Koike ShopPro Vs. Shop Sabre SideKick

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Location: Linden California

Koike ShopPro Vs. Shop Sabre SideKick

Post by teachag »

I have been running a ProStar branded Shop Sabre SideKick 10 for around ten years. I have had issues with this machine from day one. The biggest one was the fact that the table slats were never truly flat so I would have to watch it on longer cuts with my hand on the keyboard to adjust the torch height manually to avoid a collision. I did not realize when I bought the machine it did not have on the fly torch height control. I bought an add on unit for it but it never really worked right and because of our network limitations with the school district we were unable to get ShopSabre to log into the machine remotely and then the computer died and we replaced it... not all the fault of ShopSabre or the machine but a headache none the less. Then, it started not cutting square or round. The entry and exit would over lap and circles would be out of round. I am thinking this may be a bearing issue but tech support was thinking lash in the ball drive. I have still not been able to solve this issue and have a large grant coming my way and am just going to replace it. The machine ran pretty much several hours per day every day for the first six years or so before it started having more problems.

I want made in USA and have been looking at either the Koike ShopPro which my best friend has a swears by or another side kick. I am also buying a CNC router table at the same time and was looking at the ShopSabre for this because quite frankly they have some of the best reviews when it comes to CNC routers. I talked to the rep about the issues I have with my table. He assured me that their ShopSabre branded tables are better than the ProStar branded tables which they no longer make. He also says they have made a lot of improvements since then. So, I went ahead and got a quote from them. I do like the idea of having both my CNC tables from the same brand with similar operating systems and such. The ShopSabre is significantly less expensive than the Koike. My buddy says it is a buy once cry once situation.

I shared with the ShopSabre rep that I was looking at the Koike as well and he told me the Sidekick is better for the following reasons.
They run stepper motors that have no encoders so you will have to be aware of missing steps.
Our tables run encoder motors that you will not be able to miss steps.
We have replaced many of their models for that reason. They show 1000IPM rapid, but we are 1500IPM.

You can see they talk about a pan insert for the water table so again this is a maintenance item you will have to replace your water pan on their table.
On our tables they are fully welded in and fabricated tables, so you never have to replace the water table on our product.

You will have to program all your files backwards on their tables as they orient their tables backwards.
This is something that you will have to learn and then when you use a table like our router all the programming will be learned the right way.
They build their tables different than any other manufacturer in the world and its backwards of traditional machines.

If you look at their frame its all angle iron legs so it’s nowhere near the rigidity of what we offer.
Our table is all tube steel so will be much more ridged.
Space wise in the shop I like the sideways set up of the Koike. But, if it means everything has to be programed differently, that could be a pain. I really know nothing about the encoder motors. Part of me is afraid to get another SideKick but then I see a lot of people touting them on forums and not a lot of talk about the Koike. Because of the scope of the grant I am not overly concerned about the cost of the machine as a deciding factor between the two. I would gladly pay the extra to not have a headache. I would love some unbiased thoughts on pros and cons of each of these machines. I would love to hear from people that have current generations of either of these machines and run highish volume through them. Thank you.
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