NXT drop weight vs electronic with prestretch

Hi guys. I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but I am considering picking up an entry level drop weight stringing machine with flying clamps. I am currently paying to have my rackets strung with NXT 16 at 45 lbs. I remember having a discussion with my stringer about what tensions I was using before (50 lbs) and that I liked the strings when they had died a bit, but I didn't know what kind of stringing machine was being used. The stringer said they prestretch and he suggested 45 lbs. I like the results I am getting with this method, so what would I need to do to get the same out of a drop weight? I believe their machine is a Babolat Star 5 if that matters.
 
Last edited:

esgee48

Legend
You will lose some tension from using floating clamps. You will need to set ref tension 4-7# higher. Can't give you an exact figure because it really depends on how close to the frame you can clamp. If you remove the clamps and the DW bar drops, re-clamp and re-pull, then clamp. What I would do is let the bar come to a stop above horizontal. If you do it right, when you remove the clamp, it will drop to horizontal. The other issue is pull long enough so that the bar stops moving.

FWIW, the Star 5 pre stretch function is used to pull a set % above ref tension. Then it goes back to pulling at ref tension. What this does is remove static tension losses (plasticity). This generally gives a more stable string bed. Bad part about it is some section of string is exposed to this stretch more than once. My preference is to pull longer at ref tension. String is thereofore never exposed to over stretching.
 
Last edited:

esgee48

Legend
Yes. It is the nature of floating clamps. When you clamp with a fixed clamp (and it is adjusted correctly), there is very little drawback or twisting of the clamp. With floating clamps, one side will be pulled back further than the other. That is where tension is lost and why you have to recover it on the next pull. You could ignore this fact and just do your stringing. However, you will not be able to achieve consistent results from frame to frame. Consistency is doing 2-3 frames with same string and ref tension and have them all come out at ref tension and sound the same. TBH, an experienced stringer could do just as good a job on a DW as a Star 5. It would take that person a lot more time using the DW. And time is $$ when stringing as a business.
 

esm

Semi-Pro
OP - if you think you'd stringing quite frequently and there is a possibility of upgrading to say an electronic tensioner (ie. Wise 2086), then i'd suggest a fixed clamp setup.
I have a Gamma X-2 and if i were to do it again, i'd at least get the fixed clamp version.
But, i dont mind the flying clamp, it may just take more time to get to the set tension you require, ie. clamp the previous one, drop the weight, remove the clapm, re-tension as required, then clamp.
i strung up a 97 sq" 16x19 racquet last night with a fb of soft poly at 33lb. Checked with RacketTune afterwards (make sure you select the correct string with the right string factor & the correct racquet spec), it came out at 32.4lb - happy with that.
I also checked with the Tourna Stringmeter, it came out at an average of about 34lb from various areas of the stringbed... lol
 
Last edited:

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
to get the same with a drop weight you should pull at the same tension. I have a Star 5 and an X-2 machine. If they are both set on 50 lbs of tension I will not get the same tension inside a frame, the X-2 will read a little lower than the Star 5 does. If you question the tension on a machine check it. If you like the results you get set at a tension stay there. You are the best judge of what is best for you.

If you are just starting out stringing it is going to take time. Don’t expect to be stringing on a DW as fast as you see professionals string. It takes time to learn and become proficient. If you get an X-2 (I have no idea what machine you’re considering) it come with everything you need. I bought a $5 pair of side cutters at Walmart and a starting clamp. Other poster have mentioned you may have to retention when you take the clamp off. That is only the case if you are using only 1 clamp. If you watch videos on YouTube you will see most stringers only using 1 clamp. That’s a very bad practice, you’ve got 2 clamps use them both. On the mains you can only use 1 clamp because you need one for each side and the bar may drop a little, you then can level the bar after removing the clamp. On the crosses you can and should use both clamps (one per side.) iIf you use 2 clamps the bar will not fall after you take off the clamp farthest from the tensioner and you will not need to level the bar again. 2 clamps are better than one. I believe that so much I’m considering using 3 clamps to tension my mains.

Good luck in your venture.
 
It'll likely be an X-2. It would be for my personal rackets and my wife's single racket. Neither of us are string breakers. I'd guess I'd do her frame once a year and maybe twice a year on mine, for an at worst total of 7 times stringing per year.

If I find a good deal on a used 6 point machine with fixed clamps, I'll certainly jump on it, but it seems most people know the value when they sell them vs the 2 point flying clamp setups.

Thank you guys for all your advice so far and for any more to come. It's been fascinating learning about another facet of tennis.
 

1HBHfanatic

Hall of Fame
go for it!
don't think of it too long
its a worth while investment that's not crazy expensive
it pays for itself in no time
lots of online videos to learn stringing now
 

struggle

Legend
Machine will pay for itself within a couple years or so, even stringing minimally.

My guess is that you'll string more often once you have a machine (for friends etc)
and it'll pay for itself even quicker.

Nothing wrong with a simple DW machine with flying clamps, even though most on here
have fancier rigs.
 
An update!

I pulled the trigger and picked up an X-2 and I spoke with my (former) stringer once more. They said they do a 10% machine prestretch.

I will probably grab a few sets of NXT soon and give it a go!

I'll set my X-2 at 50 lbs and see if that gets me close to the feel of 45 lbs off their machine.
 

Wes

Semi-Pro
An update!

I pulled the trigger and picked up an X-2 and I spoke with my (former) stringer once more. They said they do a 10% machine prestretch.

I will probably grab a few sets of NXT soon and give it a go!

I'll set my X-2 at 50 lbs and see if that gets me close to the feel of 45 lbs off their machine.
I'm speculating that you'll probably need to go higher than 50, since you'll be using flying clamps, as opposed to the fixed clamps (less drawback) that are on the eCP machine that your (now former) stringer uses.
Ignoring the 10% machine prestretch factor (for the moment), the difference between the fixed clamps on an eCP machine and the flying clamps that came with your X-2 are, alone, likely to necessitate a 5-8lb. bump up (depending on one's technique).
Now add in the fact that the electronic tension head was applying a 10% prestretch, on each & every pull... I'm sure you see what I'm getting at.
Don't be surprised, or worried, if you ultimately find yourself landing somewhere higher than 50lbs.
Best of luck with your new machine.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
An update!

I pulled the trigger and picked up an X-2 and I spoke with my (former) stringer once more. They said they do a 10% machine prestretch.

I will probably grab a few sets of NXT soon and give it a go!

I'll set my X-2 at 50 lbs and see if that gets me close to the feel of 45 lbs off their machine.
Good observations and advice from our pals above. Good luck with your new rig!

There's a little voodoo going on as far as figuring out the difference in tension settings on your machine using floating clamps compared with another that includes fixed clamps - the differences mentioned above are about right. I went from a DW with floating clamps into an electric Gamma with fixed clamps and needed to drop tension by about six pounds to get the same string bed firmness with the new machine.

As long as your technique is consistent, I'd bet that you'll get dialed in with the tensions you need for your racquets and strings after only a couple of trials. The extra drawback that we get with floating clamps isn't too big of a deal once you get sorted. The tricky issue might be stringing for some of your pals. If they know their string type and tension, that's always helpful, but they probably won't know what sort of machine and clamps were used for those previous string jobs. So that first re-string you do for anybody else will give you a reference to work from going forward.

Something I like to do when I'm not in much of a hurry with a string job is to let the tensioner hold each length of string for a couple extra seconds before I clamp it off - our pals may have alluded to this already, but I'm still on my first pot of coffee. Our pal esgee48 referred to plasticity in post #4...

I don't think of this extra tensioning before clamping as pre-stretching, but I think it helps with avoiding as much of that string bed relaxation through perhaps the first 24 hours after installation. This might help with the NXT if you want it's firmness to stay more consistent or "leveled off" when you drop a fresh set in your racquet.
 
Thanks for all the practical advice! I just put the machine together last night. Thankfully I have two identical rackets I can string one at a time to try to dial in on the number more quickly.

I do like the more consistent over life feel that the machine prestretch seemed to give me. That's perhaps the part of my original question I care most about--what to do with my stringer to get that effect? If it's simply a matter of letting the weight hang on the string a few seconds longer, I'm not opposed to that at all, or is there another technique that might be more effective?
 

esgee48

Legend
With a DW, it does not hurt to pull longer at ref tension before clamping. Count to 10 before clamping OR just look at the bar. If it still drops, let it drop before clamping. You could also let the bar come to a rest above horizontal, i.e. 10°, and see if it drops more when you wait or unclamp the previous string.
 

1HBHfanatic

Hall of Fame
Thanks for all the practical advice! I just put the machine together last night. Thankfully I have two identical rackets I can string one at a time to try to dial in on the number more quickly.

I do like the more consistent over life feel that the machine prestretch seemed to give me. That's perhaps the part of my original question I care most about--what to do with my stringer to get that effect? If it's simply a matter of letting the weight hang on the string a few seconds longer, I'm not opposed to that at all, or is there another technique that might be more effective?
I used a 3x pull technique, on every string mains and/or crosses
that gave me a sort of manual-prestretch
I took advantage of the fact that I could not nail the horizontal bar position on most string pulls,,, soo I decided to pull every string 3x and nail the horizontal position on the third, much, much better than on the first or second try,,,, with the added benefit that EVERY string was pulled the same amount of times..
we discussed it in length a few years back, when I was stillusing my klippermate DW machine
I recall @esgee48 was always a fan of the time/settle technique over my 3x pull method,, but that's where the fun in the difference of stringing is,,,
try them both and see which you like best
 
Top