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View Full Version : My Homemade Stroketrainer



recoveryjones
04-03-2004, 11:58 AM
After reading the article 'Popcorn or anyone else interested' I decided to post. Yes I have made my own homemade Stroke trainer.The reason I made my own are as follows:

1. I TRULY couldn't afford one.Especially so with the weak Canadian dollar and duty costs that would have seen me paying up to $300 Canadian.Also we are going on strike at my workplace.

2. I knew I could make one

3. I wanted to modify the one that I saw at the Stroke trainer website so that I could get lower down on my cue.My custom made one angles down so that I can get my chin down 3" from the cue which is my normal set-up (this was a major reason for making my own)

4. I had access to a carpenter shop with all the saws,a dato,drill presses etc. etc

5. I had access to free 3 ft. lengths of (scrap, used) 5/8 plexiglass which like aluminum is very, very expensive. I also had access to some free scrap aluminum angle iron,and wingnuts for adjustment and dissasembly purposes.

6. I had the knowledge and help of a carpenter, engineer and precision instruments technician at work.

Some have posted that plexiglass may cause to much friction, but I am here to say that plexiglass works just fine. It must be thick (ouch expensive) plexiglass , however, as otherwise it will flex too much as you stroke.I would either go plexiglass or aluminum and wouldn't cheap out and use wood which could give you slivers, may cause friction and is subject to warping.

Having said that, Doug has made an excellent invention and is( in my opinion) taking far to much abuse.Try pricing out the cost of some aluminum or thick plexiglass for that matter and you will soon see that it's not cheap.It also took me ( and my help) several hours to make one of these as the thing was taken home and back to work to be re-sized, realigned and re-designed.Doug deserves something for his labour.Furthermore I'm sure he has spent countless dollars (and time) on advertizing, patents, materials and website costs etc. etc. In his defense I don't think he's making the great money that some people think.

If you don't have access to a shop and all the materials and help like I had,(mines dead straight with the help I had and if you make your crooked, you will have a crooked stroke) I would suggest that you save yourself the hassle and buy one from Doug.Some of you spend that extra $500 or $1ooo for a cue , which is basically a piece of wood and pay the cue maker for his workmanship and don't bat an eye about his price markups for materials.Subsequently the cue doesn't help your game because your stroke is as crooked as George Bush and Paul Martin...LOL.Investing $200 for all the joy you'll get for an improved pool game (plus maybe you'll win some $$$$) could be well worth the cash.

Having said all of this the Stroketrainer will only help if you are dedicated and use it.I've only used mine a bit and my game has already improved.I don't have a super stroke by any means.I need to practice with it some more.

I am going to modify my stroketrainer some more by adding a ball return ramp.I will add a length of plastic pvc pipe with some forty-five's glued to the end to create a loo de loop ramp so that when I hit a cue ball it will return back to me.It will be like one of those lazy man putting machine that golfers use. The ball will return for another shot.I'll use my Jim Rempe cue ball to ensure that my custom made stroke trainer is letting me hit that sucker dead center.I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime those of you that have the money and don't have the materials or know how, give Doug a shout, because you can't go wrong with a Stroketrainer.It's an awesome invention. RJ

bluewolf
04-03-2004, 01:14 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote recoveryjones:</font><hr>

3. I wanted to modify the one that I saw at the Stroke trainer website so that I could get lower down on my cue.My custom made one angles down so that I can get my chin down 3" from the cue which is my normal set-up (this was a major reason for making my own)

In the meantime those of you that have the money and don't have the materials or know how, give Doug a shout, because you can't go wrong with a Stroketrainer.It's an awesome invention. RJ <hr /></blockquote>

We did not buy the break rack because only I would benefit, not Ray. OTOH, we figured the stroke trainer would benefit both of us. It did not work well with its current design for me, because it did not enable me to get low enough, but i just talked to Doug on the phone and he is modifying this with a special piece (for free) so that it will work for me too. Ray also thinks he will like the lower piece also.

Once I get the new piece and try it out, I can more accurately access how well this works but it is looking better.

But how many people stand behind their product to the extent that they will send a modification to their original equipment for free? That in itself impresses me quite a lot.

Laura

Popcorn
04-03-2004, 02:30 PM
You should probably refrain from using the term "Stroke trainer" since it does directly refer to the mans product. Utilizing the concept, and adapting it to yourself through what ever means is fine. You should not use the name when referring to the device you built yourself. If I was him I would not enjoy reading this thread, but on the other side of the coin, he has received a unanimous endorsement from all who understand the concept or have tried it. I think his only stumbling block seems to be the price. If it is costing too much to build, to sell it for any less, that is a problem. He has to work out a way he can build it cheaper and still make an acceptable profit. When you can save cost on the production on a product, although you make more profit per unit, you won't sell any more units then you did before. But, If you pass this production cost savings on to the buyer, you may increase sales by 500% because of the lower price. Making many times more money and satisfying more customers.

Everybody has to win, manufacture, wholesaler, retailer and finally the buyer. It is really an easy formula if you have a viable product. Contrary to popular belief, the public LOVES to spend their money. There is usually a magic number when it comes to price. If he can get it under say $100., it is possible he may not be able to build them fast enough. The jury is not out, the item works and every player should be using it if they can. He should not be afraid or embarrassed to say he is trying to get the price down. so he can bring the product to as many players as possible. I wish him the best of luck with his venture.

mr8ballme
04-03-2004, 09:18 PM
I would like to say thank you for understanding what i am going through with this. Yes i have spent lots and lots of time and money in trying to marketing my Stroketrainer. The AH Expo cost me over $1000.00 for 4 days and i broke even thanks to my sales. I am doing everything i can to get the price down. But with all the traveling, gas prices, booth rental, motel rooms, food, Mag. adds, and websites it is tough. Thanks to all the people who have bought one, and all of the greate players and instructors that endorse it and dont charge me anything i think it will be a change verry soon. I know money is tight on everyone and i am doing everything i can to get the price down. When this happens the price change will be on my website because i dont want to get accused of spaming again. I am just trying to help people be better at a game they love. Thanks again! /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

bluewolf
04-04-2004, 08:06 AM
Doug,

I have been on here for two years, others for longer. This is what I have observed. No matter if a person is a pro or a player, if the only time a person posts, it is to talk about the product they are selling, the person gets flamed. OTOH, people who participate in discussions like Scott L, Randy G get more tolerance as far as ocasionally mentioning about what in pool they do for a living, because they also contribute knowlege and so forth to the forum.

I know you are a nice person, and it is just my two cents worth, but think if you get in on some of the discussions here, then people can get to know you and like you. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Laura

NH_Steve
04-04-2004, 08:23 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> You should probably refrain from using the term "Stroke trainer" since it does directly refer to the mans product. Utilizing the concept, and adapting it to yourself through what ever means is fine. You should not use the name when referring to the device you built yourself. If I was him I would not enjoy reading this thread, but on the other side of the coin, he has received a unanimous endorsement from all who understand the concept or have tried it. I think his only stumbling block seems to be the price. If it is costing too much to build, to sell it for any less, that is a problem. He has to work out a way he can build it cheaper and still make an acceptable profit. When you can save cost on the production on a product, although you make more profit per unit, you won't sell any more units then you did before. But, If you pass this production cost savings on to the buyer, you may increase sales by 500% because of the lower price. Making many times more money and satisfying more customers.

Everybody has to win, manufacture, wholesaler, retailer and finally the buyer. It is really an easy formula if you have a viable product. Contrary to popular belief, the public LOVES to spend their money. There is usually a magic number when it comes to price. If he can get it under say $100., it is possible he may not be able to build them fast enough. The jury is not out, the item works and every player should be using it if they can. He should not be afraid or embarrassed to say he is trying to get the price down. so he can bring the product to as many players as possible. I wish him the best of luck with his venture. <hr /></blockquote>Simple, have them built in China /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif


Steve --&gt; not kidding /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

Alvin
04-04-2004, 08:35 AM
Mr.8ball is a wonderful person who is making a great effort to market his product. He does all the shows, and is vey friendly as well as approchable. I think he could sell more stroketrainers by accepting credit cards at the shows, and allowing for a monthly payment plan with some folks. I also feel he should be allowed to promote his product without being called a spammer. This is a pool forum, and he has a product that can help pool players so....More power to him and you all!

Popcorn
04-04-2004, 11:51 AM
That is the fear of any small manufacture, someone doing just that and flooding the market. They drive the price down and you all but disappear. A small example in the pool market, at least from the outside looking in, is the Bungee jump cue. They were getting $99. in the beginning and then knock off's came out, driving the price down to now around $39.00 on ebay. I don't know where the Bungee is built. But if it is say a small two man shop somewhere, and again I don't know, they would be all but driven out of the market or at least severally injured. Not much you can do though kind of like a guy with a family owned hardware store who always thought he would pass it on to his son, then a Home Depot opens down the street and his future ceases to exist. Nothing is forever as they say. Sometimes it is best to make as much money as you can, as fast as you can, knowing it is going to be short lived.

catscradle
04-05-2004, 05:59 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bluewolf:</font><hr> Doug,
...
I know you are a nice person, and it is just my two cents worth, but think if you get in on some of the discussions here, then people can get to know you and like you. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Laura <hr /></blockquote>

Good point, Laura, I have also met Doug and am convinced he is a good guy and sincere. I use his product and feel it has helped my stroke.
However, you are absolutely right, if he posted just to contribute to other threads, he would get less grief when he posted about the Stroke Trainer.

RUNaRAK
04-05-2004, 06:20 AM
Hey RJ.. Take a pic of your homemade S.T. and post it so that we can see your piece of work!

Ken
04-05-2004, 07:45 AM
I think you will find that Doug's apparatus is not patented. There seems to be nothing similar patented through March 30 of this year. The cost of patenting is prohibitive and the market limited so it is unlikely that one's expense could be recovered.

The term "stroke trainer" has been used many times in connection with swimming, golfing and billiards devices.
In fact, there was a device patented in 1977 that appears it would accomplish the same thing as the present device. It could be manufactured for about 50 cents and would fit in a roomy cue case pocket. I've never seen one of these for sale and doubt that the inventer got rich off it.

I was thinking of ways to add an aim trainer to Doug's apparatus and found that that also has been imnvented. It is called a "Dominant eye sight training apparatus". The whole package could be made for under $1, however refinements that I would like to see could add to the cost.
Ken in CT

stickman
04-05-2004, 09:08 AM
Doug, I understand the hurdles you have trying to promote a new business venture. I have my own hurdles as well. I am financially depressed for various reasons, but I won't bore you with the story. My goal was simply to improve my pool game. With minimal cost I accomplished my goal. I have no intent of building and selling these things, and meant no harm to you or your business. You were obviously miffed by my initial post about making my own. I see the same thing when someone owns a few hand tools and installs cue tips for free. For me, the mini-lathe I bought for doing cue repairs was a big investment. I have to realize that most would have me do their tips, if they could afford to. Several have said you are a nice guy, and I don't doubt it, but so am I. I wish you luck in your new business. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Jim

bluewolf
04-05-2004, 09:58 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Ken:</font><hr> I think you will find that Doug's apparatus is not patented. There seems to be nothing similar patented through March 30 of this year. The cost of patenting is prohibitive and the market limited so it is unlikely that one's expense could be recovered.

<hr /></blockquote>

You are right on about the cost. My son came up with a really great invention regarding a piece of computer hardware. My brother was an attorney, so he talked to him about it. Once he expained about the cost and chance that if he approached a corporation to market, they would probably steal his idea, he never pursued it. So another invention down the drain because it has become too hard for small business people with a great idea to be able to afford to patent their idea. A person would have to sell in great bulk to recovery these costs.

Laura

SPetty
04-05-2004, 10:42 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Ken:</font><hr>There seems to be nothing similar patented through March 30 of this year.<hr /></blockquote>Hi Ken,

Is there an on-line database that the average Joe can search for patents?

Big_Jon
04-05-2004, 10:54 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SPetty:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Ken:</font><hr>There seems to be nothing similar patented through March 30 of this year.<hr /></blockquote>Hi Ken,

Is there an on-line database that the average Joe can search for patents? <hr /></blockquote>

Here you go...
US Patent and Trademark Office (http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html)

Don't say i never gave anybody anything...

Thanks

Jon

Cueless Joey
04-05-2004, 11:01 AM
q's (http://www.cues.mypicgallery.com/)
Hey Stick, check the Prewitt taper machine.
Why don't you make me one?
This one costs over 3K. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Check the pics at some q's at Z's shop. You can see my woods at the end too.

recoveryjones
04-05-2004, 11:05 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote stickman:</font><hr> Doug, I understand the hurdles you have trying to promote a new business venture. I have my own hurdles as well. I am financially depressed for various reasons, but I won't bore you with the story. My goal was simply to improve my pool game. With minimal cost I accomplished my goal. I have no intent of building and selling these things, and meant no harm to you or your business.
Jim <hr /></blockquote>

I can fully relate to what Jim has written in his post (above) and my feelings are exactly the same.I'm basically broke, I'm doing everything I can to improve my game, I wish Doug well in his bussiness ventures and I have NO PLANS to sell or market my custom made, modified "strokefixer".It was his idea and I fully respect that, reccomend his product and wish him well.RJ

highsea
04-05-2004, 11:29 AM
Doug,
Have you considered selling plans for your device on your website?

Just a thought, but it seems like a possible way for you to generate some revenues from your invention from those players who cannot afford to buy one, but have access to the tools and materials to build one themselves.

An inexpensive set of downloadable drawings would be useful for those folks who can not afford to buy one, and wouldn't cost much to make available.

-CM

recoveryjones
04-05-2004, 11:52 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote RUNaRAK:</font><hr> Hey RJ.. Take a pic of your homemade S.T. and post it so that we can see your piece of work! <hr /></blockquote>

Hi Runarak, I won't be posting a picture of my homemade strokefixer because it's based on Doug's idea.

If you go to his website you'll see what one looks like.Mine's basically the same except for the vertical backplate. If cut some off 2/3 of the way down on a gradual slope.I did this as it allows me to comfortably get down closer to my stick.The last 1/3 the backplate remains high as that's where my back had rubs against the plexiglass to train for a straight stroke.

I'm in the process of making a ball return ramp so I can actually hit a cue ball.Unfortunatley I don't own a pool table and I wan't to groove that feeling of hitting a pool ball with a dead straight stroke. Although these things are portable, I won't be bringing mine to the pool hall because it's my goal to beat the competition down there. I don't want to give them any ideas...LOL /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Popcorn
04-05-2004, 12:18 PM
He would sell one set for about every 100 copies of the plans that would be made. Most people really could not make one. Half the people I know live in apartments and don't even own a hammer. The interesting thing is, It shows how good the product is, people want it so bad they want to try to build one themselves. The reality is, most people could not do it anyway. This is all positive for him, even though he may not realize it. People will begin to buy the product. It would be better if it were a little less expensive though. Maybe he should have two models, One commercial for pool rooms and instructor, a less expensive model for home use. It would justify a lower price because it would not have to be built to the same quality. You don't want someone who has bought one already to think they over paid because they would not be exactly the same.

highsea
04-05-2004, 12:52 PM
Yes it true that the plans would get copied. In spite of this, I beleive there are still honest people out there that would pay him for the plans.

A friend of mine has a website where he does a similar thing. He sells study plans for amatuer boat builders. While many of his plans are copied and distributed, he still makes a modest but regular income from these plans. It's not a lot of money, but it has grown over the years, and he doesn't have to really put any work into it, just transfer the money from his paypal account once a month.

Right now, Doug gets nothing from people who copy his idea. Something is still better than nothing. If people are going to copy it anyway, why not try to make a few bucks from them? My guess that the players that have made their own copies here would have willingly payed a few bucks for a simple drawing with dimensions and a list of materials, just to save them the time it took to figure it out for themselves.

I agree that making the device more affordable is a good idea that would probably boost sales.

-CM

recoveryjones
04-05-2004, 12:55 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> He would sell one set for about every 100 copies of the plans that would be made. Most people really could not make one. Half the people I know live in apartments and don't even own a hammer. The interesting thing is, It shows how good the product is, people want it so bad they want to try to build one themselves. The reality is, most people could not do it anyway.

I agree with you Popcorn 100%.If I didn't have access to a carpenter shop, free(used) materials and the help of some qualified personal, my homemade strokefixer would have not been possible.The critical thing is measuring it straight and straight for YOUR HAND. Everyones hands are different widths and your(back) hand width must be calculated into the assembly equation.Mine's custom made for MY HAND and it's not adjustable to different hand widths like Doug's are.Also bear in mind that your cue is wider at the back and gets narrow to the tip and this must be taken into account when lining up the guide posts.

Mine is dead straight because of the help of qualified personal. If it's not lined up dead straight, IT'S USELESS, unless of course you want a crooked stroke.I'm sure that there are people out there who have made one, measured innacuratley and are now practising a crooked stroke.

You are right in saying that the average person can not build one of these, at least properly that is.Without help,I know I couldn't have.I'm so greatful for the carpenter, engineer and presicion instruments tech (at work) that helped me with my strokefixer. RJ

Ken
04-05-2004, 01:07 PM
Jon is correct. You can search text back to 1976. In order to see drawings and the original patents you need a plug-in for wiewing .tiff files. I got the one they recommend at http://www.internetiff.com/ That will also permit you to view earlier patents but there is no search capability for those.
Ken in CT

stickman
04-07-2004, 08:09 AM
My internet has been out for a few days. /ccboard/images/graemlins/crazy.gif That's nice. Maybe if my internet goes out again for a few days, I'll have time to build one of those. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif HaHa