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Thread: Re-racks for off spot pins....Does it REALLY fix it?

  1. #1
    Pin Crusher Phonetek's Avatar
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    Default Re-racks for off spot pins....Does it REALLY fix it?

    As I said in another post I had the pleasure of having to spot and calibrate all the pins in a pinsetter. A lot of work and a long process with a ton of measuring. What I did learn is none of our lanes were even close to perfect. Now one of them is at least. The other thing I learned is that no matter how many times you cycle the machine it places the pins wherever they happen to be set to spot every single time. I mean likely not down to the millimeter but certainly within centimeters".

    Now if the pins wiggle at all when they are set down then that means the cups aren't gapped properly or the table is not going low enough which may cause them to vary in spot. Even then we aren't talking much, less than 1/4" at most and that's worst case. Those of course aren't the only cause, there are many variables. You could have a damaged bowling pin making it's rounds through the rack causing it if it keeps happening. There could also be other worn or damaged or broken parts. 99% of the time you will notice some pin wiggle from one or more pins if this is the case. Also the table clearance may be off.

    So if you see no pin wiggle and a pin is off spot I ask again "Will a re-rack fix it?" It's highly unlikely given what I have learned that it will change anything but the pins. I re-racked and measured cycle after cycle and seen no variance. Then I continuously cycled the machine for 30 minutes and measured after the end and guess what? The pins set down in the same spot then too. I even watched another machine that wasn't calibrated and was setting up pins off spot and guess what it did? It set the pins up in the same off spot position every single time. When I say off spot, we're talking less than 1/4" and that could be left, right, forward or backward. The pins farthest off are usually the 7-8-9 and 10 pins.

    Since we are talking tiny little measurements here I have to wonder. Could the human eye see even a 1/4" variance from 60+ feet away even if it were the headpin? From the approach I looked at the rack I calibrated next to the one that wasn't and I nor the other mechanic could see a difference even knowing there was a difference. Watching the pro's on TV they get re-racks all the time because a pin is supposedly off spot. It could be just a piece of mind thing or to waste time?

    It's one thing if a pin falls or is missing in a rack, that's entirely different all together. If a pin is really off spot, chances are it was when they started bowling and it will continue to be until the end regardless of how many times they reset without mechanics intervention. If it's a bad bowling pin it's just gonna move the problem to another pin spot or angle less noticeable. Unlike Microsoft products, a "reboot" or in this case a "re-rack" doesn't "Fix" everything if anything. Wanna see pins REALLY off spot then bowl the Peterson Classic!

    NOTE: Keep in mind I'm speaking ONLY about AMF brand pinsetters, Brunswick may be different. Since I don't work on them I don't know.
    Bowling Center Employee (Assistant Manager, Counter, Bartender and AMF Pinsetter Mechanic)
    Arsenal only consists of two balls currently "15# Hammer Rip'd (Sport Only)" & Faball Original Black Hammer (Spare Ball / Main THS) more to come soon & 20+yr old Linds worth a mention
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    Interesting. I have wondered about re racks when watching the pro's but doubt I would be able to tell or even care at this point in my game. I suppose those who are recreational bowlers or the likes would not be able to tell anything. it is interesting though to here about the work involved with calibration. thanks for sharing.
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    SandBagger GrumpyCatFace's Avatar
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    Iím pretty sure the pros only re-rack to take a breather.

  4. #4

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    My eyes aren't good enough to see the difference.

    I was watching a pro on TV the other day and he definitely saw something off and wanted a re-rack but the official wouldn't let him since he had already picked up his ball. The pro was frustrated by this but ended up striking anyways but he needed a messenger to do so. He glared at the official afterwards.

  5. #5

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    Professional bowlers and high average league bowlers, as well as educated bowlers such as I evaluate the rack and will reset if a pin is significantly off spot. The main thing is the relationship between the one pin, three pin, and five pin for right handers, and the one pin, two pin, and five pin for lefties. An open rack (more space between the one pin and three pin) is a help to righties, while a closed rack will often negatively impact carry. Sometimes resetting will fix the problem, or at least make it a little better. Also, the next time you leave a bunch of slam sevens (for a right hander), take a look at the four pin... it is likely spotted forward from where it should be.

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    Pin Crusher Phonetek's Avatar
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    I agree that off spot pins will totally effect carry. If a re-rack does fix it, there is likely a issue with one or more pins being beat up. When they come back down they may be facing a different direction than left to right so you won't notice. When they are off spot forward or backward it's very hard to tell from the approach in front of that lane.

    If the cups are off spot even with perfect pins, it's going to continue to set them off spot until the cows come home until they get adjusted. Rob, if you get a chance next time you go to a center that you're able to go back by the pinsetters, bring a flashlight and look just how far off they are. I'm sure you'll be shocked just how off they REALLY are. Next time I get a chance I'll see if I could get a video of a lane and really show what I'm talking about right by the pinsetter. It's like a car that looks great from across the street then you walk up to it and go "Wow, what a piece of crap" =)
    Bowling Center Employee (Assistant Manager, Counter, Bartender and AMF Pinsetter Mechanic)
    Arsenal only consists of two balls currently "15# Hammer Rip'd (Sport Only)" & Faball Original Black Hammer (Spare Ball / Main THS) more to come soon & 20+yr old Linds worth a mention
    Currently 535+ Rev Rate @ 19 MPH

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phonetek View Post
    Rob, if you get a chance next time you go to a center that you're able to go back by the pinsetters, bring a flashlight and look just how far off they are. I'm sure you'll be shocked just how off they REALLY are. Next time I get a chance I'll see if I could get a video of a lane and really show what I'm talking about right by the pinsetter. It's like a car that looks great from across the street then you walk up to it and go "Wow, what a piece of crap" =)
    When I was on the board of the Southern Nevada USBC, I participated in lane certifications every year. I had plenty of opportunity to see the pins up close. The funny thing is that the President of the Association who is not a very or knowledgeable bowler used to insist that we check the racks from up close, while the rest of us all agreed that we could see everything that needed to be seen from the foul line just because we had done it for so long. The funny thing is that when I reset a rack in league, I invariably get questioned by the other team who that asks me if there was a pin missing! LOL

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    Pin Crusher Phonetek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobLV1 View Post
    When I was on the board of the Southern Nevada USBC, I participated in lane certifications every year. I had plenty of opportunity to see the pins up close. The funny thing is that the President of the Association who is not a very or knowledgeable bowler used to insist that we check the racks from up close, while the rest of us all agreed that we could see everything that needed to be seen from the foul line just because we had done it for so long. The funny thing is that when I reset a rack in league, I invariably get questioned by the other team who that asks me if there was a pin missing! LOL
    LOL Yeah a pin missing is pretty common. That usually is caused either from a pin jam or that the distributor gets out of sync among other things. The mechanic nor I can't figure out why the distributor gets out of sync since it follows the track on the plastic distributor wheel but it seems to happen pretty frequently. Usually it happens after a pin jam if whomever cleared it forgot to sync it but other times it just goes out of sync for no reason. Funny thing it's one of those things that don't ever happen no matter how long you watch it. Five minutes after you turn away then it happens again. The ol' "A watched pot never boils" thing I guess.

    Right now we have a pair that after every strike it has to be manually reset. We're not exactly sure why but we are guessing it's the Qubica control box for that pair that went loopy. We're going to put it on another pair to see if the problem follows the box or stays on the pair. It's a bit of a head scratcher. Fortunately most of the bowlers we get tend to not throw strikes often it's not too much of a problem. More people seem to hit the sweep than the pocket lately.

    So when you went down to look up close were they on spot? When I say they are off spot it's not like extreme unless the nuts on the cup came loose or fell off and it got knocked around. I mean when you looked at them were they perfect?
    Bowling Center Employee (Assistant Manager, Counter, Bartender and AMF Pinsetter Mechanic)
    Arsenal only consists of two balls currently "15# Hammer Rip'd (Sport Only)" & Faball Original Black Hammer (Spare Ball / Main THS) more to come soon & 20+yr old Linds worth a mention
    Currently 535+ Rev Rate @ 19 MPH

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    High Roller got_a_300's Avatar
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    We have a pair of lanes in our center that is notorious for off spot
    pins sometimes you'll have to re-rack several times before you'll
    get a half way decent rack and I just absolutely hate to have to
    bowl on that pair of lanes.
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    Pin Crusher Phonetek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by got_a_300 View Post
    We have a pair of lanes in our center that is notorious for off spot
    pins sometimes you'll have to re-rack several times before you'll
    get a half way decent rack and I just absolutely hate to have to
    bowl on that pair of lanes.
    Sounds like lazy mechanics then. If you keep telling the counter about the problem and they never fix it then it's time to slam them on Yelp, Google, FB or their own website. Bad reviews tend to motivate people if talking direct to them doesn't.
    Bowling Center Employee (Assistant Manager, Counter, Bartender and AMF Pinsetter Mechanic)
    Arsenal only consists of two balls currently "15# Hammer Rip'd (Sport Only)" & Faball Original Black Hammer (Spare Ball / Main THS) more to come soon & 20+yr old Linds worth a mention
    Currently 535+ Rev Rate @ 19 MPH

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