Lasers RF And Glass Tubes
CO2 (carbon dioxide)lasers emit invisible radiation in the infra red region of the spectrum, wavelength 10.6 microns. There are several types mainly RF laser tubes, including solid state versions which cost typically £3k -£5k and have lifetimes of the order of 6 -10,000 hours. We can supply these already fitted to our machine, typically doubling the cost of a 600X 900 mm bed cutter/engraver. They are cooled by blowing air rapidly over them and can thus be noisy. Obviously they cost several thousand pounds to replace and re-gas at £1800 -£2000 which with a school budget has been hard to find for some of our customers .
The lasers we usually use are made of glass and can be replaced for about £250. They last typically 1000-1500 hours but can last much longer. Two years ago we supplied a machine fitted with such a laser and it is still in regular use, for several hours each day. The tube fitted to a new machine is guaranteed for three months and can be fitted by a reasonably skilled person as, apart from the mechanical holding system, it only requires two simple joints.
The joints are best sealed with a special silicone compound to reduce the chance of high voltage breakdowns. Glass tubes are water cooled, using a simple system with a small pump and reservoir in which the water is allowed to cool before re-entering the laser. For machines used intensively, say several hours each day, a water chiller will be needed,ours have a refrigerant and radiator to chill the water resevoir .
We now can offer a long life selection of tubes with 80watt,100watt,150watt with a lifespan of 10,000 hours this is a first in the U.K with a competitive price of less than £1500.00 to upgrade with tube and power supply.
We supply the CW4000 Chiller Unit priced at £395 + VAT. Cheaper coolers may just blow air over a radiator carrying the cooling water. It will wreck the laser tube if it is run it without cooling water or if the water is too hot and we provide interlocks to stop you turning it on without the water pump working. Some ingenious operators still manage to try…. The choice between the two main types of laser is one you must make, but be aware of the substantial difference in replacement costs. They both need positioning carefully so the invisible beam hits the centre of the mirrors in the ‘flying optics’ system delivering it to the focussing lens, near the material being engraved. This alignment needs practice, so we will be happy to fit new tubes when needed, to be on the safe side. Of course we provide instructions, in the form of a DVD, to show you how to align the system.