Picking up stringing as a hobby

LessLobiso

New User
I would like to pick up racquet stringing as a hobby. I am not sure if I will fully commit to it yet so I want to try to keep the spending low. Hopefully under $200 (I know this is a bit unreasonable). Where might I be able to buy a decent used stringing machine. I can't seem to find any active market like used racquets.
If that is unlikely or not a good idea, what should I look out for in purchasing my first machine?
Any advice is appreciated.
 

tennisbike

Professional
I bought my Gamma Progression II FC 602 DW machine for $200 off Craigslist. Had to drive a couple of hours to get to it though. Had to do some minor fix before it is fully functional. Came with string and most of the tools needed. Added a starting clamp, cam action pliers, and SM. Mainly though.. be like a sponge here and soak up info, and experiment and figure out. It is fun.
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
You can get a new, simple to use dropweight machine for under 200.

Easy to learn, sturdy, consistent string job and you haven't invested a lot.

Klippermate dropweight has a great instruction manual, and after 10 or so racquets you should be able to do a racquet start to finish in less than 1 hour.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
Stringing can BECOME a hobby. Most people start stringing their own frames for specific reasons such as no local competent stringers, breaking strings too frequently, cost and time savings. Then they become string-a-holics or what not. Some never progress past stringing only their own frames. If your anticipated volume is 1 frame a week, then get a starter DW like the KM or Progression 200. If your expected volume is 3-4 per week or more, spend more and get something that can help you string faster consistently. People who are in the latter case are generally stringing their own and clients. You should read the stickie that is at the beginning of this forum to understand the types and features of different machines.
 

graycrait

Legend
@magnut , you must be fun to hit tennis balls with. Thanks for your post, it made my LOL.

@LessLobiso , I thought the same as you some years ago. But I told myself I wanted something I could get fast on that wouldn't need much maintenance. I think of racket stringing sort like a factory job brought into the home and I have several years of assembly line work under my belt.

I spent about $750.00 on a used reconditioned and complete as new Prince Neos 1000. The NEOS has led me down a dark path of racket and string fickleness. Before the NEOS I was content to play tennis and complain every few months about how much a racket cost to be strung. Since acquiring the machine I have procured many dozens of rackets and untold thousands of feet of string. I'll look at one of my rackets hanging on one of the walls holding dozens of rackets and say to myself, "I wonder if that racket would play better with this string at this tension?" I'll cut out a perfectly sound set of strings and restring the thing. Standard poly, hybrids, syn gut takes me about 25minutes from cutting out the string to snipping the tag end off the last cross tie off. Sometimes I go a bit faster and sometimes I go slower.
 
@LessLobiso I second the motion of @Mongolmike

When I retired I bought a Klippermate that I used for several years, doing my own so I could experiment with different tensions more cheaply. Then I added my friends racquets to the mix, and then to pass the winter, I would accumulate decent thrift store racquets to recondition and either sell or give away. It is a totally reasonable first machine, for the reasons he listed.

Last year I bought a Gamma X-6FC, because there were times I wished I had fixed, not flying clamps. That comes in handy at times. I am real happy with it as well, but it is not the same price range.

I will say that based on all the opinions I've read here, I believe in a constant pull machine over a lockout, though others may feel differently. And the dropweight gives you that, plus accuracy that never needs calibration.

Stringing can be a very peaceful hobby, IMO
 
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LessLobiso

New User
Thank you all very much for your advices.

You can get a new, simple to use dropweight machine for under 200.
If your anticipated volume is 1 frame a week, then get a starter DW like the KM or Progression 200.
I set my original budget at $200 because, from what I gathered, the cheapest machines cost a little over $200, and I was trying to see if I can get something lower. Looks like it will be easiest to just suck it up and buy a new Klippermate on TW.

If your life is so bad that you are looking at stringing racquets for fun you might want to think about suicide LOL.
Stringing can BECOME a hobby.
Stringing can be a very peaceful hobby, IMO
I know stringing isn't the most exciting of hobbies. I once convinced my local tennis shop owner to let me try stringing a racquet, and I found it to be quite meditative. I may be in the minority, but I really enjoy the soothing and cathartic nature of casually rallying, or shooting around a basketball alone, while focusing on working on form. I find it interesting how one's mental state can be revealed in these repetitive skill intensive activities.
I must sound old AF there.
 

tennisbike

Professional
I found it to be quite meditative. ..
I agree.
It is a state that I strive to reach and to stay in. Does not happen by itself though.
It is a journey of course.
For me, the whole process is kind of meditative. From reviewing my log, the history of the racket/string jobs, figuring out the next iteration, figure out the differential/proportional tension for each, cleaning/getting ready/setting up, finding a good routine/sequence, staying consistent, paying attention to detail, being smooth, tie-off string/Parnell loop/Yonex loop, walking tension, weaving cross, tie off, final straightening, check tension..
Rushing it and you miss it.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
I find it relaxing as well. It is a fun hobby and over the past few years has provided enough challenges to keep me interested.

Unlike most here I am not much of a string / setup tinkerer for my own racquets. I have found what I like and pretty much stuck with it. I do enjoy researching different strings and finding deals on string as well that I then let my friends who are more experimental try out.

I plan on keeping this hobby.
 

jim e

Legend
@graycrait . Are you into archery?
Only asking due to your last post above. I shoot recurve and crossbow. Shot in the indoor Nationals a number of times. It's more frustrating than tennis , that's for sure.
 

graycrait

Legend
@jim e , not anymore. I hurt my hand in a fall that prevents me from using a finger release. However, that book is more than an archery book in my estimation. Kind of like the Talent Code, Coyle or With Winning in Mind, Basham.
 

jim e

Legend
@graycrait
I never used a release, shooting fita rules with recurve. No release, have to use fingers, no magnification, no rear peep site , more restrictions than compound shooters use. Frustrating sport, but enjoyable. At least I can do that behind my house with all the close downs with today's issues.
I miss hitting the tennis ball.
 
Thank you all very much for your advices.



I set my original budget at $200 because, from what I gathered, the cheapest machines cost a little over $200, and I was trying to see if I can get something lower. Looks like it will be easiest to just suck it up and buy a new Klippermate on TW.




I know stringing isn't the most exciting of hobbies. I once convinced my local tennis shop owner to let me try stringing a racquet, and I found it to be quite meditative. I may be in the minority, but I really enjoy the soothing and cathartic nature of casually rallying, or shooting around a basketball alone, while focusing on working on form. I find it interesting how one's mental state can be revealed in these repetitive skill intensive activities.
I must sound old AF there.
I think you make perfect sense!
 

graycrait

Legend
I never used a release, shooting fita rules with recurve. No release, have to use fingers
Yeah, I used just fingers shooting traditional bows: recurve, flat and longbow. I shot with a mechanical release once when shooting a competition compound bow, it was a heavy "ugly" thing to me, accurate though.

I used to like to shoot 150 arrows a day just using a three finger tab. What appealed to me was a stick shooting a stick, with as little weight or encumbrances as possible. I once had a 1957 or 58 Bear Grizzly static recurve that even at 57lbs was so darn light. It had a little hand shock but it was so fun to shoot such a light bow.

After my hand/finger reconstruction it became impossible to reliably shoot a bow with a finger tab or glove. I have considered archery shooting left-handed even though I am right eyed dominant. I taught myself to shoot handguns left handed to a pretty decent level of proficiency while rehabbing my right hand. I am so comfortable with left handed handgun shooting I conceal carry mostly left-handed.

The hand surgery took over a year to rehab. It took literally a year to make a comfortable fist. It took me another 6 months to be able to swing a tennis racket without fear of snapping something. Because of the way my index finger healed I have to hold a tennis racket more or less like hammer. Can't spread my index finger and it does not naturally curl around the grip any longer. If I consciously squeeze my finger it works pretty good. I am darn lucky to be able to be swinging a racket so I am happy.
 

chic

Hall of Fame
I third getting a klippermate. Might be nice to shell out for their stand as well unless you have an old table to put it on you don't mind scratching up a bit.

I'm young and just string on the ground. But it gets to my knees and ankles. Probably much worse with age.
 

magnut

Hall of Fame
I third getting a klippermate. Might be nice to shell out for their stand as well unless you have an old table to put it on you don't mind scratching up a bit.

I'm young and just string on the ground. But it gets to my knees and ankles. Probably much worse with age.

good lord thats torture. I would bang my head on a wall before I did that. Go to a good will and pick up a piece of furniture. I just made my own stringing stand/storage cabinet.
 

chic

Hall of Fame
good lord thats torture. I would bang my head on a wall before I did that. Go to a good will and pick up a piece of furniture. I just made my own stringing stand/storage cabinet.
College housing, don't have the room for one :laughing: . But also I used to sit on my ankles for swimming and stringing helps me keep the foot flexibility up. And I string pretty fast so I don't mind.

But floor stringing is definitely not for most people.
 

magnut

Hall of Fame
College housing, don't have the room for one :laughing: . But also I used to sit on my ankles for swimming and stringing helps me keep the foot flexibility up. And I string pretty fast so I don't mind.

But floor stringing is definitely not for most people.

how about a TV tray. You can fold it up when your not useing it.

Sheesh... pay some midget if you have to to sit it on his head. Anything is better than stringing on the floor. I didnt even know that was possible. Are you made out of rubber? Makes my neck and back hurt just thinking about it. If you ever go to war and get captured your going to make a heck of a POW.

What do you do for real fun... walk on broken glass?
 

nicklane1

Rookie
I have had big expensive stringers. This monsterous electronic Gamma machine. It was nice but I eventually went back to my trusty old klippermate. Its just hard to beat a drop weight once you get the feel. No calibration.... no parts breaking.... portable..... simple..... efficient.

Stringing as a hobby? Do yourself a favor and pay someone to kick you in the nuts. It will be more enjoyable. Stringing is something you do out of necessity. You will go broke with stringing labor costs once you get good enough in tennis. I was breaking strings every 45 minutes. If I could own a slave he would be my full time stringer.

If your life is so bad that you are looking at stringing racquets for fun you might want to think about suicide LOL.
I have had big expensive stringers. This monsterous electronic Gamma machine. It was nice but I eventually went back to my trusty old klippermate. Its just hard to beat a drop weight once you get the feel. No calibration.... no parts breaking.... portable..... simple..... efficient.

Stringing as a hobby? Do yourself a favor and pay someone to kick you in the nuts. It will be more enjoyable. Stringing is something you do out of necessity. You will go broke with stringing labor costs once you get good enough in tennis. I was breaking strings every 45 minutes. If I could own a slave he would be my full time stringer.

If your life is so bad that you are looking at stringing racquets for fun you might want to think about suicide LOL.
That much fun, huh?
 

chic

Hall of Fame
how about a TV tray. You can fold it up when your not useing it.

Sheesh... pay some midget if you have to to sit it on his head. Anything is better than stringing on the floor. I didnt even know that was possible. Are you made out of rubber? Makes my neck and back hurt just thinking about it. If you ever go to war and get captured your going to make a heck of a POW.

What do you do for real fun... walk on broken glass?
I'm too afraid the dropweight would pull the whole set up off the table on a TV tray.

Fwiw I actually feel like my neck and back get a lot less strain being down on the ground because I can more naturally kneel over the machine. It's more my knees and ankles which get angry if I do more than one racquet. I plan on getting a beat up coffee table next time I move in a few months.
 

magnut

Hall of Fame
I'm too afraid the dropweight would pull the whole set up off the table on a TV tray.

Fwiw I actually feel like my neck and back get a lot less strain being down on the ground because I can more naturally kneel over the machine. It's more my knees and ankles which get angry if I do more than one racquet. I plan on getting a beat up coffee table next time I move in a few months.

how about one of those cheap two drawer filing cabinets. Then you can use it for storing things as well. I remember those days of living in a cell.... mine were military barracks..... sucks. I used to travel to play tournaments and had to sleep in the car. Took my stringer and strung on the trunk of my car more than once.... dont miss those days either so I know stuff like stringing can be a pain sometimes.

Eventually I am just going to teach my seven year old how to string. Turn him into my little stringing slave. He already cuts the broken ones out for me LOL.
 

Tar Heel Tennis

Professional
@LessLobiso - only you can determine if stringing as a hobby is a worthwhile pastime. As you have tried at least once to string a racket, then you should know if this is a hobby you will enjoy. Obviously everyone that is perusing this forum is a stringer, if not an enthusiast, you will unlikely find a negative response, other than magnut's first.
 

magnut

Hall of Fame
@LessLobiso - only you can determine if stringing as a hobby is a worthwhile pastime. As you have tried at least once to string a racket, then you should know if this is a hobby you will enjoy. Obviously everyone that is perusing this forum is a stringer, if not an enthusiast, you will unlikely find a negative response, other than magnut's first.

Magnut response is the only one that matters LOL.

Honestly... it was kind of fun for the first 20-30 racquets or so. Then It just felt like a chore. Every serious player needs to learn it though. Cost alone is reason enough. I would not have been able to afford to play if I had to pay someone growing up. Paper routes and bussing tables dont pay THAT much. Second biggest cost........ shoes.... and more shoes. I played a lot.

I think its great people want to learn it though. If your not constantly breaking strings most people wont get overwhelmed. Helps if you watch a movie or tennis while you do it.
 

chic

Hall of Fame
Yeah I don't necessarily enjoy it. But the savings alone make it worth it to do myself. Also, the option of having fresh strings and not playing on dead poly is very very nice.

That being said there is something relaxing about having a couple beers and throwing on music/ an audiobook/ a tennis match once a week and restringing my or a friend's racquet.
 
D

Deleted member 768841

Guest
I find it relaxing as well. It is a fun hobby and over the past few years has provided enough challenges to keep me interested.

Unlike most here I am not much of a string / setup tinkerer for my own racquets. I have found what I like and pretty much stuck with it. I do enjoy researching different strings and finding deals on string as well that I then let my friends who are more experimental try out.

I plan on keeping this hobby.
Thank you all very much for your advices.



I set my original budget at $200 because, from what I gathered, the cheapest machines cost a little over $200, and I was trying to see if I can get something lower. Looks like it will be easiest to just suck it up and buy a new Klippermate on TW.




I know stringing isn't the most exciting of hobbies. I once convinced my local tennis shop owner to let me try stringing a racquet, and I found it to be quite meditative. I may be in the minority, but I really enjoy the soothing and cathartic nature of casually rallying, or shooting around a basketball alone, while focusing on working on form. I find it interesting how one's mental state can be revealed in these repetitive skill intensive activities.
I must sound old AF there.

We found the true masters of Zen, Buddhism’s great leaders of peace and tranquility and inner peace.
 

chic

Hall of Fame
I was trying to see if I can get something lower. Looks like it will be easiest to just suck it up and buy a new Klippermate on TW.
I don't think tw sells them you'd have to go with a gamma progression or go to klipper's site directly (I recommend the latter). Should be under 200 without the table.

Depending where you are you could get lucky on Facebook market, Craigslist, or the classifieds. I got mine with all the tools for $80 local pick up. Then again with COVID that might be annoying to navigate. But cheaper options exist.
 

LessLobiso

New User
I don't think tw sells them you'd have to go with a gamma progression or go to klipper's site directly (I recommend the latter). Should be under 200 without the table.

Depending where you are you could get lucky on Facebook market, Craigslist, or the classifieds. I got mine with all the tools for $80 local pick up. Then again with COVID that might be annoying to navigate. But cheaper options exist.
Quite funny that I clicked buy on Klipper's website then immediately see this comment. Estimated delivery in 3-5 days. Wish the delivery guy luck.
 

Wes

Hall of Fame
@LessLobiso,
Klippermates are constantly on the big auction site for less than new - oftentimes with many extras included (additional tools, string, or sometimes that carry case thing that Klip also offers). Take a peek right now to see what I mean.

Edit: There's one on there right now for $100 + 70 shipping, that has extra tools and 13 packs of string included (worth at least $45 alone).
 
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chic

Hall of Fame
Quite funny that I clicked buy on Klipper's website then immediately see this comment. Estimated delivery in 3-5 days. Wish the delivery guy luck.
Tbh for how cheap it is there's a good chance being the original purchaser will be pay off in the long run. I've heard wonderful things about their customer service and you get a lifetime warranty.
 

fritzhimself

Professional
I don't think there are any machines or devices on this planet that you can string tennis racquets with that are of good quality where the device costs around $200.
There's a saying in Europe - "He who buys cheap - buys expensive"

 
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chic

Hall of Fame
Take a peek right now to see what I mean.

Ime the big auction site almost never makes up for the extra shipping they try to tack on (a klipper should cost around 25 to ship they usually have it around 70) the one up there now at 100 is bid not buy it now so it would quickly reach the cost of a new one.

"He who buys cheap - buys expensive"

Not sure this is true in this case. Drop weights are the least complex type of machine so the least prone to malfunction.

Flying clamps debate aside, it's really one of those the "simplest solution is often the best" situations.

Imo flying clamps are fine with most poly, in the tensions poly should be strung at, especially if you keep them clean. If I was stringing syn gut/multi for myself I would likely be singing a different tune though.
 
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Wes

Hall of Fame
Drop weights are the least complex type of machine so the least prone to malfunction.
Agreed.

Flying clamps debate aside, it's really one of those the "simplest solution is often the best" situations.
I hear what you're saying and, to a large extent, agree with the KISS principle.

However, the fact that the Klippermate's "jaws" (tensioner gripper) does NOT incorporate a clutch, or even a ratchet, means that users have to constantly guesstimate just how much string to load into the gripper jaws. There's no real easy way to make an adjustment, one way or the other.
Regardless of whether the bar is above, or below, horizontal, the user has to reload the jaws & try again.

With a clutch, or ratchet, drop-weight the user can make easy adjustments by starting with the bar in the down position and then "ratcheting up" to achieve horizontal.
I'm sure Klippermate users eventually get used to doing this (i.e. put up with it). After all, they have been for 35+ years.
 

chic

Hall of Fame
With a clutch, or ratchet, drop-weight the user can make easy adjustments by starting with the bar in the down position and then "ratcheting up" to achieve horizontal.
I'm sure Klippermate users eventually get used to doing this (i.e. put up with it). After all, they have been for 35+ years.
Clutch would be nice, but realistically with poly strings it's super easy to figure the right amount of slack. Especially when you're pretty consistent doing the same racquets and strings. Strechy strings are more annoying.
 

fritzhimself

Professional
Ime the big auction site almost never makes up for the extra shipping they try to tack on (a klipper should cost around 25 to ship they usually have it around 70) the one up there now at 100 is bid not buy it now so it would quickly reach the cost of a new one.



Not sure this is true in this case. Drop weights are the least complex type of machine so the least prone to malfunction.

Flying clamps debate aside, it's really one of those the "simplest solution is often the best" situations.

Imo flying clamps are fine with most poly, in the tensions poly should be strung at, especially if you keep them clean. If I was stringing syn gut/multi for myself I would likely be singing a different tune though.

It seems I've been stringing tennis racquets longer than you've been alive.
Maybe your perspective changes when you get older?
 

chic

Hall of Fame
It seems I've been stringing tennis racquets longer than you've been alive.
Maybe your perspective changes when you get older?
Maybe, I learned to string on a nice neos stringing for my college and didn't have any problem transitioning to a klipper when I decided I wanted to keep stringing for myself.

Easier stringing, but maintenance on that thing was far more annoying. I do miss fixed clamps but more for convenience than any tension complaints. It just doesn't take much to hold poly in the 40#s.

I'm curious if it's perspective that changes, or just the set up you're stringing.
 

bobleenov1963

Hall of Fame
Magnut response is the only one that matters LOL.

Honestly... it was kind of fun for the first 20-30 racquets or so. Then It just felt like a chore. Every serious player needs to learn it though. Cost alone is reason enough. I would not have been able to afford to play if I had to pay someone growing up. Paper routes and bussing tables dont pay THAT much. Second biggest cost........ shoes.... and more shoes. I played a lot.

I think its great people want to learn it though. If your not constantly breaking strings most people wont get overwhelmed. Helps if you watch a movie or tennis while you do it.

Magnut is correct in his response. It was fun for me with the first 50 racquets or so with my Alpha Ghost machine. After that, it is still fun but feel more like a chore. I hired a professional stringer to spend a couple of hours to teach myself and my kids how to string racquets properly. Now all my kids and nephews know how to string racquets on my Alpha Ghost machine very well. It works out quite well during this difficult pandemic time. They are playing with 18 gage string so it breaks every hour of playing time and they can string their own racquets with ease. It is a life time skill if you ask me.
 

chic

Hall of Fame
wow in the 40#- that's extremely soft - then you must be stringing up a hammock. :oops:
Not with poly. Most manufacturers (both string and racquet) are even changing their spec recommendations. Most polyester strings perform better in the 44-52 range than above that
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
I don't think there are any machines or devices on this planet that you can string tennis racquets with that are of good quality where the device costs around $200.
There's a saying in Europe - "He who buys cheap - buys expensive"

Totally disagree.

Bought entry level Klippermate almost 20 years ago, for l think $125 new. Mostly string for wife and myself, so probably average 1 stick every 2 weeks. Takes me about 50 minutes start to finish (cutting string, set up, grip change, everything).

Zero problems with stringing. Very consistent tension. Zero problem with machine. My experience is very different then your speculation.
 

esm

Legend
Totally disagree.

Bought entry level Klippermate almost 20 years ago, for l think $125 new. Mostly string for wife and myself, so probably average 1 stick every 2 weeks. Takes me about 50 minutes start to finish (cutting string, set up, grip change, everything).

Zero problems with stringing. Very consistent tension. Zero problem with machine. My experience is very different then your speculation.
I agree with this.

At the end of the day it is all depends on the person. You can get someone a top of the range stringer with all the bells and whistles, then produces low quality/Non-consistent string job when that someone has no idea/“useless”....
 

fritzhimself

Professional
If I do not have a comparison, I (usually) cannot judge whether something is right or wrong.
I string about 500 racquets for high level players, not exactly for people who have only been playing tennis for a few years.
These people know very well with which string and with which hardness they want to play.
You can't do that with a "Klippermate".
Was booked for a Davis Cup competition in 2018 and also strung for ATP's.
Furthermore I can measure with my equipment e.g. a RDC the SBS and draw my conclusions.
At the moment I use the Head TE -3300 and I have a Prince 6000 as a backup machine.
I am still of the opinion that if you get money for your services, you need the best equipment.
 

chic

Hall of Fame
O
If I do not have a comparison, I (usually) cannot judge whether something is right or wrong.
I string about 500 racquets for high level players, not exactly for people who have only been playing tennis for a few years.
These people know very well with which string and with which hardness they want to play.
You can't do that with a "Klippermate".
Was booked for a Davis Cup competition in 2018 and also strung for ATP's.
Furthermore I can measure with my equipment e.g. a RDC the SBS and draw my conclusions.
At the moment I use the Head TE -3300 and I have a Prince 6000 as a backup machine.
I am still of the opinion that if you get money for your services, you need the best equipment.
Oh, I mean if you're getting paid by anyone beside friends at the very least you should be trained pretty well and probably you should have access to a nicer machine. If not for their sake, for your own.

But plenty of dropweight owners have used racquetune or w.e that iPhone app is and shown they can get a consistent string bed.
 

bobleenov1963

Hall of Fame
If I do not have a comparison, I (usually) cannot judge whether something is right or wrong.
I string about 500 racquets for high level players, not exactly for people who have only been playing tennis for a few years.
These people know very well with which string and with which hardness they want to play.
You can't do that with a "Klippermate".
Was booked for a Davis Cup competition in 2018 and also strung for ATP's.
Furthermore I can measure with my equipment e.g. a RDC the SBS and draw my conclusions.
At the moment I use the Head TE -3300 and I have a Prince 6000 as a backup machine.
I am still of the opinion that if you get money for your services, you need the best equipment.

I completely agree with you on this. I spent almost 3K for the Alpha Ghost machine and and another $200 for 4 hours of stringing lesson from a professional stringer. All of the people that know who have high end stringing machines all take stringing lessons from professional stringers. There are many features in the high end machines that you will not find on klippermate. I love the pre-stretch function on high end machines and how accurate they are comparing to a $200 stringing machine. You do get what you pay for.
 

bobleenov1963

Hall of Fame
O

Oh, I mean if you're getting paid by anyone beside friends at the very least you should be trained pretty well and probably you should have access to a nicer machine. If not for their sake, for your own.

But plenty of dropweight owners have used racquetune or w.e that iPhone app is and shown they can get a consistent string bed.

consistent has a very wide range. The world has moved on from analog over to digital many years ago. High end machines like Prince 7000 and Alpha Ghost are MUCH more expensive than $200 Klippermate for a reason.
 
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