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True-Tension Stringing Machines (TTSM)
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New Long Life Synthetic Rubber Brake Pads
(Updated 06/25/09)

Brake Pad History:

As some of you know there has been an increasing problem with the Brake Pads used on the True-Tension Stringing Machines that were manufactured in the 1990's right up until September of 2006. The Brake Pads from those years have been breaking down even if not used. At the same time older Brake Pads from the late 1970's and 80's, some over 30 years old, were still like new.

I became involved in the manufacture of the True-Tension Stringing Machines twelve years ago in early 1997 and I used the Brake Pad material that was supplied to me by Hanneke Hops who owned Tennis Associates at that time. That Brake Pad material was a generic off-the-shelf synthetic rubber that Tennis Associates started to use in the early 1990's. 

When I took over control of True-Tension after Hannekeís passing in February 2004 the TTSM Brake Pads became my main priority after the first cases of disintegrating Brake Pads started.  Knowing that I had a problem I sent out samples of the generic synthetic rubber material that was being used to be analyzed along with samples from the original Brake Pads from the late 1970's. While that testing was going on I also managed to find the original specs of the original Brake Pads from the late 1970's.

As of September 2006 I started using custom made long life Synthetic Rubber Brake Pad Material that should last up to 20 years or more without breaking down. To preclude mixing of materials used in my shop I have destroyed all the existing black generic synthetic rubber material that I had in stock. All the new Brake Pads are yellow in color, that might darken with age and will still eventually wear from years of heavy daily use, but the material wonít break down!  Every future batch will be a different color for batch identification.

The new long life Synthetic Rubber Brake Pad Material that Iím using now has been custom manufactured for me to John Balabanís original specifications and is much more expensive than buying generic off-the-shelf synthetic rubber. The generic Brake Pad Material used throughout the 1990's right up until September of 2006 could be easily cut into strips with long shears. Those same shears only put a temporary indentation in the new synthetic rubber material so Iíve had to have the strips cut by Extreme High Pressure Abrasive Water Jet which along with the custom manufacture of the synthetic rubber material increased my cost of manufacture considerably. I've had to increase the amount that I charge to overhaul Brake Assemblies from $35.00 to $45.00 for each assembly which for the active stringer will result in a cost savings as the once every year or two change of Brake Pads should be a thing of the past. Bear in mind that the $45.00 cost does not include re-plating, re-welding tabs, or repair of physical damage.

Warranty Note: If you bought a new or rebuilt Tensioning Assembly, or new or rebuilt TTSM Brake Assemblies from me, Jim Larsen, or had your TTSM Brake Pads replaced by me since I took over control of True-Tension Stringing Machines in March of 2004, I will replace the TTSM Brake Pads with the new long life Yellow Synthetic Rubber Brake Pads at no charge to you except for shipping costs. The new long life Synthetic Rubber Brake Pad Material will still eventually wear from heavy use but I'll warranty the new Brake Pads against breakdown (disintegration) for 10 years from the date of purchase.

Brake Pad Details:
On a properly maintained True-Tension Stringing Machine a quality Long Life Brake Pad should last for many years of stringing thousands of Racquets. When you consider the fact that the specially ordered Synthetic Rubber from which the Brakes Pads are manufactured comes in sheets that are 4' long and 5/16" thick. These sheets then have to be cut by extremely high pressure water jet to 4 foot long bars 0.635" wide from which I then have to cut to 0.500" lengths. After that the mating surfaces of both the Brake Pad and Brake Assembly Shoe have to be prepared for the adhesive, cemented together, and let cure overnight. Each Brake Assembly is then mounted in a one-of-a-kind grinding jig and each Brake Pad is custom ground, one at a time, using a Vertical Belt Grinder that guarantees that the proper Brake Pad contour and thickness are maintained.

Brake Assembly Shoes, like most everything manufactured in the world today, have a manufacturing dimensional tolerance per the original drawings that the Contouring Fixture corrects for when grinding the proper Brake Pad contour.  A properly ground Brake Pad makes up for that possible Brake Shoe Ī 0.010" dimensional tolerance. That's why finished Brake Assemblies have Brake Pads that might be slightly thicker or thinner than others when properly ground as no manufacturing dimensional tolerances are allowed between each Brake Assembly mounting hole centerline and the outer edge of the properly ground Brake Pad that contacts the Serrated Edge of the Main Control Wheel. This dimensional difference is hardly discernable to the naked eye but makes a real difference when you are stringing with high tensions!

You might not have any Brake Pad problems at all like many whose TTSMs were manufactured in the 70s and 80s but if your TTSM Brake Pads were manufactured since the early 1990's, are black in color, feel sticky, or you can cut into the Brake Pad with your fingernail, that Brake Pad needs to be changed!   Real problems with disintegrating Brake Pads are still showing up!

Overseas TTSM Owners:
Overseas TTSM owners have been using PayPal to pay for their TTSM parts and/or service which has worked well in the past. PayPal uses most of the Credit Cards in use today and doesn't cost you anything.

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Jim Larsen, Tel: (575) 756-2737

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This site is maintained by Jim Larsen -- last updated on 10/30/14