Everything You Need in a CNC Plasma

The two most critical components of a CNC plasma system are service and quality. You need a machine that delivers excellent performance every time you put it to work. Here at ShopSabre CNC, we focus on building CNC plasmas of unmatched quality and value combined with unbeatable customer service. Build quality and technology ultimately determine your machine’s life expectancy and performance capabilities.

CNC plasma machines are a big investment, and many people are tempted by Chinese imports, lower quality bolt together designs, aluminum constructed, or even kit machines all showing lower price tags. However, these cheaper machines also come with inferior build quality and technology. If you buy one of those machines, you’ll soon find yourself in need of a new one. That’s why we say “Buy your Second machine the First Time” and save yourself the hassle, headache, and hidden costs found with lower build quality or non-American made equipment.

Don’t be fooled by other machines who claim to be fastest growing or more industrial, Facts remain more people trust the ShopSabre CNC brand than any other manufacturer due to our quality and competitive pricing. This makes us a true industry leader in the CNC Plasma market. With more machines replacing our competition every month, it goes to show the advantages to buying your second machine your first time, and our customer retention proves this.

Below we have outlined the key elements of a CNC plasma. We hope this will help you understand why we are the top CNC plasma manufacturer for your money and why you will truly outperform the competition with our equipment! We also encourage you to check out the higher priced CNC plasma machines and then look at our systems. With similar materials, components, and overall design, you’ll quickly see why our machines offer the best performance at the best value.



Structural Steel Construction

ShopSabre CNC plasmas are constructed of the top-rated North American structural steel tubes and heavy wall steel plate. We don’t use fabricated tubes (Bent Steel), extruded aluminum, folded sheet metal, or angle iron in our machine frames. ShopSabre CNC understands those designs cut quality, this is not something we expect from the tools we purchase let alone the tools we build and sell with our name on them. Our production designed CNC plasma systems are structural steel welded solutions with no assembly required. This is exactly what you find when you look at machines retailing for $100,000 or even more. There’s a reason bridges are made of steel instead of aluminum, and we apply that same principle to our plasma systems to give you the strength you need.

Unbeatable Precision, Accuracy, and Strength

The frames on our CNC plasma machines are designed and built to withstand all the projects you need to tackle and requires no daily squaring or tightening of bolts like found on lower quality machines. These factors give you the most rigid accurate assembly in the machine class. We also precision mill the components to ensure there are no tolerance issues or accuracy problems before the machine reaches you! The legs on our ShopSabre SideKick CNC Plasma model are steel tubes that are welded with cross bracing in both directions allowing you to put heavy plates on the table without fear of the table collapsing. In fact, all SideKick models come with a minimum of 6 legs which means you get corner support PLUS center machine support. Our ShopSabre ShopMaster Plasma systems take all the weight directly to the ground by bringing tube steel bracing and plate steel shell to the floor suspending no weight. We don’t use cheap covers or panels to hide our structure. Our machines outweigh the competition and give you much more strength. Don’t settle for a machine that is simply bolted together or picked off a shelf and pieced together. Our frames are engineered to be second-to-no-other design. Our 20+ years of experience has proven that ShopSabre machines can withstand the growth and changes in your everyday business operations.

Gantry Construction

Gantry Construction

Industrial Construction

Regardless if you choose our ShopSabre SideKick or ShopMaster Series, we don’t put a lightweight gantry on an industrial frame and call it complete. All ShopSabre CNC Plasma cutters come standard with a Structural Tube Steel Gantry that has been performance milled and stress relieved. All ShopSabre CNC Plasma gantries are designed with the same FEA Software used on the frame to assure the bearing spacing, tube size, and wall thickness is properly fitted for the machine capacity. In fact, the ShopSabre CNC SideKick and ShopMaster PRO Series Plasmas all come with the same gantry construction that is found on the high production $100,000+ series tables. ShopSabre CNC plasmas continuously go above and beyond by pairing the industrial framework with industrial structural steel tube gantry bridges which allow you to push the CNC plasma machines harder and faster without worrying about deflection or inaccuracy seen from lighter gantries found on competitors CNC plasma tables. The details matter and our attention to them ensure you get the highest level of precision from your ShopSabre CNC Plasma.

Built to Withstand Heat

When cutting Steel with a flame, you are working with higher temperatures that naturally rise into the gantry bridge assembly itself over and over with your machine use. Machines using lightweight thin walled steel and aluminum bridges will deflect over time and cause the CNC plasma machine’s accuracy to change as it heats and cools over and over. A ShopSabre CNC gantry is built from Tube steel and engineered with FEA Software to allow us to lift to 8” minimum clearance providing adequate space for heat to escape thus reducing the heat effect on the design. This allows your machine to work cooler for longer periods of time, reducing warping and heat soak found in competitors systems. By the numbers, Aluminum has a 1266.66 degree heat rating vs. steel being 2500 degrees – Adding Steel adds precision and stability you can count on for many years (Note all high production machines on the market use Steel Gantry designs)

Motion Components (Drives, Guides, and Motors)

Motion Components (Drives, Guides, and Motors)

High-Precision Components

ShopSabre CNC uses all high-precision components on our CNC Plasma systems. For example, we use the same 25MM linear guide rails with quad roller sets internally with triple wiper linear guide bearing blocks found on high-end mills and larger CNC Plasma tables. We use two of these bearing blocks on each linear guide rail with two rails per axis to ensure the cut forces are equally distributed over the linear guide rail to reduce the amount of wear and noise.

No use of Old Technology like V Rollers, Bearing Slides, Etc. – You get the Technology that is current with ShopSabre CNC!

Self-Cleaning Systems, Low Failure Rates

The triple-sealed technology of the bearing blocks used on our CNC plasma systems ensures that regardless of how much debris and dust you create from your cutting, you will not get failure to the bearings when properly maintained. This design also makes the CNC plasma cutter a self-cleaning system, this ensures while running you do not need to worry about wiping down the rails or watching for build up. Simply put it to work and come back when the job is complete.

Don’t fall for the wordy competitor’s technology – precision rollers, precision slides, or V-guide precision rollers are all fancy ways to say lower quality bearings. Linear guide rails and bearings are top of the industry technology, and you should expect this on the CNC plasma equipment you purchase.

A Better Drive System

On our ShopSabre CNC Plasma tables, the motion along the Y Axis is driven with dual drive rack and pinion. However, unlike most CNC manufacturers, ShopSabre CNC uses our own engineered and designed “Floating Drive system” to provide you with better motion and more precise cuts than competitors’ models. The floating drive system brings a new technology to an old drive system. ShopSabre CNC engineers reduces the largest problems with rack and pinion: gear wear, debris build up, and excessive accuracy change over the life of a machine equipped.

Our floating drive system is a technology that is in house designed technology so if you don’t own a ShopSabre you don’t own this technology. This technology involves inverting the drive rack to eliminate the buildup of plasma slag, dust, and debris while incorporating a tension system independently driving each rack gear. This allows the gears to wear independently without changing the accuracy of the table. No air requirements, no cylinders to wear out, no worry about sticking. These drive systems are covered and protected from the elements and because there are no cutting loads against the design mechanics, the CNC Plasma table will outlast the competition.

Most rack and pinion are mounted in the upward position and the gear drives are only gravity fit so the weight of the gantry pushes down on the gears & pinions. As weight transfers from X&Z motion, you get an uneven wear pattern resulting in failures and cutting performance issues. Our tension system will self-adjust as it moves from one part of the rack system to another, such as from front to rear of machine. This allows the gears to retain consistent tension while maintaining the same amount of contact pressure regardless if you have worn one part of the drive rack down. Many CNC plasma cutters work in the same area over and over which causes wear to a set portion of the rack while wearing the entire gear. Once you go to work on another part of the machine, the gears are now out of tension for the part of the gear that has not worn. The ShopSabre CNC floating drive system recognizes this change and will adjust on the fly to prevent over tightening the gear which may snap off teeth or loosening of the gear on competitor’s machines which will cause a miss-step by spinning of a gear providing false motion. The ShopSabre CNC Plasma motion control is second to none because it gives you the accuracy you would expect from a drive system that is common in the CNC industry.

True CNC Router Capabilities on a CNC Plasma System

Like all ShopSabre CNC products, the Z Axis on our CNC plasma systems are driven with an industrial ball screw drives similar to those found in high-end mills and CNC Routers.

ShopSabre CNC is also an American made CNC manufacturer offering FULL production CNC Routing solutions so this allows you to add more advanced routing abilities to your CNC Plasma because of our experience and dedication to the CNC Routing technology. Most CNC plasma machines tell you to just bolt on a cheap CNC router, but what they fail to tell you is the forces a CNC router puts into the machine require a heavier X & Z Axis then ANY plasma machine provides. ShopSabre CNC uses the same technology from our CNC router division to give you the ability to add our true CNC router capabilities to the ShopSabre SideKick CNC Plasma model without having to sacrifice cut quality or precision. Look around the CNC router industry and you will see the high-quality CNC routers are equipped with similar drive technology and construction technology to handle the cutting forces of CNC router. After all, ShopSabre CNC is the only system in this price range with over 20 years of experience building an entire lineup of industrial CNC routers.

Powerful Motors

The ShopSabre CNC drives are all driven by Closed Loop High Torque Motors with real encoder technology. Our Y Axis has more power than any comparably priced machine and in most cases the Y Axis alone adds up to more torque and precision than many competitively priced machines entire machine combined. Many competitors use motors that are low torque Chinese Stepper Motors or half as powerful less accurate Servos which is why they run light aluminum gantries which produce low acceleration and deceleration rates which will result in poor cut quality. With higher acceleration/deceleration rates, you can cut into a corner or circle and get in and out faster while reducing the heat effect in one area causing the metal to blow out or warp severely. Don’t be fooled into believing all motors are created equal, the Term Servo and Stepper means nothing without the quality and technology behind them. Check the brand, the technology, and the sizes before assuming they are better. Lower quality Chinese DC Servos won’t provide you any advantages over older stepper motor technology so be sure the machine you buy has Quality Motors with closed loop technology and high torque built by a NAME Brand. Our CNC Plasma tables are engineered to be right, this means matched motor technology for the design – not just slapped together with a list of parts off the shelf generically produced.

The ShopSabre motors allow you to use speed to your advantage to keep the quality of your cuts a level above the rest. The quality matches what you find in the bigger more expensive machines, but the pricing matches what you get from the cheap imported CNC plasma machines and low quality aluminum/sheet metal constructed systems.

ShopSabre CNC Controller

ShopSabre CNC Controller

Power of Industrial Technology, Convenience of a PC

ShopSabre CNC uses the best of both worlds when it comes to a controller. Unlike many competitors, we DO NOT use cheap hobby controllers such as Mach 3 or something proprietary built that can cause programming issues. We use an industrial PCI controller that has been conveniently installed into a PC tower for compatibility and ease of operation. This makes the ShopSabre control the easiest to operate industrial controller and giving you the most control over your CNC system. Our system does not connect to the machine with a cheap printer port or USB cable. We use a true CNC grade industrial connection via a high-definition 37 pin connection. Standard USB cables used by most hobby machines run into communication errors because they are designed for 1-way communication (Computer to Cell Phone or Camera to Computer). CNC machines talk back and forth a lot, so the communication will directly affect the cutting abilities of a machine. ShopSabre CNC controllers take this into consideration and provide the smoothest transfer of information eliminating the “saw blade” look in your cuts or random un-programmed movements.

You do not want a system that has what others call “tunnel vision” because then you won’t be able to alter drawings at your CNC system or store files at your CNC. The ShopSabre has 250GB of AT MACHINE STORAGE from a Solid-State Hard Drive, and you can load your CAD software on the machine computer so you do not need to walk away to make changes to a file. This is largely because of the fact we have Windows OS available at your CNC Machine but do not run the machine through the Windows OS giving you the best of both worlds.

No Special Training and Maximum Capabilities

The ShopSabre CNC control system is simple to learn and requires NO special training because it is designed to be as easy as the cheap controller systems with the capabilities found in the $100,000+ CNC plasma machines.

The ShopSabre controller has a built-in microprocessor (PCI Card) that ONLY drives your CNC machine while the PC processor runs the PC and any programs you might have running. The ShopSabre CNC controller has available USB drives to ensure you can plug in your flash drives and external hard drives or USB wireless cards. The ShopSabre CNC system also comes with Ethernet capabilities as well as network capabilities. Many people are given false information from commission paid sales guys that all PC style controllers are only for hobby use. The ShopSabre CNC system has EVERY capability that the competitors with standalone controllers have along with many capabilities that the competitors cannot offer (even machines costing $100,000) such as these great features below:

Auto Machine Squaring

Each day our machines self squares and aligns themselves allowing you to work with the confidence that the machine is square and true.

Kerf Compensation

The ShopSabre can compensate for the flame kerf so your holes are round and your cuts are straight.


ShopSabre CNC plasma has the ability to trace templates or existing parts. This allows you to make mock-ups with cheap materials such as cardboard. Once you get the fitment right, you can trace your template and cut the real thing. If someone brings you a broken bracket, you can simply weld it together and trace it allowing you to cut out a new bracket to replace the broken one without having to depend on the weld to hold!

Direct Import

Go from .DXF file to cut out part in seconds with direct import capabilities

Sheet Alignment

Have you ever tried to align a 5 x 10 sheet of ¾” steel? It’s not fun, but our system allows you to reference corners of a sheet with your torch or laser sights and then auto skews the drawing to match the plate so you can cut out the parts knowing it will stay on the plate, helping to eliminate wasted material and time.

Restart Feature

Start and Stop anywhere on your table anywhere in your file by simple push button commands allowing you to fix a tip up or torch out and continue on the work you started without throwing away the metal.

Integrated Cutter Feature

If you purchase a Hypertherm cutter with the machine package, our Controller has the Powermax Settings pre-loaded for your convenience, you simply select the material you want to cut from the list and the machine pre-loads the speeds, feeds, cut height, torch height control, etc. On top of that, it will display the torch consumables you require to get started so you don’t have to flip through a manual or manually input settings – our control simply works better!

This is just a handful of the unique machine capabilities we offer along with photo recognition from ShopSabre quickdraw & EnRoute Fabrication which scales photos and imports art. The only limitation of a ShopSabre is the user’s imagination.

The ShopSabre PC Controller is designed to be in a work environment, so you can be assured that dust and dirt won’t cause an issue. And don’t worry about those windows updates that the competitors try to play off as the end of your machine. Windows has been around long enough and our engineers have figured out how to make everything work together in harmony. The controller updates with windows so you will never run into a problem with compatibility because we offer updates for life!

Digital Torch Height Control

Digital Torch Height Control

Control Your Torch Height

ShopSabre CNC Plasma machines come standard with Integrated Digital Torch Height control. Many people believe that torch height control is used on all materials, but that is incorrect. Torch Height control is used when cutting materials where warping is present, typically on material ½” and thinner. Our Torch height control system is not a standalone feature plugged into the system. Our system is integrated into the Plasma cutter on itself and controlled right on the operating screen of your machine allowing quicker response and more precision in the cuts. Our Torch Height Control can be easily activated or deactivated with a push of a button depending on what you are working on.

More Accurate Cuts

Many competitors have a separate box they wire to the cutter and computer; however, the ShopSabre system is designed to plug directly into the OEM Port specifically designed by Hypertherm & Thermal Dynamics on their Plasma cutters. Our torch height control reads constant voltage and monitors it unlike many systems that only check it for the first few seconds of a cut and then never watch the voltage. Our system will actually adjust for imperfections such as rust and warping, giving you more accurate cuts and better consumable life because it keeps the torch cutting in “the sweet spot” of the flame. When a flame cuts in the middle of the diamond, it gives a straighter cut with fewer bevels so you get a more accurate part. The torch height control by ShopSabre CNC can be set for delays allowing you to cut corrugated and extruded metals with great success. Don’t settle for inferior torch height control systems. Go with a system that has been proven with over 15 years of success unmatched by any comparably priced machine.

Hypertherm and Thermal Dynamics Torch Compatibility

Hypertherm and Thermal Dynamics Torch Compatibility

ShopSabre CNC Plasma cutters are compatible with two of the largest plasma torch names in the automated industry: Hypertherm and Thermal Dynamics. Our machines are so popular in today’s market that we work hand in hand with Thermal Dynamics and Hypertherms technicians and sales teams to provide you the best quality cutters available today. If you are not using one of these two manufacturers, then you are giving up cut quality.

Certified Technicians

ShopSabre technicians are invited to the Thermal Dynamics and Hypertherm Certification classes to ensure that the technology we use and the technology they use is passed along to you the customer. ShopSabre is also one of the only manufacturers whom build in these classes that is truly XPR certified by Hypertherm. This is very important because not everyone in CNC manufacturing is certified like ShopSabre CNC, and the support goes hand-in-hand with this. ShopSabre has CNC Plasma machines in the personal shops of many Thermal Dynamic and Hypertherm employees because of the quality and partnerships we have developed over the years of business in the CNC Plasma industry. Don’t trust systems with less experience when you can get into a system for similar money with much more quality and experience.

Other ShopSabre Benefits

  • ShopSabre CNC puts additional time and money into assuring that each CNC plasma system is 100% TESTED prior to leaving our facility so you won’t be the tester in the field. The ShopSabre CNC plasma is designed to drop into your building and go to work. We build your CNC plasma machine for YOU!
  • ShopSabre CNC puts more time and effort into verifying each mounting bracket and tool plate is precision machined to exacting specs to increase the overall cutting accuracy and better fitments to ensure you do not get any binding or excessive wear.
  • ShopSabre CNC uses High Grade CNC wiring (Continuous Flex Robotics wiring) that is specifically designed for the type of work a CNC plasma does. It can bend and move all day without having any issues and the anti-interference coating makes certain the wires are less likely to have interference from other electronic equipment in your shop, assuring you get the most accuracy possible. Many competitors use a cheap wire that can be purchased off the shelf for less money, yet they still charge comparable pricing. Cheap wiring with plasma frequency is a bad combination which is why our upgraded wiring is necessary for the best performance.
  • ShopSabre CNC plasma systems can be fully upgraded in the field, if you want to start with the basics and add the bells and whistles down the road almost every option, with few exceptions can be added after the sale in the field. (Ask Sales for Details)
  • ShopSabre CNC plasma tables are designed to be easy to work on so you do not need a ShopSabre CNC technician to come into your facility to help; we make it so that you incur low operational cost yet get a big return on your investment – Most clients with no CNC experience are running within a few hours of arrival!
  • If you do find yourself in need of help ShopSabre CNC offers FREE life-time tech support and assistance because we are that confident that our machine will last a life-time. If a manufacturer builds a product, we believe they should back it because we know the quality that comes with our systems we live by this philosophy. The ShopSabre systems can also be connected via internet to a ShopSabre technician allowing us to be there sooner at less cost. We also offer phone support as well as email support allowing you to make the call without fear of high bills. If you have questions contact us directly!
  • We also provide you FREE Life-Time Training Access and SabreNation University Access – this means we give you the tools to learn how to run your ShopSabre without added costs!
  • ShopSabre sales staff are not paid on commission, so the only reason for them to recommend an option is truly to benefit your project and CNC plasma machine capabilities. Instead of taking opinions from people who are paid more commission to sell you something you don’t need, trust our professional consultants who are here for you and your company.
  • ShopSabre CNC has no reason to encourage you to spend more money than you need to up front to perform your job but also won’t cut corners to make an easy or quick sale – we focus on your needs!
  • ShopSabre CNC plasma systems all come with a complete warranty to give you the peace of mind knowing your machine is covered.

Don’t be fooled by other systems on the market. We are so confident in our CNC Plasma machines we invite you to our facility to view where we construct them and see the quality first hand! With prices starting under $15,000, you can’t afford to not check us out!

Buy your Second CNC Plasma table the first time and be proud of your investment. Save yourself the headache of shopping again and contact our sales department today to get a quote or more information!

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