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Stringers Corner

Learn to String
Is it easy to learn to string?  You bet.  Anyone can learn how to string a racquet.  And ATS makes learning to string even easier.  With every stringing machine purchase, you'll receive several packages of free string to get started.  You'll also receive a complete owners manual with easy to follow directions so that you can learn how to use your machine fast.  In addition, each machine comes with a 20-page reprint of the United States Racquet Stringer's Association learn-to-string article "Getting Started."  And, as always, you can call ATS toll free at 1-800-866-7071 to receive technical assistance absolutely free. 
What Machine is right for me?
Stringing machines available from ATS range from $135 to $3499.  The less expensive machines generally take longer to string a racquet and require more effort.  Higher priced machines have multi-point mounting systems that better support the racquet during stringing. 
The easiest way to find the best stringing machine for you is to call 1-800-866-7071.   ATS sells more stringing machines than any other distributor in the world, and has done so for over 25 years.  All machines sold by ATS are tested by USRSA certified Master Racquet Technicians, ensuring that they will provide years of trouble-free service.
If you would like to do a little more research, here are some characteristics of stringing machines that are helpful to know: 
String Clamps
The most important feature of a string clamp is that it holds the strings securely yet gently, creating adequate holding force with minimal stress on the strings.  A good clamp will have a flat gripping surface across the teeth to provide uniform gripping pressure.  If a clamp dents a string, it creates a weak spot, which can result in premature breakage of that string right at the dent.  Choose clamps that have straight, even gripping surfaces.  Avoid clamps that are stamped out of sheet metal�these can have curved surfaces due to the stamping process and don�t distribute pressure evenly.  Clamps that are made from cast metal can also have curved surfaces caused by warping or shrinking during the casting process (see image below).  Avoid cast metal clamps unless they have undergone expensive machining or finishing of the gripping surface after casting, something that is almost never done.

There are two basic types of clamps to consider: floating clamps (sometimes called flying clamps) and fixed clamps.  Floating clamps are not attached to the machine, but instead clamp to a neighboring string for support.  Less expensive machines use floating clamps.  Fixed clamps, on the other hand, are directly mounted on the stringing machine.  They generally hold the tension in the strings better and are faster to use.  Fixed clamps are found on higher priced machines.  Fixed clamps that use a metal rod glide bar system (as opposed to fully adjustable rotary clamps) generally take longer to use and cannot properly accommodate fan-shaped or other irregular string patterns. 
Mounting Systems
Like string clamps, not all mounting systems are created equal.
The ATS 2-point mounting system is superior to others.  The ATS system provides the maximum amount of surface area in contact with the racquet, holding it securely in place.  Look for plastic and rubber surfaces that will protect a racquet�s finish. Avoid mounting systems where the posts can lean left or right, creating undo stress on the frame (see image below).

When using any 2-point mounting system, we recommend that you pull tension on main strings by alternating sides�left, right, left, right�to even out the load on the racquet frame and avoid frame distortion during stringing.  6-point mounting systems secure the frame evenly around the racquet hoop, which distributes tension loads more evenly across the racquet frame, which in turn reduces the chances of damaging the racquet. 
You�ll find that Gamma�s 6-point stringing machines have the most contact surface area, as well as padded surfaces that are gentle to a racquet�s finish.  In addition, the 4 points that secure the racquet at the shoulders are fully adjustable, so that they always contact the racquet with the maximum amount of support, not on an angle or an edge as found on other machines.  Finally, the 6-point Gamma machines provide the stringer the ability to fine-tune the head and throat positions after fixing the mounting system stands�a feature not available on all machines.
The 6-point mounting system�s shoulder bars open almost 180� wide and over 20 inches from head to throat, which means you can safely string every racquet on the market, even super-oversized racquets that exceed ITF regulations. 
The Turntable
A major element to any stringing machine�s mounting and clamping system lies at the base of the mounting system, called the turntable.   On many other machines, this can be a weak link; the strength and rigidity of the mounting and clamping systems depend on the strength and rigidity of the turntable.  Any movement or flex you get in the turntable will cause uneven string tension and distortion in the racquet.
On our 2-point machines, we use a heavy steel bar turned on end for maximum rigidity.  The mounting stands are keyed to these bars, ensuring that the racquet will be mounted on a flat surface that is parallel to the turntable of the machine.  Avoid machines that use round tubes or bars as turntables; the mounting stands can be at different angles from each other, resulting in an uneven surface on which to mount the racquet (see image below).

Do not buy a machine with a stamped sheet metal turntable.  Our aircraft-grade aluminum turntables are engineered to be extremely strong and rigid.  Additional reinforcements underneath the turntable allow them to withstand over one ton of pressure without distortion!  To get that kind of rigidity out of stamped sheet metal, the turntable would be prohibitively thick and heavy. 
Finally, all machines at ATS have turntables that permit the racquet to rotate a full 360�a feature not found on many other machines on the market.  This means that any machine you buy at ATS will be easier and quicker to use than other machines. 
Tensioning System
There are 3 basic types of tension pulling mechanisms in stringing machines: a drop weight, a manual winding spring tensioner, or an electric motor.  One of the most important requirements of any tensioning system is that the string be fed into the tensioner at the same angle with each pull.  This provides consistent tension in each and every pull.  All of the machines at ATS have either a roller guide (for manual linear gripper) or a round tension puller (for rotational gripping machines). 
Our drop weight machines feature a ratchet style gripper, which is essential for accuracy, consistency and speed.  Correct tension in a drop weight machine is found when the weight bar is parallel with the floor.  Elongation in the string and other factors almost always mean that correct tension can�t be pulled�unless the pulling system has a ratcheting action.  On machines without a ratchet, the stringer will have to clamp the string and then pull tension at least once more on that same string until the weight bar comes to rest parallel to the floor.  Our drop weight machines also feature tension scales that are permanently marked on the weight bars.  This is far better than adhesive labels that can be wrongly positioned or wear off.  Because drop-weight machines use gravity as their tension system, these machines never need calibrating.
Our manual wind spring tension machines are the finest on the market.  The rolling guide that channels the string into the parallel gripper bars rotates, reducing drag, which results in more consistent tension.  The gripper bars themselves are diamond coated to maximize grip while minimizing the pressure on the string.  Finally, the tensions from 11 lbs to 89 lbs are certified at the factory and are accurate to within one half of one pound.
The electric stringing machines feature all of the qualities of the other machines in the Gamma line.  Electric machines are popular with anyone who wants to string a racquet consistently and quickly.  They also pull a constant tension in the string until the string is clamped off.  Carefully investigate the tensioning system on any low-cost electric machines!  These machines are generally produced with inferior motors and tension control systems that will not be accurate, consistent or reliable. 
Final words
All machines that ATS offers have flat, diamond-coated string gripping surfaces.  Avoid machines that use serrated or grooved string gripping surfaces in their string tensioners or string clamps, as these can damage strings, resulting in premature breakage (see image below).



All machines that ATS offers rotate through a full 360 degree circle.  Avoid machines that are designed so that the racquet handle hits the gripper or other part of the machine.  Not only does this make it more difficult to string a racquet, it could result in damage to either the racquet or the machine.
ATS stringing machines are backed by a Limited Lifetime Warranty.   Gamma stringing machines are backed by a 5 Year Limited Warranty.  (Call us for more warrantee information.)  ATS also has machine repair technicians and Master Racquet Technicians on staff to help you with any questions you may have with your stringing machine or how to string racquets.  ATS also has the largest selection of grommets and bumper guards to meet your needs.
For more details about the complete line of machines, call 1-800-866-7071 or view our online selection of stringing machines.
    
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