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Thread: Interchangeable thumbs

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    High Roller Phonetek's Avatar
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    Default Interchangeable thumbs

    I've been considering switching over but I'm weighing the pros and cons. The one thing that scares me is that a mechanic came to the counter a few weeks ago with a box containing over 40 of them he found on 3 pairs of lanes.

    They were located beneath the ball ramp in the back which is where the ball enters the track under the floor. Not really a place you have to go often as a mechanic but they were chasing down a short in the gutter cap lights. They were an incidental finding.

    I was completely blown away by the number of thumb inserts. It seems completely ridiculous to me that they fly out often enough to built up that many. I mean, that's 6 lanes worth and we have a whole of a lot more. I couldn't imagine what he'd find in total throughout the center.

    Are these things that bad? Do they wear out quickly? Are people just not snapping them in all the way? What's the deal? This is something new to me because at my previous center, few customers had their own ball let alone interchangeable thumb inserts. Here we have thousands of people per week bowling and few don't have their own ball.

    Next question. When they drill that massive hole, is it just drilled in straight and the pitch is adjusted with the insert? Would these eliminate the need for a plugged and redrilled for a pitch change? Those of you who have these, how many spares do you buy of each size in case yours end up under the ball ramp in the back?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phonetek View Post
    ...When they drill that massive hole, is it just drilled in straight and the pitch is adjusted with the insert? Would these eliminate the need for a plugged and redrilled for a pitch change? Those of you who have these, how many spares do you buy of each size in case yours end up under the ball ramp in the back?
    I can't answer all of that since I only started using them about 2 years ago but I have never had one come out. I do have 1 that is a little loose but it has stayed in there. The reason I switched was I entered a tournament and bowled 11 games. 2 days later went in to league and my thumb was sticking in every ball so had the PSO drill me up 2 of them, 1 regular size and 1 slightly larger.

    As for the pitch, there is some play in them that you can add pitch to the insert. I only know that cause when I recently got the Altered Reality he measured my old ball and said my thumb pitch was off a little so drilled up a new insert that put it back about 1/2 way between where it was and where he said it 'should' be to test it. My thumb is big so he couldn't go much more anyway. I'd imagine if you have a smaller thumb you have a little more room to offset the insert drilling. But according to that PSO you would normally drill the pitch into the ball and leave the insert normal but it is an easier way to test new pitches on your thumb.
    Arsenal "15# Roto Grip Idol Helios-90 x 2.25 x 45" "15# 900 Global Altered Reality-50x3.625x30" "15# Brunswick Uppercut-80x3.625x35" "15# Brunswick Igniter-70x5.5x35" "15# Raw Hammer Pearl 45x5.75x40" "15# Radical Squatch Pearl 75x5.5x30" "15# Radical Conspiracy-55x4.625x35" "15# Brunswick Kingpin-60x3.875x35" " "15# Brunswick T-Zone"
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  3. #3

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    I have wondered about the durability of the switch grip but have not seen anyone break one during league. I personally use the thumb slugs and add tape if needed. I just had a Roto Grip Helios drilled and my PSO suggested maybe going to the switch grip (my thumb is always big when I go to the pro shop for some reason) but am used to the slugs now. Changing the switch grip to my spare ball might take more time to bowl waiting for the ball to come back. Like anything what's best for you. Steve
    Current arsenal...Roto Grip Nuclear Cell, Hustle PBR, Roto Grip Gem, Idle Helios and Own It Spare. 300 rev rate, 16 mph off hand, 13.3 tilt,61 degrees rotation pap 4 9/16 over 1 1/8 up.

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    My spare ball has a regular thumb but thats cause I got it before I switched over. Mihgt be a good idea to have him change it over too in case I get a case of swollen thumb again
    Arsenal "15# Roto Grip Idol Helios-90 x 2.25 x 45" "15# 900 Global Altered Reality-50x3.625x30" "15# Brunswick Uppercut-80x3.625x35" "15# Brunswick Igniter-70x5.5x35" "15# Raw Hammer Pearl 45x5.75x40" "15# Radical Squatch Pearl 75x5.5x30" "15# Radical Conspiracy-55x4.625x35" "15# Brunswick Kingpin-60x3.875x35" " "15# Brunswick T-Zone"
    Rev Rate about 300 @ about 16 MPH at the pins* High Game: 279 - High Series: 725. PAP: 5 1/8"x1" up; tilt 20*, rotation 75*
    Oh, and LEFTY!!!

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    High Roller Phonetek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRB57 View Post
    I have wondered about the durability of the switch grip but have not seen anyone break one during league. I personally use the thumb slugs and add tape if needed. I just had a Roto Grip Helios drilled and my PSO suggested maybe going to the switch grip (my thumb is always big when I go to the pro shop for some reason) but am used to the slugs now. Changing the switch grip to my spare ball might take more time to bowl waiting for the ball to come back. Like anything what's best for you. Steve
    For what it's worth, in the box of grips the only breakage I seen on them was there locking notch. Nothing around the top of the grip where your thumb goes in. I've had a few slugs crack at the top before though.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phonetek View Post
    For what it's worth, in the box of grips the only breakage I seen on them was there locking notch. Nothing around the top of the grip where your thumb goes in. I've had a few slugs crack at the top before though.
    Thank You for the information. I don't see anyone complaining about breakage in my leagues and there are plenty of people using them. Steve
    Current arsenal...Roto Grip Nuclear Cell, Hustle PBR, Roto Grip Gem, Idle Helios and Own It Spare. 300 rev rate, 16 mph off hand, 13.3 tilt,61 degrees rotation pap 4 9/16 over 1 1/8 up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phonetek View Post
    I've been considering switching over but I'm weighing the pros and cons.
    Unless your going around to multiple tournaments and houses all the time, It's not particularly worth it. If your just at one house or local, use tape to adjust. Because your not going to be switching balls and grips all the time.

    Also If you have several balls you'll layout quite bit of money to get them all converted

    Right handed Stroker, high track ,about 13 degree axis tilt. PAP is located 5 9/16” over 1 3/4” up.Speed ave. about 14 mph at the pins. Medium rev’s.High Game 300, High series 798

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    Quote Originally Posted by bowl1820 View Post
    Unless your going around to multiple tournaments and houses all the time, It's not particularly worth it. If your just at one house or local, use tape to adjust. Because your not going to be switching balls and grips all the time.

    Also If you have several balls you'll layout quite bit of money to get them all converted
    However, if your thumb swells and shrinks, putting in tape and taking it out can be a PITA.

    It's a one-time cost, really. Then no worries about consistency between balls. Drill the plug at standard, put the locking lug in, and you're good to go. No more adjustments. Your thumb travels.

    I bowl mostly at one center (somewhat as a protest - love MY independent center, hate Bowlmor) and I think it's one of the best investments I've made. I don't think it's upped my average or made me hook more or whatever. . . it just means I have an insert that fits my thumb . . . period. Actually TWO inserts - one for big days and one for small days, LOL

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    Ringer
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    I see many people that have the interchangeable thumbs and still use a ton of tape in them. I always wonder why they went that route if they still have to constantly tweak the tape...

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    High Roller Phonetek's Avatar
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    The other reason I asked about this which I forgot to mention. A while back I had a slug replaced and the PSO asked if it was the third or fourth slug I've had put in the ball? I told him the one he replaced was the original.

    I wondered why he asked and he said when he was pounding the new one in that the core was loose. He could feel it clunking around while pounding in the new slug. He said that's typical of a multi slug ball. Hammering in slugs in can cause it. Basically letting me know the ball will crack eventually from it.

    I figured it sounds safer for the ball to not have slugs pounded in.

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