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Sparx Skate Sharpener - At home sharpener

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43 minutes ago, lfc26 said:

As it looks, the margin on consumer and commercial rings is 10% at most. It would only make sense if there's a difference in the total number of doable cycles or the quality of sharpenings which hopefully isn't  the case.

I really hope your implications are right and they aren't delivering a completely different product...

Anyway, thanks to all of you for your help!

I'm going to order the consumer rings for now while trying to dig deeper on the firmware side of things:-) I'm a tinkerer can't help myself:-)

That would make sense as the PS100 is significantly more expensive so they make more money up front and less per ring vs the retial model which they sell for less but make money from the subscription service of people buying rings. The good news though is the ES100 and PS100 are the same units 100% excluding the vacuum system and software/firmware. 

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1 hour ago, lfc26 said:

Hi SkateWorksPNW!,

thanks to both of you for doing that!

You guys really helped me a lot... I was on the verge of ordering ES100 and PS100 rings for testing purposes today.

Anyway, I'm really curious now why they are strictly separating the rings on a firmware level... really thinking about digging deeper into it.

Do they look any different? According to the video posted above it looks like both rings are capable of sharpening 40 pair of skates, so why ban them from being used on both machines when they deliver the same sharpening results?

 

It's no doubt a marketing decision. Two different markets with different volumes and base requirements, so they are segmenting down those lines. Has pretty much zero to do with the technology itself.

The thing that's interesting in your situation is that Monkey Sports in europe is exposing this via their online store. For N.A. customers who deal with Sparx directly, you don't get to see the Commercial / PS100 side for Grinding Rings unless you first buy a PS100 unit. The PS rings and pricing are not viewable on sparxhockey.com as far as I can see.

It probably wouldn't be "too hard" for someone to figure out how to hack/modify an ES100 to use PS100 rings. But of course doing so would throw out any chance of having support or warranty.

Bottom line is if you want support and you want to use PS rings, you need to buy a PS unit. 

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1 hour ago, lfc26 said:

Hi SkateWorksPNW!,

thanks to both of you for doing that!

You guys really helped me a lot... I was on the verge of ordering ES100 and PS100 rings for testing purposes today.

Anyway, I'm really curious now why they are strictly separating the rings on a firmware level... really thinking about digging deeper into it.

Do they look any different? According to the video posted above it looks like both rings are capable of sharpening 40 pair of skates, so why ban them from being used on both machines when they deliver the same sharpening results?

 

The rings do 320 passes. Conversion of passes to 'sharpened pairs' is arbitrary and has been stated different ways on occasion since the Sparx first shipped.

I keep my steel well maintained and 'sharpen' my skates every 3 or 4 hours of use with a couple passes per skate, which I judge mostly by the absence of nicks in the steel sidewalls, and by a uniformly smooth pitch/sound for the full pass back and forth the runner.

Unless my blades have suffered trauma from hitting a post or stepping on debris or metal around the dressing rooms/benches, I find two passes every 3-4 hours of icetime means perfect edges all the time. It's quite liberating to play like that, and I think most new Sparx users quickly realize constant 'touch up' maintenance like this trumps letting your blades get bad enough to require 4 or 6 or more passes.

So based on my metrics of two passes per skate I can "sharpen 80 pairs" of my own skates per ring. But on the flip side, I do sharpen way more frequently now that I would if I still had to drive to a shop and pay $8-$10 per sharpening.

 

colins

 

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4 hours ago, colins said:

It probably wouldn't be "too hard" for someone to figure out how to hack/modify an ES100 to use PS100 rings. But of course doing so would throw out any chance of having support or warranty. 

I wouldn't hack the unit, I'd focus on the ring. Lots of different ways to do this and it's easy once you have the gear (a read / write unit).

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8 hours ago, marka said:

Howdy,

I'm not entirely convinced that this is a great method to determine if you've cut the whole edge.  I wonder if the material coming off steel "scrubs" the marker away.  But I've never tried to make a large radius change with only a single pass or something to test it.

Mark

For 1/2” to 5/8” (and the reverse) the edges feel as expected. But it’s a valid point and it would be nice to have some proper validation e.g. measurements from a depth gauge to check the hollow is correct relative to the edges. However, those gauges cost a fortune and a BAT gauge is all I have. Oh I do have a ProSharp depth of hollow gauge, but it’s a useless POS made from stamped steel. 

If you are concerned, throw in an extra pass. 

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Howdy,

8 hours ago, Vet88 said:

I wouldn't hack the unit, I'd focus on the ring. Lots of different ways to do this and it's easy once you have the gear (a read / write unit).

What technology does Sparx use to code the rings?  Looks like NFC read/write is built into phones these days, right?

Mark

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28 minutes ago, marka said:

Howdy,

What technology does Sparx use to code the rings?  Looks like NFC read/write is built into phones these days, right?

Mark

Personally, I'd like to see aftermarket rings come out. It would probably be a boon to their business instead of the opposite. 

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Have we confirmed that it’s NFC and not RFID? I haven’t had a real reason to actually look at it for obvious reasons.

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1 hour ago, IPv6Freely said:

Have we confirmed that it’s NFC and not RFID? I haven’t had a real reason to actually look at it for obvious reasons.

 

If you search this thread you'll find some previous comments from Sparx employees confirming RFID is being used to track the cycle counts on the ring itself by overwriting the serial number field.

I'm not sure anyone has talked about or figured out how a PS grinding ring is detected vs. an ES ring.

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7 minutes ago, colins said:

 

If you search this thread you'll find some previous comments from Sparx employees confirming RFID is being used to track the cycle counts on the ring itself by overwriting the serial number field.

I'm not sure anyone has talked about or figured out how a PS grinding ring is detected vs. an ES ring.

No need to search the thread, I've been following it since day one. That's why I was wondering why the sudden talk of NFC.

As for PS vs ES, that's easy. It's all in the coding of the chip, regardless of protocol. 

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16 hours ago, Vet88 said:

I wouldn't hack the unit, I'd focus on the ring. Lots of different ways to do this and it's easy once you have the gear (a read / write unit).

I think that may be the right approach😜. Good to know that the rings most likely have RFID chips. Maybe we are able to somehow read out the code and make PS radius rings and XG rings compatible with the ES100 unit by implementing our own code. Wishful thinking atm... But who knows maybe we can work something out. Thanks again to you guys for your input!

Edited by lfc26

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just another input. If true, by segmenting the market they may have had to offer something exclusively for their commercial users.Marginally reduced ring pricing wasn't enough so they decided to take away the cross grinding capability on ES 100 units. Highly unlikely to remove the cross grinding feature just because some guys refused to change the air filter...  Removing a main feature, basically is a contractual breach especially to the disadvantage of early adopters. just saying... may be relevant to some of you.

Edited by lfc26

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4 hours ago, IPv6Freely said:

No need to search the thread, I've been following it since day one. That's why I was wondering why the sudden talk of NFC.

As for PS vs ES, that's easy. It's all in the coding of the chip, regardless of protocol. 

Come on guys 😉

RFID is the process by which items are uniquely identified using radio waves, and NFC is a specialized subset within the family of RFID technology. Specifically, NFC is a branch of High-Frequency (HF) RFID, and both operate at the 13.56 MHz frequency.

 

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17 minutes ago, lfc26 said:

just another input. If true, by segmenting the market they may have had to offer something exclusively for their commercial users.Marginaly reduced ring pricing wasn't enough so they decided to take away the cross grinding capability on ES 100 units. Highly unlikely to remove the cross grinding feature just because some guys refused to change the air filter...  Removing a main feature, basically is a contractual breach to the disadvantage of early adopters. just saying. .. may be relevant to some of you.

 

Russ, the creator of the Sparx, is a member of the modsquad community here. The conspiracy theory you propose above seems like a bit of a stretch knowing how Sparx has approached their customers so far I would say?

The X-Grind ring was not part of the initial launch of the product nor do I recall it being part of any contractual breach to the original Kickstarter participants. The X-Grind ring debuted on/around Nov. 13th 2016 (My Sparx shipped in July 2016) and the warning about the swarf issue and the need to change the air filter was emailed out to owners on Jan 29th 2017.

 

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If lfc26 wants to continue to look at ways to hack the ES100 and/or PS100 or ES100 rings, perhaps that discussion belongs in a new thread?

The theme so far seems to be "I've bought the cheaper unit but want all the advantages of the more expensive one" which is going to be a bit confusing for the average Joe looking for Sparx info in this thread.

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2 hours ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

Come on guys 😉

RFID is the process by which items are uniquely identified using radio waves, and NFC is a specialized subset within the family of RFID technology. Specifically, NFC is a branch of High-Frequency (HF) RFID, and both operate at the 13.56 MHz frequency.

 

Why did you quote me on that? 😂

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Hi guys I need your enlightened opinion 


I'm looking for a home sharpening solution, since I'm getting old and cant be asked. 


I know nothing about sharpening but i know what a good sharpening feels like, I've been playing for over 30+ years and the only few times I got a perfect cut were either because the guy knew exactly what he was doing (usually sharpening for pro team or a whole ice rink and knows the exact ice temperature/hardness or whatever other parameters, usually these guys don't even ask anything they measure your steels tells you have that much radius/hallow, grind the things and give them back to you and ask you to come back if you're not happy) or it was pure luck. I can count these times with the fingers of my hands to be frank... those times when your blade cracks the ice with that satisfying sound.

I always found sharpening from LHS pretty awful, when back on the ice it grips too much, feels awkward, put me off balance, I literally have to wait a few skates for my skates to become "normal" again without ever feeling sharp along the process. That has been like that since my childhood. Is it because once your skate is worn out, the mechanical exact science of hollow and radius fails due to the holder/outsole/steel being slightly off or deformed with time... I don't know. To be honest, new or used skates I've never seen the difference, sharpening has always been bad for me. 

My questions :

1) Prosharp home or Sparx? what are the differences?
2) Can you really get a good sharpening, or will it be at best the same as some LHS now using teenager operated home sparx/prosharp machine ?
3) Is it really user friendly and build like a tank or with time the things becomes loose, misaligned, and you need to fiddle with it to get it going ?
4) how good is the warranty/support in Europe ? or inexistent ?
5) Any flaws ? reliability issues ? you guys have experienced ?
6) Is it reasonable to use this in an apartment ? They say you can use it in your kitchen but ... I dont see myself sharpening next to the pasta bake. 

Also note, I'm currently based in Europe. Eye watering >1k at the monkey, when I used to see big discount ads on MSH in the previous years. 

Thanks for reading 

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On 1/4/2020 at 12:56 PM, pgeorgan said:

In other news, tried out 5/8 fire ring and now I own a 5/8 fire ring. 😀

I tried the 5/8" Fire and got the thumbs down from my son. So we used it once, he didn't like it. But I still own it!

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23 hours ago, IPv6Freely said:

No need to search the thread, I've been following it since day one. That's why I was wondering why the sudden talk of NFC.

 

15 hours ago, IPv6Freely said:

Why did you quote me on that? 😂

Because you said the following above which was implying RFID and NFC are different. At least, thats how I read it. No biggie. 

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4 minutes ago, 218hockey said:

I tried the 5/8" Fire and got the thumbs down from my son. So we used it once, he didn't like it. But I still own it!

I've used every single ROH and FIRE and I seem to always go back to 1" ROH on all of my standard width steel, but on my Flare steel I like the 3/4" FIRE

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5 hours ago, ItsTJOSHIE said:



My questions :

1) Prosharp home or Sparx? what are the differences?
2) Can you really get a good sharpening, or will it be at best the same as some LHS now using teenager operated home sparx/prosharp machine ?
3) Is it really user friendly and build like a tank or with time the things becomes loose, misaligned, and you need to fiddle with it to get it going ?
4) how good is the warranty/support in Europe ? or inexistent ?
5) Any flaws ? reliability issues ? you guys have experienced ?
6) Is it reasonable to use this in an apartment ? They say you can use it in your kitchen but ... I dont see myself sharpening next to the pasta bake. 

Also note, I'm currently based in Europe. Eye watering >1k at the monkey, when I used to see big discount ads on MSH in the previous years. 

Thanks for reading 

1: The difference is Sparx you pay less upfront for the machine but pay more over time with the rings, the Pro Sharp consumable rings last much longer. I did the match and if you keep both units they end up costing the same after 2 years assuming you only use one ROH. If you are using various ROH for different players and such the Pro Sharp is significantly more expensive. 

2: Yes, I have done blind back-to-back testing in our store with Sparx and Pro Sharp portable units and 95% of players cannot tell the difference. I think it has a lot to do with the prep prior to sharpening and then finishing after the sharpening. 

3: Yes, they are both user-friendly and fairly simple to adjust

4: Sparx warranty is much better than Pro Sharp in my experience

5: None that I can speak to. 

6: I would say the Sparx can be used anywhere, living room, garage, wherever, it has a built-in filter and is a closed cycle system. I still would not use it in my kitchen though as there has to be some debris that escapes through the top of the unit. Better to be safe than sorry. The Pro Sharp has much more debris though, I would recommend using it with a vacuum attached to help control the metal shavings, based on this I would not recommend that to be used in your home amnd only use it in a garage or some other space. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

I've used every single ROH and FIRE and I seem to always go back to 1" ROH on all of my standard width steel, but on my Flare steel I like the 3/4" FIRE

Interesting.

We had used 1/2" Fire for the last 6 months. We just wanted to try the 5/8 and unfortunately that's a downfall with this automated machine. It cost me $60 and one skate to find out we like the 1/2".

Oh well, I suppose I can put it on eBay.  :431_hockey:

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55 minutes ago, 218hockey said:

Interesting.

We had used 1/2" Fire for the last 6 months. We just wanted to try the 5/8 and unfortunately that's a downfall with this automated machine. It cost me $60 and one skate to find out we like the 1/2".

Oh well, I suppose I can put it on eBay.  :431_hockey:

 

Or keep it and use it the same as you would a cross grind ring (ie: taking steel down to eliminate sidewall nicks or badly damaged edges). Or for cutting new steel which requires 8-10 passes. It'll help save the lifespan of your usual ring.

colins

 

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22 hours ago, colins said:

 

If lfc26 wants to continue to look at ways to hack the ES100 and/or PS100 or ES100 rings, perhaps that discussion belongs in a new thread?

The theme so far seems to be "I've bought the cheaper unit but want all the advantages of the more expensive one" which is going to be a bit confusing for the average Joe looking for Sparx info in this thread.

well no it's not the theme....but thanks for telling me.

I'm just trying to figure out the real differences because the Sparx marketing is great but they are leaving consumers in the dark in terms of the functionality and quality of sharpenings with their PS100 commercial units.

How should we make a qualified buying decision when there's quite a lot of intransparency and little possibility to compare both consumer/commercial products? They are posting NHL teams using these machines but it's extremely difficult for the average user to get any information on the real technical and monetary differences like how much are the grinding rings, are they made out of the same materials, how many cycles are possible with both versions....

And to add up on my main issue which is pricing across europe, It's not my fault that their resellers are messing with Sparx and are implementing an unfair price policy across europe while revealing non public information on both consumer and commercial rings . It's also not my fault that I'm a bit of a tinkerer who wants to find out if he may be able to pay 75$ instead of 80$ for sharpening stones in europe.

And lastly, I do think removing the cross grinding functionality is a business decision and not primarily a safety decision which is a f* you in the face of everyone who got early involved with Sparx or interested in the machine...

Nevertheless, I'm happy with the machine itself although I feel getting the right depth of cut requires more than 4 cycles and this drives sharpening costs higher.

All these issues have to be considered when buying the machine all over the world. It's especially bitter for those buying the machine fully believing it still has the cross grinding capability.

 

My goal is just to make things better and more transparent for future international buyers!

 

Edited by lfc26

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7 minutes ago, lfc26 said:

well no it's not the theme....but thanks for telling me.

I'm just trying to figure out the real differences because the Sparx marketing is great but they are leaving consumers in the dark in terms of the functionality and quality of sharpenings with their PS100 commercial units.

How should we make a qualified buying decision when there's so little possibility to compare both products? They are posting NHL teams using these machines but it's totally intransparent for the average user to get any information about the real technical and monetary differences like how much are the grinding rings, are they made out of the same materials, how many cycles are possible with both versions....

And to add up on my main issue which is pricing across europe, It's not my fault that their resellers are messing with Sparx and are implementing an unfair price policy across europe while revealing non public information on both consumer and commercial rings . It's also not my fault that I'm a bit of a tinkerer who wants to find out if he may be able to pay 75$ instead of 80$ for sharpening stones....as an european customer.

And lastly, I do think removing the cross grinding functionality is a business decision and not primarily a safety decision which is a f* you in the face of everyone who got early involved with Sparx or interested in the machine...

Nevertheless, I'm happy with the machine itself although I feel getting the right depth of cut requires more than 4 cycles and this drives sharpening costs higher.

All these issues have to be considered when buying the machine all over the world. It's especially bitter for those buying the machine fully believing it still has the cross grinding capability.

 

My goal is just to make things better and more transparent for future international buyers!

 

 

The Sparx page has a table comparing the capabilities of the ES100 vs. PS100: https://www.sparxhockey.com/pages/commercial-homepage


The units are essentially the same, with the PS100 having added external filtration, which Sparx determined was necessary for high volume use and for Cross Grinding.

The rings are the same but the consumer rings are coded for the ES100 and the commercial rings (which are discounted) are coded for the PS100.

I don't think any of this is news to you as you've figured that out from web sources and questions here already.

The rest was about how to possibly use the cheaper ES100 unit with the discounted PS rings - this would obviously not be supported by Sparx and would requiring altering the ring or the unit. I was just suggesting that conversation be taken to a different thread specific to hacking the Sparx. Others including myself are no doubt interested in this, but it may be confusing for the average Joe coming here reading this thread who just wants to know if he should buy a Sparx to sharpen his kids' skates.

Bottom line is if you want support from Sparx, Cross Grinding and discounted rings, do the math and see if the extra expense of the PS100 makes sense or not. 

 

 

 

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