I used a Victor VM2000S with a Wise head before I bought the VE-50. The VE-50 is way more satisfying to use. The Yonex Precision 5 I believe comes from the same factory, but I feel the Victor Machine’s Build quality is slightly better. I did get a chance to try a VE-80 when I was visiting Asia a few years back. For the price point, the VE-50 is definitely the better buy.
Heres my experience to your questions with the VE-50:
1. I would advise getting a flying clamp for incase situations. The VE-50 clamps are top notch, they don’t losen up as you string the racket because the dial is held in place by a button. I find when stringing some of the newer Yonex rackets like 88S Pro and 99 Pro, the 5 tooth clamp is really tough to get onto the strings, especially near the top. Also if you have rackets that have a smaller top gap like the Yonex NR Z Speed, a 4 tooth clamp will make it easier for you to clamp the last cross for tying off. Some people will loop to the last cross and come back to the 2nd last cross then tie off because its easier. I personally don’t do that if I can avoid it. If you can find a 4 tooth flying clamp to use for finishing then its ideal. I was debating whether or not to order a set of 4 tooth fixed clamps, but I held off for now.
2. Grommets come in 2 sizes mainly, single pass (2.1mm x length) and double pass (2.6 or 2.7mm x length). The best grommets I find are the ones you can order directly from Li Ning. You get a box with a mix of both types. There are other places online too where you can buy the U shaped ones, mainly found on Yonex and Victor rackets. Li Ning generally doesnt use these ones. There are 2 different kinds of U shaped ones as well, one for the 2 holes near the T joint (mains 1 and 2) and ones for the 2 holes coming after (mains 3 and 4). Also there are grommet packs you can buy off Aliexpress, mainly the Power TI ones. I personally don’t like these ones as they break quite easily for me.
3. I recommend 100% to get reels. If you strung with packs before you will notice there is alot left over. If you do one piece stringing, you can probably get away with 23 rackets. I tallied a Reel of BG80 Power the last month and I found I can do 24.5 rackets (This is with 2 piece stringing, so 1 piece I can probably get away with almost 25). I got my measuring down to near perfect but I sometimes forget the cheaper lower end rackets have bigger heads and I cut a segment that’s not long enough.
4. There are a ton of patterns out there. There’s a thread on the forum with tons of them.. I personally follow the 2 piece Yonex Method but Tie off My Mains at B9 and My cross Knot is on B8. Yonex’s Official knot location is B8 Main and B6 Cross
Last thing I should mention is check the arms and make sure the side supports touch the racket head when you mount it. I’m not sure what happened to my VE-50, but using the badminton C adapters on all 4 side supports, the Top left one doesnt touch the racket. I have to use the wider adapter to have all 4 of the support arms touch the racket. I have strung at least 300 rackets on this machine since I got it a few months back and its been working perfectly even with the one odd adapter on the support arm. If you have any questions about the machine feel free to PM me.