Choosing the Best Replacement Tube for a Laser Machine
Most of the laser-based cutting and engraving machines found in small business settings today include tubes that actually produce the all-important beam of light. All such laser tubes have limited lifespans, although high-quality parts will typically provide thousands of hours of service before needing to be replaced. Given that laser tube price are normally quite considerable, understanding the most important issues will make procuring a suitable, affordable replacement a lot less stressful.
Not All Tubes Are Created Equal
There are now quite a few manufacturers of such components and many times more retailers who distribute their output. As a result, it can be somewhat challenging to decide which part to purchase and from which source. Two of the factors that most commonly end up being important to consider include:
Seal type. All tubes need to be sealed in order to retain the charge of mixed gases that allows them to actually produce a laser beam. There are a number of ways of achieving this, some of which tend to hold up better under real-world conditions than others. In most cases, a glass tube will be capped on one end with a metal part that provides the necessary seal and which allows for connection to the rest of the machine. This cap can either be glued on permanently or bonded using a special process whereby the cooling glass adheres to the metal directly. The latter approach is more difficult to carry out, but will normally result in a more reliable tube.
Size. The amount of gas a tube contains determines how powerful of a beam it can generate. Tubes vary with regard to both diameter and length, with the overall volume of each deriving from these two factors. Because most machines will only be able to accept tubes of up to a certain thickness, this dimension will often be shared between parts of different power ratings while the length varies. A 100 watt CO2 laser tube could be of the same diameter as a 150w laser tube, with the latter simply being about fifty percent longer. In any case, it will always be necessary to know beforehand which parts a particular machine will be able to accept.
Sourcing from a High Quality Supplier Makes Life Easier
Given that there are now many sources for such parts, some buyers assume that simply looking for the lowest price will be enough to ensure a successful purchase. In practice, it will normally be more productive to find a supplier who focuses on quality and consistency and will stand behind each product.