Three Issues to Consider When Buying a New Tube for a Laser Cutter or Engraver

Many businesses today now rely extensively on machines that use laser beams to cut or engrave any of various materials. While there are other technologies that are commonly used, most such pieces of equipment include laser tubes that are responsible for actually producing light that can be focused into a beam.

As these parts always have limited lifetimes, any such component will eventually need to be replaced. Understanding the various options will make it simple to choose an appropriate replacement.

Many Types of Tubes, and a Number of Suitable Options for Many Machines

Some few laser machines today are designed to be used with only tubes of a single, set specification. In most cases, though, there will be significantly more leeway regarding which replacement parts can be installed. While some of the differences among the many tubes on the market might be accommodated by a particular machine, there will also be others where no such latitude is available. Some of the factors that typically matter the most include:

Length. Very few machines will be ready to accept tubes that exceed a particular length. Fortunately, tubes are mostly only available in a few, fairly standardized lengths, so this important issue will not normally be a cause of confusion. Even so, making sure to focus from the beginning on tubes of appropriate lengths will make things much easier.

Diameter. When it comes to the diameter of a tube, most machines will allow significantly more leeway. All else being equal, a CO2 laser tube of greater diameter will also produce more power, with the same relationship holding with regard to length. A 150 watt laser tube will normally be noticeably longer and thicker than one rated for only a fraction of that, with a greater volume of gas being excited by a more energetic electric current and producing more photons, as a result.

Power. Although the length and diameter of a tube will contribute directly to its power consumption and output, building tubes that can endure higher levels of energy requires more than merely making them larger. As a result, laser tube price also tends to increase with elevated power rating even in the case of two parts whose physical dimensions are identical.
Many Hours of Service from an Appropriately Selected Tube

While tubes can be fairly expensive even relative to the purchase prices of they machines they are fitted to, most will provide thousands of hours of service without fail. As they tend to be fairly easy to select, obtain, and install, the tubes that most laser machines rely upon rarely end up causing problems.


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