by Jason Becker
Right before Christmas, we had to say goodbye to our Koike CNC Plasma Cutter. It was a bitter sweet moment. We have a lot of great memories and builds with this machine. It made life in the shop so much easier when we had to design as we worked on custom pieces. Additionally, the speed and the accuracy of a CNC machine increased our productivity, it eliminated the need for us to do hand layouts and cut parts out with a manual Plasma Cutter. It also helped when we had to make multiple pieces like we used in the Pferd Grinder Stand . It also made the Origami Cart for the guys over at Heffner Performance way easier as we were able to design everything right in FlashCut and then have the machine cut the parts.
While at FabTech in Chicago, we spoke with the fine folks at Koike who manufacture the Shop Pro and they offered to upgrade our table to a newer version. We obviously took them up on their generous offer. They delivered the machine a few days prior so that we could get it set up and they returned so that they could give ManCub and I some training on the new system.
Some of the new features include the updated software which is FlashCut 8, the new upgrade is similar to FlashCut 7 but has some added programing and commands for the new features on the table. The table now comes with a pipe rotator which will allow us to make customized saddles, copes, miters, and through cuts in pipe. It will also allow us to bevel pipe at a much faster rate. We also have an engraving attachment so that we can mark plate and pipe. This feature can be used to scribe in match marks for alignment during fabrication, engrave piece marks to keep track of parts, and we can also do some artwork as well. Another great addition to the table is the Oxy-Fuel attachment. We can now cut up to 2" thick materials using Oxygen and Acetylene and get the precision of CNC. I'm sure we will put this to great use.
Once we had the machine setup and did a quick video on the new features, ManCub and I got some one on one training with Shop Pro Expert Ben Cramer. Ben helped design a lot of the new features and is very familiar with this unit. He showed the ManCub and I how to go through and utilize each attachment and how to get the most out of the new table.
All in all, this is a very solid machine and the possibilities are endless. I am really looking forward to putting this machine to use and seeing what we can produce with it. The additions of the plate marker and pipe rotator will give us many new opportunities to incorporate in to future builds. If you would like more information about this machine and its capabilities, check out Koike's website here. For information on the Contesco Plasma Cutting Fluid, click here. As always, thanks for stopping by and until next time, Make Every Weld Better Than Your Last!