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Sparx Skate Sharpener - At home sharpener

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Glad I used the search before I posted this too!

I have experienced terrible sharpenings before, likely due to incompetent skate techs, but I had always assumed there was a level of finess required - is this true? I'm a fair believer in by hand > by machine, but if this machine does what it's supposed to do, perfectly every time then it seems great.

Hopefully someone with experience sharpening skates can give insight whether an automated system could be comparable to doing by hand.

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This would be a tremendous investment for those not living within range of decent sharpening locations. In addition to their own skates, they could also run a small side service for the skaters around them facing a similar problem.

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Glad I used the search before I posted this too!

I have experienced terrible sharpenings before, likely due to incompetent skate techs, but I had always assumed there was a level of finess required - is this true? I'm a fair believer in by hand > by machine, but if this machine does what it's supposed to do, perfectly every time then it seems great.

Hopefully someone with experience sharpening skates can give insight whether an automated system could be comparable to doing by hand.

No Icing uses an automated system and people are plenty happy with their results.

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This would be a tremendous investment for those not living within range of decent sharpening locations. In addition to their own skates, they could also run a small side service for the skaters around them facing a similar problem.

this was pretty much why I bought a Wissota many years ago. the only decent sharpener was about an hour away and (stupidly) not open on Sundays. I bought my own machine and taught myself how to sharpen skates. once I was confident I started doing friends skates for $5 a pop. the machine has more than paid for its self over the last 10 years.

this looks like a fantastic system though. my only question would be about the finishing pass. while it's sharpening does it only go heel to toe and then toe to heel for the final pass?

Edited by shoeshine boy

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I got to chat at length with Russ about this project at WF. When we talked about concerns for home sharpening, he had a logical and sensible answer to all of them. Cool to see his idea in action.

Edited by stick9

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Hey Guys... Russ here. I just got off the phone chatting with JR and giving him the scoop. I was hoping to give you guys a little background straight from Sparx Hockey HQ.

I've been playing hockey for 30 years and now I have two kids skating. I started Sparx a couple years ago after I decided that the skate sharpening problem needed to be solved. Getting my skates taken care of is always a hassle, the results are not consistent AND I'd like to have them sharpened way more often than I have time for.

My skate sharpening frustrations (and another little detail of me losing my previous job in a layoff) motived me to chase a dream to build a cool company and product for the sport I love. Being a mechanical engineer, I knew from my experience in building medical device capital equipment that we could almost certainly do a better job than had ever been done before.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1223281555/sparx-skate-sharpener-pro-skate-sharpening-at-home

You'll get most information in the content on our Kickstarter page above. In summary, we have exceeded expectations of what could be possible in an automated sharpener (even mine). This didn't come by accident. We experimented with every possible variable in the sharpening equation. We consulted with expert sharpeners and skaters. We prototyped and demo'd and refined. Sparx is extremely accurate, clean, and safe. Sparx also has precision engineered components that insure consistent material removal along the entire length of the skate blade - from the first pass until the steel needs to be replaced.

I know the MSH'ers will have lots of additional questions and I'll do my best to answer them so you guys and gals have the full scoop.

I also talked to JR about coming to SummerJam to demo our machines for you guys. BTW - We're here at Let's Play Hockey in St. Paul. If anyone is here please stop by our booth and introduce yourself.

Edited by Chadd
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EDIT AGAIN:

It wasn't until I watched the video that I put a face to a name.

Looks great, I'm in.

Edited by OptimusReim

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I have a kind of basic question, how do the grinding wheels work? From what I see on the site, it doesn't mention how they maintain the correct ROH. How do they retain the correct ROH over the life of the wheel? If they are a consumable item, one would assume they wear down over time. Is there something that notifies the user that the wheel needs replacement? And lastly, if one backs the sharpener and gets one grinding wheel with it, how would one order more (say they want a couple ROH for different people in the household, in my case, my son and myself)?

Good luck on the Kickstarter! I hope it gets fully funded. I may make it to the Let's Play Hockey Expo tomorrow, if I do, I'll stop by and check it out.

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Intriguing. Almost like a highly refined/improved CAG machine. Target price point would make it very attractive to hockey mom/dads that want the convenience of a home sharpener but maybe don't have the skill set/desire to own one of the current iterations available on the market.

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While I like the concept there's no way I can see myself veering away from the FBV cut. Where does the wheel start and end? Is it engineered to prevent the toe and heel from being shaved and banana'd over time?

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Adding more questions to the mix: Would it be able to sharpen and/or create a dual radius? For example, an 8" toe - 12" heel at 5/8" ROH? What about pitches? Is there an option to have a slight pitch, medium pitch, or aggressive pitch (slanted toward the toe and/or toward the heel)? How does it know when it's sharpened? How does it know if it's a leveled sharpening? And how does it handle burrs and/or nicks? Is there any built-in side honing?

If it can at least sharpen a combination radius with the same results I'd get from No Icing, I'd be sold. As much as I love paying $45+ a month for a sharpening/shipping costs, it'd be nice to have something to use and experiment with at home.

As a side note, if you guys do manage to get this up and flying, I'd highly recommend you take a business trip out to Sharks Ice at San Jose during a tournament weekend. We have been touted as having one of the most successful hockey rinks in the nation (I believe, #1 in the nation) with about 50,000+ participants in local youth/adult hockey clubs. As a local, if there's one thing missing in San Jose, it's a reliable place to get your skates sharpened!

Edited by mc88

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Are there any videos of this machine where you can actually hear it in action? I'm curious what it sounds like when it's on and sharpening.

Also, it touts an alignment system that centers blades regardless of thickness, essentially guaranteeing level edges whether sharpening 3 or 4 millimeter steel. Are there any videos that can back that up using even a rudimentary edge checking tool?

What happens once your skate comes off the machine? Are any possible burrs removed manually? If so, is a stone, along with instructions on how to use one provided?

Is there a way to re-dress the grinding wheel during its lifespan? Say you're sharpening an old rusty pair of pond hockey skates and start getting that dreaded black streak from the wheel's grit being clogged, is your only option to buy a new one?

What do you project to be the price for these wheels?

Edited by TBR

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While I like the concept there's no way I can see myself veering away from the FBV cut. Where does the wheel start and end? Is it engineered to prevent the toe and heel from being shaved and banana'd over time?

The site says "flat bottom" wheels are in the works.

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Intriguing. Almost like a highly refined/improved CAG machine. Target price point would make it very attractive to hockey mom/dads that want the convenience of a home sharpener but maybe don't have the skill set/desire to own one of the current iterations available on the market.

Actually more of a copy of a cag and prosharp skatepal. Not different at all. Very close to a Skatepal so I'm wondering if there will be patent issues. I beleive these guys visited my store a coulple of years ago, saying they were college students doing an engineering project. Then they wanted to come back and have me show them every detail of the CAG and prosharps that I have. I didn't have the time.

One caution to those with dreams of making side cash sharpening friends and teammates, be sure you get the appropriate business licences, town, state and federal, and also pay proper federal and state taxes on your 'profits".

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