-mount covers, frame support spare pads, spare frame pads.
  • Provision for a screw which holds load cell in place during transportation; this screw is removed before operation.
  • Warranty: 5 years for mechanical parts and 1 year for electrical parts and string clamps. Cost of shipment to Gamma for repairs is not covered. The statement that "This warranty does not apply to any damage or defect caused by ...part wear and tear as a result of normal use" [first page of the manual] is troubling and is worth noting.
  • Warranty is only valid for the original purchaser and is not transferable.
  • Made in Taiwan

I will post pictures of included tools and accessories later.

(To be continued)
 
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AndI

Rookie
PICTURES: UNBOXING

The machine arrived in plain barely marked carton, fairly large but small enough to be lifted and carried alone.





Marking on the box showed its weight, country of origin (Taiwan) and had the name Gamma and model number on it. Weight is shown on the picture below.





Under the flaps of the box there was a sheet of cardboard



Underneath it, three pieces of styrofoam



These pieces are very easy to remove, one at a time





And then one can grab the machine and take it out, still in a plastic bag



Bag is a little inconvenient to remove because the machine does not have legs (yet)



Inside of the shipping box, in pockets in styrofoam, there are plastc bags with tools and accessories



(to be continued)
 

AndI

Rookie
MANUALS AND "GETTING STARTED"

The first thing found inside are

1) A sheet with return policy - the customer may return the machine within 30 days, in the original packaging, provided he/she obtains an RMA and pays a 15% restocking fee and cost of return shipment. This is better than nothing, but certainly not even close to a "total customer satisfaction guarantee".



2) The user manual. The latest version of the manual can be downloaded from Gamma's web side, link here

The manual on the web is version 3A, dated February 2014. This is another example which I just cannot rationally explain. Today is September 2017. Manual was revised three years ago, in Feb 2014. Guess which version of the printed manual I got in the box? Version 3, dated December 2012. Come on, Gamma! It is not even funny! It has been five years since version 3A was released! How much time do you need to start including the latest version???

This manual is copied on a Xerox and stapled with a single staple. Another example of crappy presentation of the product.


At first glance, though, there are barely any differences between these versions. But still... Customers do notice.

3) "Getting Started" package which includes Gamma USRSA Getting Started manual and three packages of low cost Gamma strings: Gamma Synthetic Gut 16 ($3.50 on TW), Gamma Poly-Z 16 ($3.95 on TW), and Gamma io soft 17 ($7.95 on TW). I assume the word "performance strings" on TW seb site was a joke. They are still strings, and good for practice stringing. Including them was a very nice touch from Gamma.




The Getting Started manual is about a 20-page condensed version of a 6 times thicker USRSA manual. It is perfectly sufficient to get started with stringing, all key information is there. I had two weeks to study how to string, but if I had not done it, this manual would be a great resource.
 
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AndI

Rookie
FIRST IMPRESSION FROM STRINGING

I will interrupt the flow of pictures to make a short comment on my son's and I first impressions from actually using the machine. I expressed above some dissatisfaction with how the machine was packaged and impressions which a customer gets during unboxing. I think it is fair to say that the machine itself is better than the way how it was packaged. My 11 year old son insisted that he will be the first to string a racquet. We purchased ahead of time about 22 sets of cheapest strings for practice (three more sets came with the machine) and identified several frames which we do not worry too much about. We started with stringing an old aluminum low end frame which my son played with when he was 6-7 years old. He strang a racquet while I was watching and we were discussing what to do, then I cut off the freshly installed strings and restrung the same racquet. I ended up doing my first string job ever in one hour and 5 minutes. Along the way, we made all standard mistakes (off-center mounting, started from wrong side, misweave), but this was expected and we had to go though these mistakes to learn.

The machine itself is really nice! Rotational gripper might require one to pay a little more attention than, I am guessing (without actually trying it), a linear gripper might require, but it take very little time to develop a proper technique. I do not think there is any difference in terms of functionality. Clamps work smoothly, for us, occasional users, everything on the machine is logical and easy to use. So far, so good!

(to be continued)
 

AndI

Rookie
STRINGING TOOLS INCLUDED WITH THE MACHINE

The machine came with a set of 5 stringing tools:

Needle Nose Straight Pliers, Bent Nose Pliers, and Diagonal Cutters



These tools work well, cut strings just fine. They do feel like relatively mid to low end, but no complaints about their functionality. They are all fairly small. My 11 year old son says that they are just the right size for me, I would prefer something a little larger, to fit better in my hand. Xuron cutters are about 20 to 30% larger and fit in my hand better.

and Pathfinder Awl and Straight Awl.



If pliers and cutters felt like low or mid range, the awls somehow make tools sold at Harbor Freight feel like high quality merchandise. I was afraid to even try to use these awls in fear that they would break right away. I may be wrong here, this is my feeling, whatever it is worth.

A useful tool which unfortunately was NOT included is a starting clamp. I purchased one separately, it arrived before the stringing machine arrived. Even in the first stringing "lesson" and learned how versatile it is, for example for tightening knots. It also was a Gamma clamp, but not a "starter" level and, not surprisingly, it feels way more solid than the entry level tools included with the machine.
 

AndI

Rookie
CLAMPS IN A BAG

Clamps came packaged in a separate bag, all one had to do is to open the bag and slide them into pre-installed clamp bases. I am including a picture just for the sake of completeness.



I will post more pictures of the machine which snow assembled and installed clamps later.

(to be continued)
 

tegg96

Semi-Pro
Who cares that that it comes in a boring plain brown box. It will be tossed in the recycle bin never to be seen again. Important thing is the machine looks good and operates well.
 

AndI

Rookie
I am actually not complaining about the boring brown box - when UPS leaves it outside the house on the porch, it is better that it is non-descriptive and brown. I am just reporting what I see...

As for looks good, I found it interesting that when my wife looked at it and asked how much money I spend on it and I refused to tell, she first told me that she would go and Google it, but then said she would make a guess. She looked at it, thought a little, and said: $2500. (she knows nothing about stringing machines and their prices).

Apparently, it has the looks of a $2,500 toy :)

In retrospective, I realize that I missed a huge opportunity. This is what I should have done: I should've told her: "No, no, no, don't look at the machine. Look at this manual, 10 double side printed sheets stapled together withe a single staple, they guys who printed it do not even know that a color printer has recently been invented! Look at those awls, don't they remind you Harbor Freight? Smell this tool tray mat! Does it smell like a quality product? Make another guess, how much this thing may cost, it costs way less than you think!" I am sure she would say "Ooops.. You are right... I guess, two hundred?"

And I would be off the hook!
 
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AndI

Rookie
FEET.

I know it kind of getting boring... Perhaps too many details... but who knows, someone may be desperately looking for detailed information about this particular machine and cannot find it anywhere... So I want to be as detailed as possible.

Feet came in a plastic bag



With a special little wrench



Which you use to attach them to the bottom of the machine...



Plain and simple. Enough of that.

Now, the tools and the parts which got me confused for a while...

(to be continued)
 

AndI

Rookie
BADMINTON CLAMPS AND SPARE PARTS

This is where I, with my nonexistent experience, got confused and was for some time wishing that Gamma would explain it clearly and simply...

First, one gets this set of tools which resembles a basic set of tool for bicycle maintenance :)



So, the first thought is, OK, you got these tools, they are probably here for a reason, you must use them somewhere before turning on the machine... Which at the end turned out to be wrong, for the most part. It is quite likely that one will never ever have to use that beautiful T-handle hex wrench or locking nut... And only one hex key from this nice metric set is really needed...

Then, you get a bunch of plastic parts which purpose is not quite obvious at first glance.
First you get these large black creatures:



with the help of parts diagram on page 19 of the manual these were identified as "Badminton V-mount covers". After some trial and error, we determined that they go on top of V-shaped side mounts/supports, here is one without the badminton attachment




And here is one with badminton attachment. It just slides over it.



This is quite nice, I knew badminton mounts were available as accessories, but did not know they were included with the machine!

Then, there were these little guys



which we were able to match with the pads on top and bottom supports



And then, there were more pads of different shape which we are still not quite certain what they are... but it eventually became clear that they are spare parts or badminton parts and we do not not need to install them now.


(Mystery Parts A):


and these little creatures

(Mystery Parts B)


and these

(Mystery Parts C)


and these

(Mystery Parts D)


I wonder if any of the Escape Rooms use Gamma machines to challenge their visitors with finding clues to determine how to use those? We are still puzzled, but we kind of thinking we do not need them. At least, not now.
 

AndI

Rookie
REMOVING TRANSPORTATION SCREW

It turned out that the only thing which one REALLY had to do was to remove a transportation screw which holds the load cell in place. And you do not use that beautiful T-handle hex wrench for it. You use one of small metric hex wrenches. This is probably really important because this operation is described in the manual and only a blind will not see the tags.



sorry, last picture came out out of focus.



Surprise, surprise... So Gamma can make things crystal clear when it wants!
 

AndI

Rookie
FINDING A PLACE FOR A STINKY MAT

This thing is remarkable... We found it loose in the plastic bag which covered the machine.



After exchanging puzzled looks for a while, it dawned on us that it matches in shape the tool tray and most certainly belongs there


This thing is a killer. Gamma loses huge business opportunities. It could sell them to Department of Defence, and they would drop them from an airplane on the enemies who would run away from the smell. They probably can be used by exterminators against pest. It is still in my garage and I am puzzled how such small piece of rubber can smell the same or stronger than a set of four new tires. I searched through the packaging carton for a respirator because one needs one. I searched for a warning that this machine should only be unpacked in a fume hood or outside preferably on a windy day, and the stringer should position himself upwind. I did not find any. For now, it lives in the garage and we still hope that in a week or two we will be able to actually put it into the tray.
 

ElMagoElGato

Semi-Pro
For what it's worth, I enjoy your report a lot. I don't know anything about a Gamma machine but my guess about the mystery parts are as follows:

A: Load spreaders for tennis rackets that go between the frame and the top support and/or the bottom support.
B: Spare pads for the shoulder supports.
C: A badminton pad for the top support because it has load spreader, too.
D: A badminton pad for the bottom support.

I have a question. How easy is it to push the lever on the clamp base? Does the clamp base stay firmer as you push the lever stronger? Or is there a certain point you should reach without much force and it's done?
 

Wes

Semi-Pro
I searched through the packaging carton for a respirator because one needs one. I searched for a warning that this machine should only be unpacked in a fume hood or outside preferably on a windy day, and the stringer should position himself upwind. I did not find any.
LMAO!

I'm imagining a phone call to Gamma, in the very near future, that'll be similar to this:
Tell 'em..."I only work with safety equipment and a good firm!"
 

AndI

Rookie
I have a question. How easy is it to push the lever on the clamp base? Does the clamp base stay firmer as you push the lever stronger? Or is there a certain point you should reach without much force and it's done?
I have to start with a disclaimer that my stringing experience, as of this morning, is limited to 2 racquets (this count increases daily). However, I can say that my son who is 11 and who is learning in parallel with me has absolutely no issues tightening the clamp bases. They do not require a significant effort to tighten. It has to be firm and tight, but does not need to be excessively tight. Your second statement, there is a certain point that you reach with relatively light force and you are done. The length of the lever on the clamp base is just long enough to make it simple. You grab the lever with 2-3 fingers and tighten with some effort but within your or 11 old kid fingers strength.

I had only one case when I undertightened the base, when I was experimenting with it, and it moved slightly. I think most of the time I tighten them more than they need be tightened.


THANK YOU FOR SHARING THOUGHTS ON WHAT THE MYSTERY PARTS ARE!
 
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ElMagoElGato

Semi-Pro
I have to start with a disclaimer that my stringing experience, as of this morning, is limited to 2 racquets (this count increases daily). However, I can say that my son who is 11 and who is learning in parallel with me has absolutely no issues tightening the clamp bases. They do not require a significant effort to tighten. It has to be firm and tight, but does not need to be excessively tight. Your second statement, there is a certain point that you reach with relatively light force and you are done. The length of the lever on the clamp base is just long enough to make it simple. You grab the lever with 2-3 fingers and tighten with some effort but within your or 11 old kid fingers strength.

I had only one case when I undertightened the base, when I was experimenting with it, and it moved slightly. I think most of the time I tighten them more than they need be tightened.
Thanks a lot. Sounds very easy. I didn't have any knowledge about this type and I avoided it when I picked my machine. I read your answer with a little bit of regret on myself because my clamp bases are not so smooth. Looks like you you've got a great machine.
 

AndI

Rookie
POWER SUPPLY

The last step is to plug the power cord into laptop-like power supply, and plug it into the machine..



And here we go!

 

AndI

Rookie
OUT-OF-THE-BOX CALIBRATION

The machine is pre-calibrated at the factory. Measurements at a couple of tensions show readings within 1 Lb off - assuming that the Wise tension calibrator is perfectly accurate. Very good!

We did not get to recalibrate it yet, but this appears to be a very simple procedure.

(Calibrator was not included with the machine, it was a separate purchase)

Set point 40 Lbs:



Set point 60 Lbs:



THIS WAS ALL INTRODUCTION. IT IS NOT THE REVIEW YET!

It was my opportunity to share first impressions as long as they are fresh, it was my chance to do a little ********, and to try to be funny at times.

I did not answer any questions as to how good this machine is. I will try to do my best to answer this question, within the limits of my ability to judge tools for the craft which I am only learning.


REVIEW IS TO COME SOON.
 
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elkwood

Hall of Fame
Tks for the write up. I went with the Stringway ml 100, fixed clamps DA + concord, when i decided to buy a few years ago.
Nice to see how the othererside of the pasture would have looked :)
 

AndI

Rookie
REVIEW OF THE MACHINE. PART 1. CLAMPS.

Let me repeat once again that I am a beginner hobby stringer. I never had a stringing machine until now, and as of this evening, my stringing experience is 3 racquets (the count increases daily). I will do my best to present what I see in perspective, but please understand limitations that come from my lack of exposure to other machines.


One of the first things which I learned was that three components which really matter in a stringing machine are clamps, racquet mount, and tensioner. After that, comes ergonomics and looks.

Let us start with clamps.

Gamma includes a part diagram and a part list in every manual. The nice thing is that they use the same part number for the same part if it is used in more than a single machine model. This enables one to compare part diagrams and determine where else the same model of clamp or clamp base is used.

The table below shows the lineup of Gamma machines currently listed on their web site. The list is ordered according to average price that I see on the internet. X-ELS is highlighted in bold dark red. The clamps and clamp bases used in X-ELS are highlighted in yellow.





We see that clamp pn MDCSC13 and clamp base pn MQAC12 is a "work horse" used in all low to mid end Gamma machines. More than half of the table is yellow. Clamps MDCSC13 are used up to 6900 ELS (a $2,099 machine), while clamp base MQAC12 is installed even in 7900 ELS ($2399 machine). All Gamma lockout machines use the same clamps, and there is only one lockout machine (6004) which comes with slightly different base. I strongly suspect that pn MQAC used on 6900 ELS is pretty much the same clamp base as MAQC12, perhaps with minor changes, so the yellow area could be even larger.

Only top of the line Gamma machines are equipped with different clamps and bases. Auto release clamps are used only in 8900 ELS and 9900 ELS, but those machines cost over $3000.

I see this as a good indication of a value of clamps used in this machine. It would be disappointing to see the next level up come with much better clamps and clamp bases. In this case, one has to at least pay twice as much to get to the next clamps level.

(pictures of actual clamps are coming next)
 

AndI

Rookie
Now pictures of the clamps. Nothing much to talk about, standard clamps, but perhaps someone is looking for pictures, so I am sharing them here.

View from the side



Same thing from a different angle



and from yet another angle



Clamped string



This is clamp's head with adjustment knob, it is easy to turn by hand if string slips or if clamp grips too tight



Clamp head from the side

 

AndI

Rookie
Clamps are easy to use. As I wrote before, my son just turned 11, and he has no issues with locking the clamps. Lever on the bases does not require special force or effort to lock. One has to lock it tight, but this is not a job which requires one to sweat.

Yesterday I had an opportunity to "play" with auto-release clamps on Prince 5000. They require less effort to lock, and they are more fool-proof, meaning that one can lock the base without paying attention to what one is doing. With Gamma clamps on this machine, one has to be a little more aware of what one is doing. Also, the auto release function on the Prince, whereby base unlocks automatically when one unclamps the clamp from the string and lets it drop into the base, is nice and saves probably a second for each clamp release.

I think high end auto release clamps are valuable in tennis sweat shops where stringers string racquets 8 hours a day. This creature comfort feature increases productivity and slightly reduces risk of errors (tension release on a clamp which base is not fully tightened).

During our learning experience, we only once, as a purposeful experience, under-tightened the clamp base and it slipped. Once we figured it out, we had zero issues. With clamp itself, we had to adjust it twice, experimenting with different strings. This was easy to do and experienced stringers recommend to check how tight is the clamp each time the stringer changes the type of string.

Clamps used on X-ELS appear to be way more comfortable to use than the clamps on NEOS 1000 in Tennis Warehouse "how to string" video (albeit I never tried those and can only make a guess).

Also, as it will be visible in the pictures of racquet mounts that will follow, clamps slide along curved paths, to be closer to the frame at all positions on the racquet.

The only concern that I have each time when I pull tension, clamp the string, and then release tension from the tensioner, the head of the clamp moves slightly. The amount of motion can be estimated from perhaps 0.5 mm to 1 mm. This happens under the force exerted by the string: once tension from the tension head is released, force on the clamp becomes unbalanced and it pulls clamp into the racquet. I saw the same subtle clamp head movement in YULittle's videos. I am looking for an opportunity to observe a high end machine in action, to see if clamps on, say, Baiardo do the same thing (or will just pay attention to this while watching videos). Clearly, string loses some of the tension when clamp flexes under the tension. An ideal clamp (which might not even exist in real life) should be dead steady, no matter if tension is symmetrical or from one side only.
 
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gmatheis

Hall of Fame
The only concern that I have each time when I pull tension, clamp the string, and then release tension from the tensioner, the head of the clamp moves slightly. The amount of motion can be estimated from perhaps 0.5 mm to 1 mm. This happens under the force exerted by the string: once tension from the tension head is released, force on the clamp becomes unbalanced and it pulls clamp into the racquet. I saw the same subtle clamp head movement in YULite's videos. I am looking for an opportunity to observe a high end machine in action, to see if clamps on, say, Baiardo do the same thing (or will just pay attention to this while watching videos). Clearly, string loses some of the tension when clamp flexes under the tension. An ideal clamp (which might not even exist in real life) should be dead steady, no matter if tension is symmetrical or from one side only.
This is drawback, and happens on all machines even the Babolats and Wilsons. It is mostly removed on the next pull, and is the reason that on tie offs some people like to raise the tension.

The only machines it may either not happen on or be almost undetectable would be machines with glide bars like a NEOS 1000

*EDIT* Just found a NEOS 1000 video and watched for drawback and even that has some.
 
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AndI

Rookie
gmatheis, thank you for this very valuable comment!

REVIEW OF THE MACHINE. PART 2. RACQUET MOUNT.

Gamma X-ELS has a 6 point, not self centering racquet mount. In this picture, one can also see that the tracks along which clamp bases slide are curved. This curved shape is seen on most high end machines, so it is a good thing to have.



The general opinion on the Internet is that 6 point mount is preferred, although some people like two point mount better, and some manufacturers, like Prince, make all or almost all of their machines with two point mount. It is much harder to find a reasonable explanation of why 6 point mount is considered better and how much better it really is.

I actually ended up coming up with my own list of benefits and drawbacks. I think 6 point mount (or specifically supports at 2 o'clock, 4 o'clock, 8 o'clock and 10 o'clock) may serve three goals.

The first one is to provide support against twisting of the racquet when tension is pulled. The idea there is that tension puller, by design, is always below the plane of the strings. This is because one should be able to rotate the racquet 360 degrees on the mount, and to do this, racquet handle should be higher than the tensioner. Because of this, string is pulled at an angle, sideways and a little downwards:



The component (B) of the vector of force tries to bend the racquet. If it was more flexible than it is, and if it is mounted only at the throat and at the head, it would do this:


With 6 point mount, it is supported closer to where the force is applied, and one no longer has to rely on torsional rigidity of the racquet itself. Also, bending is less.

The second function of side support is to provide an additional mechanism against deformation of the racquet. The idea is that the racquet head is more or less oval. When mains are installed, they pull the frame into distorted, rounded shape, whereby the frame tries to become shorter and wider (as red arrows show):




I would think that sufficiently sturdy support at head and throat (points A and B) should take care of this deformation as the racquet cannot get wider unless it gets shorter, and role of additional supports on the side (at points C, D, E, and F) will be fairly minor. The fact that two point support machines are quite common seems to support this assessment. But there may be some favorable effect from additional support, too.

The third function is that side support MAY help with centering the racquet on the mounting system... but this is only if it is a self-centering mount, which on this machine it is not.

The disadvantage of 6 point mount is that 4 additional supports may, to some extent, cover the grommet holes and get in the way of stringing. They also take a little extra time to set up.

(to be continued with more pictures).






 

Herb

Semi-Pro
A couple of thoughts for you. The post do not have to be moved around for the racquets. Just extend them (I have mine 1.5 inches from the end) and use the end supports to adjust to your racquet. If you have a blocked hole you can adjust the end supports slightly to move the racquet
 

skydog

Semi-Pro
There is a difference between the MQAC12 and MSAC11 clamp bases. The MSAC11 are switch action bases which take less force and have a more positive locking action. To me, they a more preferred clamp base and a significant upgrade. The biggest difference between the two is price: MQAC12 = $75 per base, MSAC11 = $300 per base.

The MQAC12's are fine base clamps and will get the job done without any issues. The MSAC11's make stringing a more enjoyable process, to me. Just a word of caution to anyone desiring to upgrade their base clamps, the MSAC11's are not a simple drop in and go replacement on most Gamma machines. They are designed for a thicker turn table than the X series stringers come with. I took the $600 plunge and spent a bit of time and some frustration in re-engineering (aka fiddling with stuff to get it work) the clamp bases to work properly on my X-ST. Needless to say, I love the upgraded clamp bases but it was not a simple or cheap process to complete.
 

AndI

Rookie
Herb, skydog - thank you for your comments!

Now, pictures of frame supports that X-ELS comes with.

There are a total of 6 knobs to turn during frame mounting: two center knobs (one of each side) which adjust frame support posts, and two knobs on each side for frame shoulder clamps. Since it is not a self-centering mount, left and right shoulder clamps are adjusted independently from each other.

These are adjustment knobs:


Center pins which support racquet at head and throat:



(spare black plastic pads are included with the machine)

These are shoulder clamps:



The range of adjustment of center pins is more than sufficient for racquets which we have in our family, but if one comes across a racquet with much larger or much smaller head, there is an option of moving the frame support posts. There is a bolt at the bottom of the post for this large adjustment. Evidently, hex M6 wrench with T handle was provided specifically for these bolts.



Nothing fancy, but functional.
 

AndI

Rookie
One issue which we ran into, without self-centering frame clamps, is how to find the perfect center of the racquet. It is easy to find in the throat, where there are only 6, 8, or 10 grommets which are easy to count to find where the support pin should be in the middle, but it is harder to do in the center if there is no mark on the frame.

We actually made a mistake of mounting the racquet incorrectly at least 3 times between the two of us.

Finally, we cam up with a simple way of checking correctness of installation. It is extremely simple. We mount the racquet and look along its length. We align the head mounting pin



with the throat mounting pin


and validate that the line through these two pins aligns with the center of the racquet handle, esp. butt cap.



It is like aiming with a rifle :)

If racquet is mounted correctly, everything is in perfect alignment





If mounting is off racquet axis, you see it right away as you would be "aiming" at either left or right side of the cap and definitely off the center line.



(tensioner comes next)
 

Fabolous-vs

New User
Great contribution! Mann thanks for sharing all the useful insights with us. Since a couple of weeks I do a lot of research regarding stringing machines, but I still cant decide which one I buy. This thread helps as I might order my X-ELS today.

I'll string only for myself and my wife, maybe 2 rackets a month. Maybe the X-ELS is too much for this, however, I always come back to this machine as it fulfills all the things that I'd like to have (effortless stringing, fixed high quality clamps, precise, 6pt mounting, etc)
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
A couple of thoughts for you. The post do not have to be moved around for the racquets. Just extend them (I have mine 1.5 inches from the end) and use the end supports to adjust to your racquet. If you have a blocked hole you can adjust the end supports slightly to move the racquet
That won't work Herb, in order to adjust the point where the side mounts meet the racket you must move the standard and the 6 or 12 support. With my 6004 macinne (SC model) I always adjusted the 6/12 support first, then brought in the side supports. On a Babolat just the opposite because the standards don't move. I adjust the side supports first then the 6 then the 12. But this machine has C side supports so there won't be any blocked holes.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
One issue which we ran into, without self-centering frame clamps, is how to find the perfect center of the racquet. It is easy to find in the throat, where there are only 6, 8, or 10 grommets which are easy to count to find where the support pin should be in the middle, but it is harder to do in the center if there is no mark on the frame.
If the racket has been strung before there are marks on the frame. Look at the grommets on top of the frame and you will see string marks, but your way works well too.
 

Herb

Semi-Pro
That won't work Herb, in order to adjust the point where the side mounts meet the racket you must move the standard and the 6 or 12 support. With my 6004 macinne (SC model) I always adjusted the 6/12 support first, then brought in the side supports. On a Babolat just the opposite because the standards don't move. I adjust the side supports first then the 6 then the 12. But this machine has C side supports so there won't be any blocked holes.
Maybe I said wrong. I have my standards set 1.5 inches from the edge of the turn table, and just use the 6/12 to make small adjustments to keep holes from ending up in the middle of a side support. I adjust the 6/12 first also then sides, but if a hole is centered in a side support I will adjust the 6/12 to move it an 1/8 inch or so. With the c support the hole is never truly blocked,but it can be a pain to get string in the hole. Especially a Head Prestige. I have not moved the standards on my machine since I first set it up.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Maybe I said wrong. I have my standards set 1.5 inches from the edge of the turn table, and just use the 6/12 to make small adjustments to keep holes from ending up in the middle of a side support.
The pivot for the top and bottom side supports is a fixed point on the top of the standard. If the standard does not move then the side support does not move on the Baiardo. On the Gamma X-ELS (and others) different story.

EDIT: but also because the Baiardo has C side supports you're not going to have a blocked hole.
 

Herb

Semi-Pro
The pivot for the top and bottom side supports is a fixed point on the top of the standard. If the standard does not move then the side support does not move on the Baiardo. On the Gamma X-ELS (and others) different story.

EDIT: but also because the Baiardo has C side supports you're not going to have a blocked hole.
I am talking about my Gamma ELS machine, not the Baiardo. I have never moved my mounting stands, column (standards) whatever its called. The whole mounting piece that has the side supports and center support. Loosen the screw and it moves back and forth. I have mine fixed always have. I have seen people move them to adjust to different racquets. Just saying you dont have to.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
I am talking about my Gamma ELS machine, not the Baiardo. I have never moved my mounting stands, column (standards) whatever its called. The whole mounting piece that has the side supports and center support. Loosen the screw and it moves back and forth. I have mine fixed always have. I have seen people move them to adjust to different racquets. Just saying you dont have to.
It does not matter as long as the racket is centered. In order for the side supports to move (assuming they are not adjusted) you have to adjust both the 6&12 to make the side supports move up or down the frame. But I thought you were talking about the Wilson.
 

Herb

Semi-Pro
It does not matter as long as the racket is centered. In order for the side supports to move (assuming they are not adjusted) you have to adjust both the 6&12 to make the side supports move up or down the frame. But I thought you were talking about the Wilson.
This is what I am saying. Move the 6/12 to center, but you do not have to loosen the screw that secures the column to the turntable and move the entire column. You can fix the columns in one location (just like on a Wilson) and still use the 6/12 supports to center with the adjustment knob just like on the wilson. This makes the side supports stationary and they never move just like the wilson. Mount a racquet and center with the 6/12, then tighten the side supports. If a hole is blocked or hard to get to, I will loosen the side supports and adjust the 6/12 with the knob slightly to move the racquet either up or back an 1/8 inch or less to get better access to the hole. This will move the racquet slightly in the side supports that I retighten with the adjustment knobs. I am pretty sure we are are saying the same thing just explaining it differently. I do not move the side supports up and down the frame, I keep them stationary just like on the Wilson. They are fixed and never move. Have not moved in years. The columns that they are part of never get any closer or farther apart. I tightened them down 1.5 inches from the end of the turn table and have never loosened them. I mount racquets the same on the Gamma turn table exactly like the Wilson. So do You use s big Allen wrench to loosen and move your columns for every racquet? Do you have to measure every time to make sure you have your columns perfectly centered for every racquet before you tighten them back down? I am just trying to understand because no I am getting confused.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
If a hole is blocked or hard to get to, I will loosen the side supports and adjust the 6/12 with the knob slightly to move the racquet either up or back an 1/8 inch or less to get better access to the hole.
What I am saying is if you only move one knob you will have to move it right back to secure the racket. You must move both knobs and then the racket is not centered. Enough side tracking on the OP's thread. I wish I had never said anything. If you want to discuss off line we can PM each other.
 

AndI

Rookie
This review was started to help other people who, just as I several weeks ago, have a general idea of what they might want to buy, but are not finding enough information for any of the machines on their list. A constructive discussion and added information is always welcome. Experiences shared by other owners of this machine are also welcome - both critical and positive. We all know how little specifics are in the internet, mostly all the same general stuff.

UPDATE: As of Sept 14, My son and I strung 4 racquets each. Each of us made all kinds of mistakes on the first 3 stringing jobs (misweaves, incorrect frame mounting, poor knots, wrong string length, confusion where to tie knots). On the forth attempt, everything came out fine. The message is, there are many more things for us to learn, but so far it has been a quick learning curve. 3 reels of strings included with the machine appears to be about the right number to "learn the ropes". My son is 11 and he is learning just as quickly as I am. The machine is friendly enough to make the process of learning easy. He is eager to move on to stringing his primary racquets and try installing his favorite hybrid.

Another thing which I learned "hard way": I ordered a cover for the machine, and by mistake (incomplete description on vendor's web site) ended up ordering a wrong part. The cover which I got turned out to be too short. Here is the correct description of two parts which look almost the same and cost the same and may be called the same (Gamma desktop stringing machine cover), and yet they are different:

  • MGSMC: This cover fits the following machines: 700Es, 6004, 6002Es, 6002, 5003, 5002, Progression ELS, ST & STII, X-ELS and X-ST
  • MPMC: This cover fits the following machines: Progression I & II and X-Stringers (Except ST, STII, X-ST, ELS & X-ELS)
The cover for X-ELS should be part MGSMC.

(to be continued)
 

AndI

Rookie
REVIEW OF THE MACHINE. PART 3. TENSIONER.

Gamma X-ELS comes with a rotational gripper.



For description of how rotational gripper works, I recommend a well known video by YULitle. He uses an older version of the machine, do not pay attention to controls which are much less advanced, but the way how the gripper works is exactly the same.


It can be calibrated just as accurately as a linear gripper. It does not create kinks in the string because the tightest radius of curvature, around the screw at around 9:30 o'clock on the picture below, is about 8 to 10 mm. The gripper itself (that round shiny part attached with 4 screws) is readily available as a spare part for $35. I was not able to find any meaningful reason why a rotational gripper should be considered inferior to a linear gripper. I must admit, however, that rotational gripper appears to be a tiny bit less ergonomic than a linear gripper. With linear gripper, hand makes a rotational movement which, on its way down after a full circle, lands the string between the jaws of the gripper. With rotational gripper, you first go around and than away from you towards the button that starts the gripper. This is a two-plane motion as compared to essentially a single plane motion with the linear gripper. This requires the user to pay a little more attention to what he or she is doing to keep the movement coordinated and accurate. I can see how this can add up to estimated between 30 seconds to a minute per racquet stringing time, without any difference in end result or pull quality.

Neither my son nor I had any issues with it (aside from a quick learning experience with how to get string all the way into the gripper while pushing the button), it is easy to use and it grips very well. Since it is self-tightening, there is nothing to adjust. Never had slippage problems.

It is a constant pull tensioner. It continues to turn as string stretches and by doing it, it maintains target tension. You can actually hear how the string stopped elongating: the tensioner appears to have a stepping motor inside, initially it makes some noise as it continues to pull and rotate, but after 3-5 seconds this noise slows down and almost disappears, which is an indication that the gripper does not have to do much to maintain tension.

I would not say it is noisy. It make some sounds, but they are not annoying at all and are way less loud that sounds of locking and unlocking clamps.

Tensioner is triggered by a black button next to the tension head, which one can kind of see in the picture above (black on black is not very visible in picture). You press the same button for the second time to release tension. Foot pedal which duplicates the button is available as an accessory, but it does not appear to be needed. The position of the button is logical and convenient to press with a knuckle.

"Constant pull" automatically turns off after somewhere between 45 seconds to a minute (I did not have an opportunity to measure) after you press the button to pull tension. After maintaining tension for some time (I am guessing, 15 to 30 seconds - more than it usually takes to clamp the string and release tension), it starts alerting you that you have 30 seconds left (number "30" blinks on the screen) until it turns off constant pull, then "20", then it shows a blinking countdown from 10 to zero. At that point, constant pull turns off and the tensioner goes into "lockout mode", if you will. It measures and shows the actual string tension, but no longer rotates to adjusts it to the target. I think this feature prolongs the life span of the tensioner and maybe also of the string - in case if you pull tension and get distracted.



The buttons are easy to use and logical. There are 9 programmable memory settings which from the factory have pre-programmed tensions of 11, 22, 33, etc. User can store his own tensions and pulling speeds in any of the 9 memories. The contents of the memory do not get erased when machine is turned off.

Tension can be adjusted up or down by "+1" or +-1" (Lb or kg) and by "+0.1" and "-0.1". This level granularity and precision is very helpful, e.g., with Sergetti stringing.

One can switch between Lbs and Kg, one can chose on of three pulling speeds (Slow, Medium, or Fast), one can turn on 10% or 20% prestretch, and one can turn on the "knot" function. Prestretch pulls the string up to the level of 10% or 20% above the reference tension, and then decreases tension back to reference point. This allows the string to stretch before it is clamped and reduces tension drop during the first 1-2 days after stringing. "Knot" just pulls the string, I think (need to check in the manual), 20% above the reference point for the last string which will be tied up.

There is one button which is not used, and this is "string length". Evidently, Gamma had a plan to add an accessory for string length measurement, but eventually decided against it. There is connector for string length measuring device in the back, but the device itself is not available.

The beeper on the machine can be turned on or off (the machine remembers this setting, one does not need to do it over and over again).

The screen is bright blue, LEDs are white.

(to be continued)
 

AndI

Rookie
UPDATE SEPT 17. My son had more time and strung, I believe, 10 racquets while I strung about 7. We are just restringing the same racquets with cheapo-strings, to replace them again the next day. I think both of us got the feeling how to do it, and can string a racquet in about 50-55 minutes. Speed will increase with experience. Yesterday, he strung two racquets with Wilson Champions Choice, natural gut + alu power rough, one with 55 Lbs tension, one with 55 Lbs reference Sergetti. He was very slow and careful with the gut (first time and expensive string), but everything worked out very well. So far, the machine works well and meets all our expectations.

While I do not have access to a high end machine, I am guessing that a pro stringer could lose estimated 3 mins on X-ELS, compared to top of the line machine. It may take him up to an extra minute to center the frame and tighten the racquet mount knobs (as compared to self-centering mount). He may lose up to a minute per racquet because lack of automatic release of clamp bases. And he may lose up to a minute due to rotational gripper, as opposed to a linear gripper since one has to move a little slower with the rotational gripper. In a production environment (e.g., in a shop where the machines are well utilized year round), these 3 mins labor savings per racquet could pay for the cost of high end machine within a year. For home use, I will never string a racquet in 15 mins and I do not care if it is 30 mins or 33 mins. I think we will be under 40 mins after 10 more racquets.

So far so good! Aside from my initial little ********, no issues were found and everything works very well. Since I mentioned ********: Rubber mat for the tool tray still lives in the garage. It no longer smells like a new set of tires, but still smells too strongly to be used as intended. I am guessing, it may take a month or more until it stops stinking. Also, Gamma could have indicated in the manual or on the web site the correct part numbers for accessories, such as machine cover. I wrote about ordering a wrong part by mistake a few posts above.

(to be continued)
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
I mount racquets the same on the Gamma turn table exactly like the Wilson. So do You use s big Allen wrench to loosen and move your columns for every racquet? Do you have to measure every time to make sure you have your columns perfectly centered for every racquet before you tighten them back down? I am just trying to understand because no I am getting confused.
@Herb, it's easy to see where your confusion arises. Your hands on experience with both these machines is just not going to stand up to @Irvin's rock solid commentary on both machines he's never worked with.
 

ElMagoElGato

Semi-Pro
UPDATE SEPT 17. My son had more time and strung, I believe, 10 racquets while I strung about 7. We are just restringing the same racquets with cheapo-strings, to replace them again the next day. I think both of us got the feeling how to do it, and can string a racquet in about 50-55 minutes. Speed will increase with experience. Yesterday, he strung two racquets with Wilson Champions Choice, natural gut + alu power rough, one with 55 Lbs tension, one with 55 Lbs reference Sergetti. He was very slow and careful with the gut (first time and expensive string), but everything worked out very well. So far, the machine works well and meets all our expectations.

While I do not have access to a high end machine, I am guessing that a pro stringer could lose estimated 3 mins on X-ELS, compared to top of the line machine. It may take him up to an extra minute to center the frame and tighten the racquet mount knobs (as compared to self-centering mount). He may lose up to a minute per racquet because lack of automatic release of clamp bases. And he may lose up to a minute due to rotational gripper, as opposed to a linear gripper since one has to move a little slower with the rotational gripper. In a production environment (e.g., in a shop where the machines are well utilized year round), these 3 mins labor savings per racquet could pay for the cost of high end machine within a year. For home use, I will never string a racquet in 15 mins and I do not care if it is 30 mins or 33 mins. I think we will be under 40 mins after 10 more racquets.

So far so good! Aside from my initial little ********, no issues were found and everything works very well. Since I mentioned ********: Rubber mat for the tool tray still lives in the garage. It no longer smells like a new set of tires, but still smells too strongly to be used as intended. I am guessing, it may take a month or more until it stops stinking. Also, Gamma could have indicated in the manual or on the web site the correct part numbers for accessories, such as machine cover. I wrote about ordering a wrong part by mistake a few posts above.

(to be continued)
Oh, your son went on to a very expensive setup. Is that his regular setup? Then no wonder you practice diligently. I started stringing two years ago and have done about 70 to 80 jobs but still it takes 50 minutes and make mistakes here and there.

I hope the day will come for the rubber mat to sit in its tray.
 

AndI

Rookie
Oh, your son went on to a very expensive setup. Is that his regular setup? Then no wonder you practice diligently.
Thank you for your feedback! We took the learning process seriously - I got a one month trial ($9) membership at USRSA and, while waiting for the backordered machine, we read the study guide (which is invaluable, it is the only really good and detailed source on stringing and racquet maintenance available) and watched interactive video tutorial on USRSA site (which is also very good, although resolution of videos is tiny). Additionally, we watched some videos on youtube. I encourage my son (and myself) to go back after each couple of stringing jobs, read the manual again or watch a few videos from the experts to identify those tricks which we did not capture at the first read or watch. This helps to speed up the learning process. Of course we make mistakes, and I am glad that we do because it is a good way to learn. Speed is a measure of improvement, but not necessarily a goal. USRSA certification requirement is to string a racquet within 60 minutes. Anything under an hour is good enough.

My son is still experimenting with his preferred setup, but it looks like he is dialing on it and will continue with a hybrid based on natural gut. I encouraged him to go down this path, despite cost, because I see it as a way to reduce stresses on his arm and elbow. He wanted Champions Choice all along (I call it "Federer's infuence"), we went to the local racquet store to get these strings on his old racquet, and they basically turned us down with that - they said they do not carry these strings, did not offer to order them for us, and offered something else instead which, in retrospective, turned out to be not even close. This was a big turning point in my decision to buy our own stringing machine. I'd rather pay $1000+ for a machine than go back to that level of customer service.
 
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ElMagoElGato

Semi-Pro
Thank you for your feedback! We took the learning process seriously - I got a temporary ($9) membership at USRSA and, while waiting for the backordered machine, we read the study guide (which is invaluable, it is the only really good and detailed source on stringing and racquet maintenance available) and watched interactive video tutorial on USRSA site (which is also very good, although resolution of videos is tiny). Additionally, we watched some videos on youtube. I encourage my son (and myself) to go back after each couple of stringing jobs, read the manual again or watch a few videos from the experts to identify those tricks which we did not capture at the first read or watch. This helps to speed up the learning process. Of course we make mistakes, and I am glad that we do because it is a good way to learn. Speed is a measure of improvement, but not necessarily a goal. USRSA certification requirement is to string a racquet within 60 minutes. Anything under an hour is good enough.

My son is still experimenting with his preferred setup, but it looks like he is dialing on it and will continue with a hybrid based on natural gut. I encouraged him to go down this path, despite cost, because I see it as a way to reduce stresses on his arm and elbow. He wanted Champions Choice all along (I call it "Federer's infuence"), we went to the local racquet store to get these strings on his old racquet, and they basically turned us down with that - they said they do not carry these strings, did not offer to order them for us, and offered something else instead which, in retrospective, turned out to be not even close. This was a big turning point in my decision to buy our own stringing machine. I'd rather pay $1000+ for a machine than go back to that level of customer service.
I never really thought of the USRSA membership. It seems very valuable. I'll check it out again.

It'll cost a lot more if your son breaks his arm or elbow. Parents tend to tell their child to make do without paying much attention to its consequence. I respect your decision and am impressed on how you deal with the matter together with your son.
 
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