Laser replacements after using the GF

The internal gases breakdown with use and through leakage. But just like lightbulbs and similar things you can get way more or way less time on a CO2 tube. I’ve seen people burn them out in 2 months (overpowering the tube is really hard on the tube life) and I think @smcgathyfay said she’s got a tube that’s 16(!) years old and operating fine. The 2-3 year average lifespan for “average” use is the only guideline you’ll get from nearly any laser mfg. What’s “average use” is up for definition - it’s like my car’s oil change intervals when they finally told everyone that city driving is “harsh conditions” and not “average daily driving” so to ignore the standard interval and go with the shorter harsh driving conditions interval. No word on what “average” is for a GF.

One good thing we have with this is that it’s intelligent enough to pause when the temperature is too high - that’s not a typical laser feature - so running it hot won’t be as big an issue as with most lasers. I don’t know if it will let you specify a maximum power limit for the machine vs the job - I run my lasers at 95% power or less. The impact of power on a CO2 tube is non-linear - it actually spikes pretty rapidly above 95-98% power. So keep your jobs to cut at 95% or lower and that will help lifespan as well.


Yes I understand they wear depending on use and power. I ordered a pro for business use but since it won’t turn up now until July 2017 I will have actually retired then and be drawing my pension! So I will only be using it very occasionally and was hoping the tube would last pretty much as long as I do. Particularly as $500 is exorbitant for a laser tube.

Unless they are faulty light bulbs don’t leak significantly when cold. They have a very long shelf life and if run under voltage they will last virtually forever because the life time is inversely proportional to the 12th power of voltage. Consequently if slightly overrun they last no time at all, just like laser tubes. Similarly if they don’t have enough ventilation the life goes down.

@dan, do the tubes have a rated shelf life?

Yep, agree entirely with this.
Classic modern day example of this is the Centennial Light. TIL - Lately they have been running it through a Uninterruptable PSU. Probably for the voltage smoothing and to generally keep it constantly powered during any power fluctuations or interruptions.

Also, Light Bulb Methuselahs is an interesting read.

What I didn’t see mentioned here (and I admit I skimmed pretty fast trying to get caught back up on all the posts this week) is that you won’t need to replace the filter if you are venting to outside using the 4" vent hose. I bought a Pro + Filter but I intent to vent outside and not use the filter on all but the coldest days (below zero Fahrenheit or so). And I don’t expect to cut much acrylic. I’m hoping I’ll only need 1 or 2 filter replacements a year under those conditions.


No way to know until filters are in the wild, but I nonetheless guess that in your use case, filter cartridges would be good for 1-2 years.

The filter only “ages” when actually used. Venting to the outside would totally bypass it, so no consumption/blocking of the media.


If the filter has an activated carbon element, that can absorb chemical fumes or vapors from the air unless it is sealed from ambient air when not in use. That could be an issue if you are a frequent consumer of White Castle sliders, most anything from Taco Bell or similar foods.


Is that a fart joke? I’m in just the right mood to find that hilarious.


More of a noxious gaseous emission caution, but feel free to laugh. Won’t hurt my feelings a bit.

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I asked Dan about the Laser replacement time before i signed up on the initial days of the campaign.
I could try to find his response (will post if i do) but he said they essentially testing the life of them as development progressed. Unless they now have manufacturing data on their life-time i assume that is still the case.

I’ve actually started a topic on this a couple of times and hit abandon. I have a Pro with filter on order but perfectly good with venting outside since I’m now moving to 6 acres. Activated charcoal has an almost indefinite shelf life, from what I google, when sealed airtight. But what about when it’s just sitting below the unit and not hooked up? I wonder how much it will degrade over time?


So far as I know, the capacity of activated carbon is dependent on the concentration of contaminants and the affinity of those contaminants to the carbon. Air has almost no affinity so won’t be absorbed much, if at all. Google should turn up a lot of info - books have been written on the subject. Googling on “activated carbon adsorption isotherms” should turn up some useful or interesting info.


I can only imagine that local air-quality would affect the useful lifespan of exposed activated carbon.
For example, in my area tomorrow the AQI is forecast to be 102, putting it into the orange “unhealthy for sensitive groups” category. If my glowforge were going into the garage, that is the air it would be filtering.

I remember reading about how modern emission-controlled diesel vehicles, if properly tuned and functioning, will spit cleaner air out of the exhaust than what is entering the intake when operated in significantly polluted areas, like LA. (although I can’t remember where I read that, and a quick google only found me a statement from a VW guy in 2010 :thinking: -edit- also, I remember this factoid as being about full-size american pickups)


2010 VW TDI owner here… while partially true, this is an oversimplification. You can have a particle trap to capture exhaust particulate, and then use the heat of the exhaust/engine to burn off the matter through a “regeneration” (regen) process. Usually this cycle happens while maintaining full engine temperature for an extended period of time.

However, although this works somewhat, it’s not completely effective. The best solution is to mix the exhaust with urea (yes, piss), and then burn it off.

The whole “we can burn off particulate without the need for urea” is basically at the center of the VW emissions scandal, because it’s a combination of faking static-line tests for EPA and using an under-engineered pollution capture method.

VW first touted the solution as a “urea free” process which would have been amazing if only it was real. But as the EPA continued to raise the stakes after 2010, even they had to add urea/“Blue” to the vehicles.


Both of mine are a different type of laser tube - aluminum air-cooled. So no comparison with water cooled glass tubes.


Ooooo…nice. Rechargeable? Expensive puppies but amortized over their life the initial price doesn’t feel so bad.

Cost me $1500 to recharge one of them recently (it was 8 years old) The 16 year one is still going strong! Apparently I have the longest known working Universal laser by about 4 years…according to the tech guy at Universal laser Systems…lol


That’s amazing! Did they give you a discount? Because that sounds like the sort of thing you give a discount for :slight_smile:


It does remove gasses, and notify you of time to change. We’re working with specialized environmental and toxicology experts on this - we’ll publish detailed instructions before we ship production filters. Since it’s a safety related matter, I won’t provide interim information.

No, but that’s a neat feature idea for the hopper. Thanks!

Information on this is spotty. We’ve been discussing with a number of experts. The best estimate we have right now is that tubes lose 5% of their power power per year when used lightly.

We recently tested tubes that we stored for two years and saw negligible changes in power levels, but there was not enough data to be meaningful.


lol I told them I should get an award with a discount…lmao but they didn’t…:wink: