Upgrading my clamps - need guidance

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by ba4x, May 4, 2018.

  1. ba4x

    ba4x New User

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    Hi folks,

    I've been lurking TT for a while and just recently made an account - some of my questions cannot be answered merely by searching. (Or perhaps they can, and I can delete this post!)

    I picked up a frankenstein dropweight machine about 18 months ago on craigslist and have been stringing my frames frequently since then. I've learned a lot about quality string jobs, especially minimizing tension loss! Major landmarks on my journey have been: adjusting clamps properly, minimizing slack when tying knots, avoiding flying clamps and using fixed clamps whenever possible, buying a starting clamp to get the mains started properly. Oh and a big one: Putting the dropweight on in the right direction, so the damn arrow is pointing at the correct tension on the rod! Yikes, strung quite a few rackets with 13 lbs less tension than intended, this was a major oversight. I blame the craigslist seller for that one!

    Some details about my machine, which came from an old grandpa who must have coached tennis for some time. The mounting system is from a Silent Partner e.Stringer SC (photo). The baseplate has been sawed off just past the swivel base, then bolted down to a standard Klipermate drop weight machine (photo). The result is a machine with a 6 point mounting system, one fixed clamp, with a dropweight tensioner. I like the idea and admire the grandpa for his work. I'm guessing the electronic stringer crapped out at some point and was replaced with the trusty dropweight. I can post photos later this weekend, if the idea isn't clear.

    Anyways - I've been using my single fixed clamp for everything, and I'm starting to worry about it. It's a cone-lock style, and when tightening it against the rail, it will slip if not extra tight. I have to pay careful attention to the angle the swivel creates vs the tension on it: if the string's pull isn't directly into the clamp's base, a torque is created, and the clamp will slowly rotate out of place. This is worse when the clamp is tightened against certain areas of the rail, ie, the middle area has some recessed bolts, and this offers less surface area, or perhaps doesn't have a perfectly flat surface. Anyways, the cone-lock mechanism feels flimsy and gives out on me quite frequently. Even on the "good parts" of the rail, it's an issue. It sucks to release tension and have the fixed clamp MOVE on you. I often tighten the clamp so much that it's hard to release.

    My questions:
    -Do you see any straightforward way to replace/upgrade the fixed clamp?
    -Can I buy a new, identical, cone-lock clamp?
    -If so, which manufacturer should I look to? I suspect the Eagnas cone-lock clamps are the same as the Silent Partnet ones, they look the same, but I can't be sure.
    -Are there known compatibilities I can leverage to replace the cone lock clamp with a better one? I suspect I'll have to measure the rail quite carefully to see if a better clamp would fit. Here, again, it would be nice to know the origin of the Silent Partner clamps, and if they are identical to another more common brand.
    -Is it the case that cone lock clamps are just nasty in general, and an upgrade won't save me any effort?

    Thanks for the help.
     
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  2. ba4x

    ba4x New User

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    Photo of stringer the day I got it. Please pardon the wavy crosses and messy room:

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Jakesteroni

    Jakesteroni Rookie

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    My machine also has a cone lock. I was looking at upgrading to the spring assist. In most cases the manufacturer of these machines come from the same place with differences based on the brand name and their demand for a particular quality. Eagnas or racquet depot may have what you're looking for. Look up the spec of your clamp and there should be a mm measurement of some sort to match to what you have, but most are a standard size, just make sure not to buy the badminton one. Just requires removing of the bolt at the bottom of the clamp holder.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
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  4. ba4x

    ba4x New User

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    Thanks for the tip. It looks like an Eagnas part, just from the shape, the "Open/Close" label, etc.

    Edit: Upon closer inspection, the swivel clamp used on my machine is an extended version of the standard Eagnas conelock. This is because there is only one fixed clamp which has to reach the whole area, instead of two. Might make finding an equivalent replacement more difficult.

    Found this very spirited account of how Silent Partner was a rip off or "assault" on Eagnas: http://www.eagnasinc.com/maxfaq/qassault.html

    Turns out Eagnas made a 6 point machine with a single fixed clamp, as well. So if I can find a replacement Eagnas swivel clamp base from those couple models they produced in the early 2000's (Eagnas 70), then I'm golden! Hah.

    Looks like finding a replacement will be tough. I wonder if the surfaces need to be cleaned or machined flat. From that old photo I can see there was a lot of oxidation on the rail which I never cleaned off properly. I'll check it out.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
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  5. Jakesteroni

    Jakesteroni Rookie

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    I see from the picture there's a screw on top that's holding the locking lever. I would look to take it apart and clean it, maybe get a new bolts? The rest should still work fine. Can you take a picture of what the bottom looks like on the clamp?
     
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  6. ba4x

    ba4x New User

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    Yep, sounds like a plan. Time to disassemble the swivel base, inspect the mating surfaces. Maybe the hardware is messed up, if a washer is warped and applying uneven pressure, etc. Thanks for the input.
     
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  7. mmk

    mmk Hall of Fame

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    Search this forum for McMaster, eventually you'll find a list of parts for that type of fixed clamp. It won't be awesome, but the new parts should make it better, and they don't cost too much.
     
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  8. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Adding another machine clamp would not be easy even if you could find one. Nothing wrong with only having one clamp. Flying clamps should not be that bad.

    One question though, why use the flying clamp on the crosses?
     
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  9. ba4x

    ba4x New User

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    I should have excused the odd flying clamp in the photo as well. As I mentioned, that was just after getting the machine, watching some youtube videos published by klippermate, and stringing my first few jobs. I went for a while just using the flying clamps until I realized the benefit of that fixed clamp. It's so much better! The "draw-back" is significantly less with the fixed clamp. Now that I use it exclusively (all mains and all crosses), the string jobs are noticeably tighter.

    To revisit the clamp slippage issue: I disassembled the rail last night, soaked it in hot soapy water, and went to town with a nylon brush and some 150 grit emery cloth. Tons of orange/red dust and sludge came off. It's looking much cleaner now. I imagine the slippage was primarily from the oxidized surface.

    The bottom of the swivel clamp looked totally fine. I believe it's aluminum. I wonder if aluminum on steel offers a higher coefficient of friction? Or perhaps they made that choice to avoid the two binding together.
     
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  10. jwocky

    jwocky Rookie

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    Aluminium + Steel + contact
    = could lead to galvanic corrosion.
     
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  11. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    How do you do all the mains with 1 clamp? Do you have a starting clamp also?
     
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  12. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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  13. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    I knew you could do it using starting clamps, but that really seems time-consuming.
     
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  14. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    I would think it’s easier with flying clamp(s) but I think the guy in the video should get off his knees. I wonder is that the highest table he has.
     
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