Stringing Machine Conversion
Posted 19th October 2019
Electronic stringing machines offer far greater accuracy than manual ‘lock-out’ machines, primarily due to the constant-pull technology offered that compensates for the string continuing to stretch after the set tension is reached. However, electronic machines are a significant investment (often upwards of £3,000) that only a full-time stringer doing high volumes of rackets may be able to justify. For a rookie stringer buying their first equipment on a limited budget, a cheaper drop-weight or crank machine is often the preferred choice, as these can be bought for as little as £250.
If volumes increase to more than a few rackets per week, speed and accuracy become priorities and stringers may look to upgrade their manual machines. Fortunately, there is a way to replace a cheap drop-weight or crank machine with an electronic equivalent, without discarding the old machine entirely. The Wise 2086 Electronic Professional Tension Head, produced by Wise USA, is designed to convert an existing manual stringing machine to a constant-pull machine. The Wise 2086 is compatible out of the box with nearly all crank, basic electronic and drop weight stringing machines. At a cost of $625 (around £500), it is also a budget-friendly option that is proving popular with stringers worldwide.
It only takes a few minutes to remove the existing manual tension mechanism and clamp on the Wise tension head. The following example shows the steps to retrofit a Penta Premium Stringer 8600 crank machine with the latest model of the Wise 2086 (version 14, on the market since March 2018). The steps are as follows:
- Attach the standard mounting bracket (for crank machines) to the Wise 2086 using the three screws and the Allen key supplied;
- Remove the 'stopper' screw at the end of the tension bar / gear rack, that prevents the crank tensioner travelling off the end of the bar;
- Remove the crank tensioner from the machine by simply sliding it off the tension bar;
- Slide the Wise 2086 onto the tension bar (it does not engage any pinion gears), ensuring the bar sits aligned between the slots of the mounting bracket;
- Position the Wise 2086 so that there is about 3 inches between the diablo and the centre support, or until it reaches the tension bar 'stopper' screw, allowing enough space for the turntable to swing;
- Tighten the mounting bracket using the two screws at its base;
- Reinstate the 'stopper' screw at the end of the tension bar.
When stringing, it is best that the string is pulled straight with minimum angle between the racket string bed and the gripper. Some drop weight machines and certain Gamma crank machines require a low or medium height adaptor plate, which mounts on the base of the Wise 2086 to raise it to the correct level. For the Penta Premium Stringer, no additional adaptor plate is required. With or without an adaptor, the steps above are generally applicable to all manual machines.