Racquet Tech: Maintain Your Investment
If you string racquets, your stringing machine is obviously vital to your business. If it breaks down, your income stops. For the most part, professional-level stringing machines are very reliable. A maintenance routine will ensure that your machine is operating at peak efficiency and will keep any problems to a minimum.
Since machines vary, we will just speak in general terms here, but be sure and check your machine’s owner’s manual to see if other steps may be required or if any of the information here is not valid for your machine.
Keep It Clean
Besides being detrimental to the efficient operation of your machine, dirt and grime send the wrong message to your client. Keeping your machine clean, as well as your workspace, will let your customers know that you care about your equipment and, importantly, their racquets.
For most machines, rubbing alcohol, a cloth and an old toothbrush are all you need to keep your machine clean. Dampen the cloth with the alcohol and rub down glide bars, glide rails or clamp plate surfaces to remove any buildups.
For glide bar clamps be sure to clean the bar jaw area, too. For fixed clamps, clean the post. On all clamps, use the toothbrush saturated in the alcohol to get into the clamp and brush away any build up of silicone, dirt and anything else that collects in the tight spaces.
Don’t forget to clean the pulling head jaws, your starting clamps and pliers jaws, too.
We recommend cleaning your machine after about every 25 string-jobs or whenever you see build up or experience clamp slippage. Keeping a log will make sure you stay on track rather than guessing at how long it’s been since the last clean up. If your workload is steady, pick a day and clean machines in the morning before you start to make sure you never go too long.
For electronic machines, it is a good time to run through the functions to make sure everything is operating as it should and that all displays and lights are functional. Manual machines need to be checked for wear around springs and all of the interactive parts. If your lock-out machine is not used on a daily basis it is a good idea to set the tension to near zero when not in use. This will relieve pressure on the spring and make it last longer.
Check Your Calibration
After cleaning is a good time to check the calibration of your machine to make sure your tension is accurate. If you have it set on 60, it should pull your calibration scale to 60. Otherwise, you will need to follow directions for your machine to re-calibrate.
Pick a good tension in the middle of your normal tension range. If you only string tennis racquets, checking at 50 or 60 is sufficient. However, if you also string badminton and/or racquetball racquets, you may also want to run a second pull at a lower tension just to make sure everything is spot-on.
See all articles by Bob Patterson
About the Author
Bob Patterson , the founder of the RacquetMAXX customization service, is a Master Racquet Technician with more than 20 years of experience. He was RSI's Stringer of the Year in 2005. He is Executive Director for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association.
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