Consistent Tensioning on a Lockout Machine

Consistent Tensioning on a Lockout Machine

Before electronic stringing machines, most of us probably learned how to string on a lockout machine, like the Ektelon H, now known as the Prince Neos 1000.

When I first learned, the teaching pro taught me to position the tension head close to the frame. However, turning the racquet on the turntable causes the tension head to move closer to and farther from the frame. So, I couldn’t consistently get the tension head close to the frame.

I decided to experiment.

Experiment #1      

First, I strung a racquet by positioning the tension head as close to the frame as possible for each string.

Too close

Experiment #2                           

Next, I strung a racquet by positioning the tension head far back away from the frame.

Guess which one had a higher string bed deflection? Most people guess the closer one. If you thought the farther one, you probably figured out that the 4-5″ of string between the frame and the tension head was getting pre-stretched before being installed.

The Final Experiment — Ensuring Consistent Tensioning  

I decided to place the tension head at a fixed position, like an electronic machine to create the starting point for tensioning each string.

Prince Neos 1000 with Removable Crank

  • Position the tension head as close to the frame as possible, but with enough clearance to avoid the tip riser.
  • Position the crank pointing up at 12:00.

All Other Machines with a Fixed Crank or 360⁰ Turntable

  • If your machine has a fixed crank, disengage the tension head from its track and rotate the crank pointing up at 12:00.
  • If your machine has a 360⁰ turntable, position the tension head about 3” away from the racquet, then position the crank pointing up at 12:00.

For either type of machine, make sure to return the crank to 12:00 after tensioning each string.

There may be some main strings in the throat area that will not allow you to start tensioning from the 12:00 crank position. If that’s the case, start pulling the string from as close to the 12:00 crank position as possible.

This simple technique will ensure truer, more consistent tensioning.

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