let's design our own tensioner. the WISE is affordable and all but hardly the best when it comes to quality. it is slow, noisy and the controls are 1980's and limited. wouldn't it be awesome if we can design and build our own, using as much off-the-shelf component as we can. there are many design aspects and choices that needs to be made, now here are the ideas i have so far: drive system: this is by far the soul of the whole design. ball screw - the gold standard that is used by many stringing machines including the ES5Pro's is a tension head mounted on a ball screw. this is well tested system and we can buy ball screw off ebay or wherever. there are different quality of ball screws we just need to find the suitable one. linear belt drive - this is an alternative that could be interesting, all we need is to have a belt (easy to find automotive ones) pulley on one side, and the motor driving the other one on the other side. the tensioner will be driven by the belt. i am not sure if any tensioner uses it today, but it would be very very quiet and smooth. others? (no rail guns please. ) sensor/control: this is slightly more difficult and something that i am not completely sure about. one can buy servo controller boards that controls a DC motor with a encoder on it to maintain constant speed or location. what we have though is we need to maintain constant tension/force. the WISE has a strain gauge right at the tensioner body to measure force. we can do the same thing so sensory shouldn't be a problem. the only problem is how to use it to feed back into the control side. motor: DC motor seems to be the way to go. careful choice must be made to choose the right size and speed. we need to make one that is strong and fast, no point having the same slowness as the WISE. gripper: gripper isn't the most high tech component but we need to solve it anyway. we can either build our own or somehow find one that is ready to be purchased. not sure what the solution. and surely anyone who had a WISE would have their machine's original gripper sitting in a box somewhere. interface/UI: this is where we can go a bit more fancy and into the 21st century. i envision most of the motor control will be done on a motor control board with its own microcontroller. and all we need is to interface with this controller. well, this is 2013 we should be able to do something fancy. with touch screen phones in it 3rd/4th generation we probably have an old iphone/android phone lying around. so how about write a little app and have it be the UI and it will talk to the motor controller processor via USB interface? such contraption/adaptor already exist and we can just leverage from it.