Tourna 300-CS Stringing Machine - Initial Impressions

Arvin_C

New User
Hello all! I just did my first 5 racquets on my Tourna 300-CS machine and wanted to give a write-up on my initial impressions as there seems to be a bit of interest in this machine in this forum. As a bit of background, I decided to go with the Tourna versus similarly priced machines because of the self-leveling 6-point mounting system it has, which I grew to favor from my days stringing professionally on Babolat Star 3/4/5 machines. AFAIK, this the only machine with this mounting style at the sub-$1000 price point that does not come from Eagnas. I am also planning on converting my CS-300 to an electronic constant-pull with the Wise 2086 Tension Head in the future.

UPS dropped off my stringer this past Tuesday. It comes in one box, about 65 lbs. and is very well packed with multiple layers of Styrofoam sheets protecting the machine and cardboard boxes holding the accessories and stand sections. When you unpack the box, the entire table assembly, including the tensioner and tensioner "rail", comes out in one piece. The only thing that needs to be assembled is the stand, which involves mounting the column to the base, attaching the tool tray and inserting the height-adjustment knob. Once that's done, you lower the table assembly onto the column, tighten up the height-adjustment knob to your preferred height and insert the V-supports and clamps onto the table. The tensioner comes with the tension brake fixed for shipping and the tension set to its lowest setting of 9 lbs. Total time for unpacking and assembly was about 40 minutes. The machine was free of any defects that I could tell...no missing parts, no scratches or dents and everything went together as described in the adequate assemble guide. One interesting "surprise" is that the quality of the paintwork is very high...the paint is thick, smoothly finished and glossy. All tools needed for assembly were included, as well as bolt and hex wrenches to de-assemble the table and tensioner for repair and maintenance. A straight awl and needle nose pliers are also included...not the highest quality, though. The machine itself is made in Taiwan, most likely by Xpider.

I checked the tensioner using a spring-based calibrator and found it to be spot on with the "54" setting on the tensioner showing almost level to the "55" mark on the calibrator. The over-all quality of the machine is very high for this price point. The metal work is very good...there are no edges that are rough or unfinished. Of particular importance, the table surface is machined very well, with the clamps' swiveling action being free and smooth all along their tracks. Even the tensioner's fairing is metal, not the high-impact plastic of the earlier Ektelon H/Neos machines I have experience with. Clamps are spring assisted with micro-adjustment dials...the levers operate with a very positive action making it easy to set just the right amount of force needed to prevent string slippage without causing any damage. The mounting support arms are big and machined extremely well, with multiple options to fit the V-supports for not only placement, but angulation as well. The adjustments for all the mounting support functions are done with knobs...this is a very ergonomic and easy-to-use machine.

Since Tuesday evening, I've strung a 3-stripe Prince Original Graphite with Ashaway Crossfire ZX Tour (Poly/Zyex hybrid at 50/56 lbs.), 2 new-old-stock Wilson Profile 3.0's with Gamma Livewire XP17 and Glide hybrid (60 lbs.) and 2 Yamaha Secret 04's with Forten Thin Blend (Kevlar/Synthetic hybrid at 54/58 lbs.). The machine was simply a joy to use. It was very evident that the clamps, their swivel bases and the tensioner were a bit stiff starting off, but by the fourth racquet, things have loosened up quite nicely. I did have to put some Tri-Flow lubricant in the ball-races of the linear string gripper as it had some sticking issues releasing the string after releasing the tensioner brake...this was a quick and easy fix that eliminated the sticking issue completely. Aside from that, there were no issues: table rotation is smooth and free, the clamps and tensioner work great and the mounting system is simply awesome...no slippage, movement or deformation.

Prior to actually getting my Tourna delivered and set-up, I was wondering about two things: "How much machine could I be getting for $995.00?" and "What would the fit-and-finish level be?" Well, first, it turns out that the 300-CS operates every bit as good any lock-out/crank machine I've ever used, with the added plus of that self-leveling mounting system you can't get at this price point. And, two, the quality of the machine and how it's been manufactured is excellent...it's every bit as good, or better, as similar machines from Gamma, Alpha, etc.

I bought the Tourna 300-CS for use as my personal machine and, in this capacity, it's hard for me to think that there could be a better machine...new...for under a grand.

Arvin C
 

Heck

Rookie
Thanks for this post. I have a Tourna 300-cs arriving tomorrow. It will be a serious upgrade for me from a simple Gamma Progression II drop weight. I may do a video of the unboxing for my Yt channel.
 

Arvin_C

New User
Thanks for this post. I have a Tourna 300-cs arriving tomorrow. It will be a serious upgrade for me from a simple Gamma Progression II drop weight. I may do a video of the unboxing for my Yt channel.
Hello, Heck! I think you will find the 300-CS to be a real pleasure to use. Please let us know what you think and if you do upload a video as well.

Good luck!

Arvin C
 

Arvin_C

New User
This thing feels built like a tank. I have to get used to it but it was simple to assemble as you can see in the video and get a fancy look at it.
Nice video, Heck...will definitely tell anyone interested in the 300-CS to check it out! Thanks for sharing...

Arvin C
 

Arvin_C

New User
@Heck - Yes, I know...the white/red/silver color scheme looks great and is so different from the rest of the machines out there. The paint quality is good as well...should stand up to lots of use.

I have about twenty racquets done so far...all my own...and feel like I’ve gotten to about 85% of what I had been doing time-wise back in my professional stringing days. I really enjoy using the machine...it’s so solid, gives a great feeling when pulling tension.

I’m going to order my Wise Tennis Head once I’m finished moving cross country, most likely in October. I’m also trying to figure out how I can order the Xpider Down Press clamp bases...


...but haven’t been able to get an email back from them in Taiwan. Will probably have to call them direct. With these clamp bases & the Wise, I will have all the machine I could ever need.

Hope you’re enjoying your machine!

Arvin C
 
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Arvin_C

New User
Whoa the press down clamps eh? Love the bases of Tourna machines. So smooth.
Yes...Tourna will be getting them in soon and will evaluate them on some of their machines. Cost is $400/pair. Pricey...but gravity-release bases are so nice!
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
Nice, the Xpider clamp base is functionally the same as the clamp bases on the Mighty Sensor Dual. The clamp bases for the Mighty Sensor were $600/pair. So don't feel too terribly bad. ;)
 

QTa

New User
Hi. I just bought the same Tourna machine recently. Can you tell me how smooth your crank tension head moves? Mine seems to be a bit jerky. Seems to almost stick or grind at times. It is nowhere near as smooth as a Gamma I had also. Did I get a defective unit?
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Hi. I just bought the same Tourna machine recently. Can you tell me how smooth your crank tension head moves? Mine seems to be a bit jerky. Seems to almost stick or grind at times. It is nowhere near as smooth as a Gamma I had also. Did I get a defective unit?
Check the LO brake adjustment.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Sorry, I am fairly new to LO tension heads. What/where/how do you adjust the brake?
The procedure should be in the owners manual if you can't get it I would call Unique Sports and ask them to talk you through it. If the brake is too tight it may grab before it engages and if it is not tight enough it may slip after lockout giving you a low tension.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Unique Sports may have some other tips for you. I didn’t think to ask but I assume you are in the US or that will be an international call. There number is (770) 442-1977
 

QTa

New User
Thanks again Irvin. I'm actually in Canada. Bought the machine from big rain forest. I bought the it for 1k cdn which is a lot cheaper than retail. Now considering if I should keep it or not due to the tension head issue.

I'm no expert but seems to me as tho the brake has nothing to do with it. It runs along the track but has too much tension as though the disk is being pressured. Also skips or jumps off the track if turned too quick once in awhile. I'll keep at it and see.

Because I got it so cheap, I may just keep it anyway and add a wise to it.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
@QTa, you’re correct. The brake won’t have anything to do with this. It sounds to me as if the disc is out of round. The disc is what the pads inside the tension head clamp down on when tension is reached. It may be the disc pads are set too close to the disc or as I said it’s out of round.
If the machine is under warranty you should be able to send just the tension head in for repair or replacement.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Thanks again Irvin. I'm actually in Canada. Bought the machine from big rain forest. I bought the it for 1k cdn which is a lot cheaper than retail. Now considering if I should keep it or not due to the tension head issue.

I'm no expert but seems to me as tho the brake has nothing to do with it. It runs along the track but has too much tension as though the disk is being pressured. Also skips or jumps off the track if turned too quick once in awhile. I'll keep at it and see.

Because I got it so cheap, I may just keep it anyway and add a wise to it.
I’m not talking about the turntable brake but the LO brake. On some machines there are 2 different disc with pads. There is one for the turntable and another for the LO function. I’m not sure but I don’t think the Tourna 300 has a disc brake but I’m sure the LO tensioner has a disc brake. If the pads are adjusted too close and they rub against the disc they could cause your issue.
 

QTa

New User
Thanks Irvin and Rabbit. You guys are right I think. Seems the brake caliper(?) is rubbing the disc in certain positions due to the disc not being completely flat (wobbling). There's a lot of brake dust on my floor after stringing a few racquets. Is there an easy fix for this on my end or best have it sent out?
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Thanks Irvin and Rabbit. You guys are right I think. Seems the brake caliper(?) is rubbing the disc in certain positions due to the disc not being completely flat (wobbling). There's a lot of brake dust on my floor after stringing a few racquets. Is there an easy fix for this on my end or best have it sent out?
Do you have an owners manual?
 

QTa

New User
@Irvin, I have looked into this and have made adjustments. I'm convinced it's not the brake. I believe it is the gear wheel and track friction. If I remove the tension head, it spins freely but struggles when on the track. I don't know if there is a fix for this
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Never heard of the big rain forest. If you bought it new I’d return it. But you said there is brake pad dust on the floor and that should not happen. That leads me to believe something with the brake is causing the issue. The brake disc rides on the crank axle maybe the axle is off center or something. As I remember the tensioner has three roller w/bearing that rides on the crank arm. As tension build on the string the string tilts the gripper up to lock the brake. Maybe there’s too much plat somewhere. If it’s new I’d certainly return it.
 

Arvin_C

New User
@QTa - Before you return it, give Gary at Tourna a call. He may be able to work out a solution without you having to take the whole machine apart and packing it back up. As it's new and still fully under warranty, I'm sure Tourna can come up with a solution.

Good luck!
 

Arvin_C

New User
@QTa - FWIW, I bought my 300-CS from the rainforest site as well. Before pulling the trigger, I made sure that they were an authorized Tourna dealer (they are), so you should be covered both ways. Hope it all works out...it really is a great machine.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
Nope. Did not know African continent was the source for the Tourna-CS. I would believe Bolivian Rain Forest in South America! :p [j/k]
 
Is anybody else’s 300-CS extremely rickety and unstable? I can’t for the life of me get all four feet to stay put on the ground without rocking back and forth. Any suggestions? Thanks.
 

ngvietquan

New User
@QTa - FWIW, I bought my 300-CS from the rainforest site as well. Before pulling the trigger, I made sure that they were an authorized Tourna dealer (they are), so you should be covered both ways. Hope it all works out...it really is a great machine.
How has your experience been with this machine? Do you have any problem with it so far? I have read somewhere that this machine and the popular Alpha Apex Speed are very similar, can you comment on if there is any difference between the two?

Thanks!
 

satchmo_d

New User
I picked up a 600 a month or so ago and have been impressed. Mine doesn’t have the tray beneath and I’d like to add it, need to figure out how to order that as a replacement part.
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
Is anybody else’s 300-CS extremely rickety and unstable? I can’t for the life of me get all four feet to stay put on the ground without rocking back and forth. Any suggestions? Thanks.
a pack of wood shims is about $2.00 at home depot, etc. works like a charm.
 

struggle

Legend
Usually, the feet are threaded in and therefore adjustable to a degree. Add a nut on the post and you can then
lock them in place at the length/height you need to compensate for uneven floors, etc.
 

struggle

Legend
I picked up a 600 a month or so ago and have been impressed. Mine doesn’t have the tray beneath and I’d like to add it, need to figure out how to order that as a replacement part.
That's very odd. If you bought it new, i'd contact the seller or supplier. I've never seen a decent upright without a tool tray.
 

Wes

Professional
I picked up a 600 a month or so ago and have been impressed. Mine doesn’t have the tray beneath and I’d like to add it, need to figure out how to order that as a replacement part.
See here...

That's very odd. If you bought it new, i'd contact the seller or supplier. I've never seen a decent upright without a tool tray.
The 600-ES does come with a tool tray. As is the case on the majority of eCP machines, it's found up near the tension module (and not particularly big).

It's just that the 600-ES doesn't come with the same type of tool tray found "down below" on the vast majority of LO/crank machines (like the one found on their 300-CS).
However, that kind of tray can be purchased & added to the 600-ES (see link above).
 

satchmo_d

New User
Yes, the “tool tray” on the 600 is all but useless and I find that the strings often wrap themselves around tools while I’m stringing and they end up on the floor. I’ll head to Unique this week to pick up the new tray.
 

struggle

Legend
See here...



The 600-ES does come with a tool tray. As is the case on the majority of eCP machines, it's found up near the tension module (and not particularly big).

It's just that the 600-ES doesn't come with the same type of tool tray found "down below" on the vast majority of LO/crank machines (like the one found on their 300-CS).
However, that kind of tray can be purchased & added to the 600-ES (see link above).
AHHHH, I DIDN'T PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS!!! ((oops, didn't meean to shout).
 

Westerwick

New User
Based on the glowing recommendations from Arvin and some others, I also picked up a 300 cs. Ordered it from Clarke Distributing, who gave me the best price and had it on my doorstep in just a few days. I also liked the Alpha Apex and Gamma 5000 machines, but with the way everyone else (particularly Alpha) does shipping, they came to a few hundred more that I couldn't justify.

This was a replacement for an elderly Alpha Pioneer III, which is kind of like a poor man's Neos with a drop weight. I've done a few racquets now, so would like to add my first impressions as well.

I really like the self leveling feature as Arvin described. I was worried at first since it didn't have the positive hold down, but racquets are very very secure. The crank was within a pound of tension from my calibrator, and easy to adjust to put it right on. The clamps work really nicely, and I have no real desire to have the gravity assist feature--I'd rather be able to torque them down. The turntable is smooth, love the lock. Works so much faster than my old drop weight machine.

I do have some suggestions and criticisms for both Xpider and Tourna. First, I am going to assume that as with most East Asian production, the design comes from the buyer and they build to print. Apparently this is very similar to one of the Eagnas machines and the old Jazz model, so Tourna may have just inherited the design. I've done enough work with Asian production to say that any engineers that trust details to the producers are either fools or are very naive. There are several cases in point with the 300 cs where Tourna needs to go back to the producer and tell them how to do things correctly. Here we go:

1) Stapeltonj and Struggle had a discussion about the unit being wobbly. True enough about the feet, but part of this is just sloppy production. The square post for the main unit fits into the stand with a LOT of slop--nearly 5 mm clearance, so that it is nearly impossible to tighten it down completely. This is just sloppy production, but easy enough to fix with a roll of duct tape to increase the size of the tail so it fits in snugly.

2) Along with 1), they advertise that the height is adjustable. Yes, but you can only get about 5 cm high to low, which is hardly worth talking about. Adding another 20 cm or so to the tail would actually allow some reasonable height adjustment and stability to boot, and add essentially nothing to cost or weight.

3) The tool tray is nice, but again suffers from fit and finish issues. The tray opening to bolt on is about 4 mm larger than the post, so in order to clamp it down solidly you end up bending the bosses on the tray. You might say that the washers go in the inside next to the post, but this makes it impossible to assemble. Once it is torqued down it is nice and solid though.

4) The hook for a string reel below the tray is really not very useful and gets in the way. Replaced with a bolt so it doesn't snag on things.

5) They put a stop on the front side of the crank so that you can't get the crank too close to the unit. An easy mod (about 15 minutes with a drill press and tap) is to put another M6 x 1.0 hole about 9 cm closer. This lets you use the full range of the gear track, which is handy to get closer when you are doing crosses and small jobs like racquetball racquets. I keep a 6 mm thumbscrew handy to put into the original hole when I am doing large racquets.

Saying all that, I think the Tourna 300 cs was the best deal around for the capability, ease of use and solid construction. I have no regrets about buying it, find it much much easier and faster than its predecessor, and plan on getting years of good use out of it.
 
I have a 300 cs and it does not have an adjustment/stopper screw on the gripper. The manual shows an adjustment screw and the description on the website mentions an adjustable gripper but I have seen no cs 300 in pictures (or mine) have one. There is another thread about a Alpha machine not having a gripper stopper and that that machine deforms the strings by gripping the strings too tightly. After reading that thread I paid more attention to the gripper on the 300 cs and its affects on the strings and indeed it deforms them at higher tension. Anybody else have this problem? I would assume everybody with this machine would since none of them have a gripper stopper/adjuster screw. (Btw- a often mentioned stop gap workaround with a folded business card doesn't really work well here.)
 
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