Evaluations of the Laserfibre MS200 TT Eco:
Terry Williams, March 24, 2007:
Place of purchase: Laserfibre
Date of purchase: 10/2005
Warranty: 10 years
Tabletop, drop weight, constant pull, 2 floating clamps (have since upgraded to dual-action fixed clamps), 4/5 point mounting system (inside support)
This stringer is solidly built with lots of cast/machined/extruded
components. The LaserFibre MS200 TT-Eco is very, very stable (read: heavy). I originally purchased the MS200 TT-Eco
stringer ($450 in 2005), which is LaserFibre's model that is next to the lowest in the line. This stringer is an
amalagm of the TT and Eco models. It mostly constructed of TT components and, hence, is upgradeable to the TT model,
where the Eco can only have an upgraded clamping system. Though it works the same, the Eco is a very different stringer.
It has a different base, shorter turntable, different tensioner pillar, and a different mount. So, it cannot be
upgraded to the TT. The TT has a wider, more adjustable mount; a longer turntable to handle longer racquets; and a more
innovative gripper. The TT-Eco is LaserFibre's attempt to create a very good lower cost stringer that can be upgraded
to the TT. I had previously owned a Gamma Progression drop weight stringer and an ATS Super Stringer.
The Super Stringer was my first machine and, as such, was a great stringer for learning. If you have to travel with a
stringer the ATS is nice and compact. I liked the mounting system of the Gamma, but neither machine is nearly as
well-built as the TT-Eco. The TT-Eco comes with a cast aluminum turntable. I believe the Progression's was extruded.
It seemed lighter and less stiff. The TT-Eco's is much beefier. So are the mount towers. The mount towers on the
TT-Eco are cast aluminum, not extruded and not pre-formed. The TT-Eco uses much larger, finer threaded adjusters
and hold-downs than the Progression. But, it weights about 10 pounds more.
The TT-Eco (as do all the manual LaserFibre stringers) has a unique tensioning system. These drop weight stringers
do not require the tension arm to be perfectly horizontal. You can position the tension arm during a pull from
about 2:30 o'clock to 3:30 o'clock and get very close to your reference tension between that range. Being a little
skeptical, I verified this with a fish scale tension calibrator and it did seem to be true. 2:30 o'clock gave
the about the same indication on the scale as 3 and 3:30 o'clock. I found that you will lose tension if the arm
descends too far. But, 4 o'clock is 30 degrees below horizontal. That is quite a steep angle. At 4 o'clock the
reading seemed to be about 3 lbs less. Enough to screw up your string job. But, this has rarely been a problem for me.
This one fact cuts my stringing time down by at least 30%. With other drop weight tensioners (i.e. Gamma, ATS, Eagnas,
etc.) you are supposed to ensure that the tension arm is perfectly horizontal to get your reference tension. If you
don't get it right the first time, then you need to reset the string and pull again. Any difference from horizontal
destroys the accuracy of the pull. Until you get very good at eyeballing the amount of string through the gripper,
you will undoubtedly have to try again on many pulls. What a pain! With the TT-Eco if the tension arm is drooping a
little bit, I don't worry. Another thing to consider with other stringers is that the machine should to be level if
you are really seeking a horizontal tension arm. There isn't garage floor in the USA that is level (by design and
code). Not having a level platform for your stringer means that what you eyeball as horizontal may, in fact, not be.
Though, the tension difference may not be very great for a couple of degrees it gets exponentially worse. So, if for
example, 2 degrees is 1 lb different, 3 degrees won't be 2 lbs different, it will probably be 2.5 lbs different, 4
degrees will likely be something like 5 lbs, and so, on. Don't shoot me here, I don't know what the actual numbers
would be. But, I think you get the idea. Get help from a physicist if you want to know the exact force at a given
angle. Anyway, that is why manufacturers say it is very important to make sure the tension arm is as close to
horizontal as possible. So, your tabletop should to be level, too. That means that you will likely need to shim the
table and/or the stringer. You will need to check this each time you setup the stringer and if you move the stringer
you should re-level it. None of this is necessary with the LaserFibre TT-Eco. All because the weight can be lowered to
just about any reasonable angle to get your reference tension. My string jobs feel much more consistent than with the
other stringers. Some of that might have been because I was using flying clamps with the other stringers, but I had
the same impression before I upgraded the TT-Eco to a fixed clamp system.
The default clamping system for the TT-Eco and the Eco is a flying clamp system. Either can be upgraded to a fixed
or dual-action clamping system. The LaserFibre flying clamps are excellent. They are so much better than the Gamma
composite clamps that I just about threw the Gammas out. The LaserFibre's are metal, they don't slip or crush the
string and they infinitely adjustable. Gamma's are ratchetted and so, can be finicky to adjust. I upgraded my TT-Eco
to a dual action clamping system ($200). This utilizes single string clamps that are similar to the flying clamps, but
are attached to glide bars on the side of the turntable. They also do not slip or crush the string. The upgrade was
simple. This system has significantly decreased my racquet stringing time (1-1.5 hrs, now 35 min.) and improved the
stringer's accuracy in tension, as more tension is lost through the flying clamp system (fixed clamps don't move as
much as flying clamps). One downside of the dual-action clamps is the locking mechanism on the glide rails. The
locking levers hinge vertically from 3 o'clock to 12 o'clock and have a black knob that sometimes conflicts with
weaving cross strings. I think a side-moving (horizontal) locking mechanism would've been a better choice. But, they
don't slip and have an adjustment screw if they ever do get loose.
The default mounting system for the TT-Eco and the Eco consists of a 4-point, inside the frame, support mechanism with
supports at 11, 1, 5, and 7 o'clock. The TT includes a 5th inside support at the 12 o'clock position. Stringway
(who makes the stringer for LaserFibre) swears by these inside frame supports. Their argument is that, even with
outside support, mounting supports at 12 & 6 o'clock cause the frame to distort when pulling the mains. Seems to
make some sense to me, but I don't see it as a huge problem. Though, I am not going to argue with the design goals.
Lots of other stringers have 2 mounting points on the inside of the frame at the 12 & 6 o'clock positions and I
have witnessed racquet frames distorting and twisting when strung. But, I haven't seen too many break. I don't see a
lot of distortion with the TT-Eco. To each his own, I suppose. The one issue that I have with this mounting system is
that it is not very easy to mount a racquet correctly. Other systems take me about 2-4 minutes. The TT mounting system
takes me about 6-10 minutes. What takes the extra time is that there are about 10-12 details that you must check and
adjust to mount the racquet and when you adjust one, it affects another. Though, it isn't difficult to understand, you
need to take care to make sure the racquet is in the mount correctly. Otherwise, the racquet may shift, break (not yet;
fingers crossed), or you can damage the finish. None which are good. Stringway could've done a better job here. But,
the mount holds the racquet very well, with little distortion if any, once the racquet is correctly mounted.
This stringer is made by Stringway and sold by LaserFibre here in the U.S. LaserFibre provides excellent support for
their products. This stringer is no exception. Tim Sullivan at LaserFibre will bend over backwards to help with
problems, parts replacement, and upgrades. Stringway is extremely lucky to have LaserFibre as their U.S. partner.
One example of why they are lucky is the absolutely ridiculous Owner's Manual that Stringway produces for the TT.
If you mistake it for a piece of packing paper and throw it away, don't worry. You didn't mistake it. It is a 2 page
document in poorly written broken English with a crappy diagram. I wouldn't even bother using it for assembly. There
really aren't any stringing instructions either. If you have problems assembling the stringer or problems using it,
call LaserFibre. LaserFibre will set you straight in 10 minutes. If it weren't for LaserFibre, no one in the U.S.,
but those who speak French, would be using this racquet stringer-IMHO. Talk to LaserFibre, then use your Stringway
Owner's Manual to wipe up a spill and toss it in the waste bin. For the cost of the stringer, the manual is a disgrace.
I was more than happy that I didn't have a Stringway instruction guide for the upgrades. It wouldn't have helped. Tim
at LaserFibre, on the other hand, was a great help.
This is one of the most (if not the most) expensive tabletop, drop weight stringers being sold today. But, it is by
far, better than any other that I have tried (Gamma, ATS cheapy, Eagnas). To my mind the money was worth it. Though,
other stringers come with tools and what not, but I think the value in this stringer is its consistency and ease of
operation (except the mount) and its sturdiness. I sometimes change string just to try something new and it is nice
to only have to pay for string and not someone else's time. If I don't like the string I can just cut it out and do
it again. When my elbow was hurting it was a big help to be able to change tension and gauge at will. Any stringer
will buy you these advantages, but the MS200 TT-Eco is way out front for quality and engineering in my opinion.
Check here for an excellent pictorial description: http://www.keohi.com/tennis/reviews.htm
IMHO-Stringway should pay keohi.com for the excellent guide to their product.
Note that the information on this page reflects the personal subjective opinion of the evaluators. If you disagree, please send in your own opinion.