Discussion of March '17 update

Did anyone reach a conclusion on this, is the life estimation 2k or 10k?

He said he thinks 10k. It’s in a post somewhere

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Thats just it, I can’t find it.

I can find the time estimates:

My memory is almost infallible when it comes to this forum. The post you have linked was the most clear estimate that I remember in more that 17 months. (many thousands of hours, 2 years…) Don’t ever remember him saying anything close to the 10,000 hours before the post above. Not saying it isn’t true, just that my jaw would have hit the floor if I had read such a thing.


So… I get it… Glowforge isn’t going to support users replacing their tubes. That’s a problem for those of us internationally. However, if you’re using a custom/propriety tube that can’t be sourced elsewhere… are you going to provide it for sale?

I’d rather void my warranty and change the tube myself, than spend $1000 shipping the unit back and forth for what seems like a fairly simple job for anybody mechanically inclined.

The idea of certifying people to replace it in different areas is a sensible compromise. I’d be up for that. Shipping back isn’t an option… buying a different unit is.

There is an update to the update, they are going to allow you to replace the tube, or you can ship it back for them to do it.


I have heard that the 10,000 hour figure is total hours of tube existence, not hours of use. So that’s 1 year, 1 month, and 21 days, less however long it took to get from the factory to you.

Edit: this is hearsay, not fact… would love to have an expert weigh in.

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Heard where?

Someone on the Facebook group. Doesn’t sound right to me, but 10,000 use hours also seems insanely long (running 8 hours a day would mean it would last almost 3 and a half years.) I know there are other factors at play (CO2 -> CO + O2 due to use, etc.) but I would love to see an expert’s interpretation of the 10,000 hour figure vs. the “2 year with moderate use” figure.


Or worst.


Depends on how often you open your refrigerator…


FB is nonsense.

CO2 laser tubes last way more than 10,000 hours of existence. They also can last 10,000 or more (I think @smcgathyfay has a tube with 16,000 hours on it). But they typically don’t . The general rule of thumb for generic tubes is about 2,000 hours of use. And yes, that is a long time of use.

The trouble is that it depends on how hard the use is - is it mostly engraving or cutting, is it thin stuff low power/high speed or thick high power low speed…A lot like car mileage estimates - all depends on the type of driving you do.


search for “@dan 10k”. im sure something will come up

10k hours would be basically running it a 40 hour work week for 5 years, allowing for 2 weeks vacation each year. No doubt that would be awesome but it doesnt sound like glass tube lasers actually last anywhere near that.


Updated to quote the post, thanks @Tom_A !

It’s #348 in this very thread. But he qualified that the 10k number was from memory. I’d guess the lower number, often referenced, is more reliable.

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If you just highlight the text you want to quote, a “Quote” button will appear allowing you to quote. You can also use the Link button below the post to link directly to that post.

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@smcgathyfay has a couple of tubes like that - I think she said her 16,000 hour tube is a record for ULS and they know it.

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And makes sense. I believe her business lasers are primarily used to cut stencils out of thin material. As I understand it, lower power vector cuts will prolong life. Correct?


Correct on both counts. Although it’s not linear (e.g. cutting at 45% power doesn’t result in twice the life of cutting at 95%). What is also likely is that she cuts more than engraves and cuts have less impact on the tube than engraves do. Cuts have a lot of non-burning travel time as the head repositions. Engraves often have high density power on vs travel ratios.


I could be wrong about this (Dammit Jim, I’m a Banker, not an Engineer!) but I’d also guess that the short periods of on and off pulsing for complicated engraves puts more of a strain on the tubes, making it hard to estimate life.

If you are engraving stripes, it would likely be better to orient them horizontally on the bed (if possible) so that the laser runs continuously to create the length of the stripe rather than pulsing on and off to create the width of each one.