Laser tube life span



Do we know more about how long the laser tube will last on the pro?
Also have you guys figured out the replacement price on them. I know
you guys had mentioned a while back that maybe 2 years and under 500.
That will be my biggest concerns to figure out before mine ships. $500 every
2 years is a lot. That would end up making this laser more expensive than
others in the long run.
Jeremy G.

Why wait to buy glowforge

Approximately 2 years and $500 is all that is known, but the lifespan is an estimate as it is custom and there is no reliability data on it yet. According to this article it doesn’t seem outside the norm.


So is the 2 years actual years or use time? What I mean is do I get 17520 hours of use from the laser tube, or does it have to be replaced every 2 years no mater what?


We don’t know what the lifespan will be for the Glowforge custom tubes, but the 2-3 year lifespan quoted in the article was calendar years and for typical use. Never used a laser long enough to worry about the tube. My brother uses them every day and told me. For heavy use it will need to be replaced earlier. What happens if you use it 5 hours a year. Would it last your lifetime? Don’t know.


The most interesting quote in the article was: “As a laser system salesman/dealer I along with everyone else in the industry never discussed that sometime in the future there was going to be a major expense that will require money outlay to continue laser operations… This was something we as dealers did not think of, did not consider and definitely did not discuss.” The interesting part was this guy admits that they just didn’t think about it. If his products were crowdfunded the community would be screaming that it was somehow hidden information and that the dealer was a slimy cheat.


Ive been told that the key is keeping them cool and not overheating. If they could have a way to water cool
the tube that would make me feel a lot better. If they over heat, it will mess up seals and cause the co2 to leak.
I know this from my 2 neighbors who have shops that use lasers. One that was air cooled didn’t do the job so
they upgraded to a water cooled system. So Dan, if you know anything on being able to add a water cooled
system, let us know. And when they suspect to know how much the tubes will be and confirm if we can install
them our selves.


It has been stated elsewhere that it is in fact water cooled. I found one such post from Dan from October 3, I am pretty sure there are others too though.


No, 17520 would be great but they are talking about 2 years of “typical” home use, think of a incandescent light bulb, you may have the one that blows three days after the warranty is up or you could get the one that gets used a lot and is still going strong after 5 years of hard use. It will be literally years until we have good data on this. It will be very interesting to see a scatter chart on this three or four years from now. Will they blow in a pretty tight group or will the mean deviation be large?
All we know for sure is if it goes under warranty it is a freebie after that it is going to cost. I’m hoping for 500 hours but like I said, we just don’t know.


Thinking that this is an economics lesson for some of those non-standard Glowforge uses. Don’t see wasting the laser tube life on anything that can be done easier, quicker and cheaper other ways. Many examples throughout the forum. For me, cooking bacon is not high on my laser list, and I love bacon.


Thanks everyone. Thats good it is water cooled.


Agree 110%, that is why I bought a Cameo for less than $200 to a) introduce myself to cutting thin flat things and b) to continue to cut vinyl and other things it will cut better than the GF.


I’m bringing this thread back to life hoping that after 6 months there’s more info on the matter.

The thing is, if the laser degrades too much just by aging (not being used) then this is a problem for me.

Personally, I know I would use the GF… rarely. Economically speaking it would make more sense for me to just get some stuff laser cut from Ponoko or similar. The reasons I’m getting a GF are mainly:

  • I want to be able to fiddle with different designs without waiting every time for stuff to be made and shipped to me. 10 iterations while tweaking kerf and other things would easily translate to 10 weeks.
  • The working area is bigger then cheap chinese laser cutters
  • I like the innovations this company is making and want to support

So… any news?


Fully understand the question and concern. The company probably won’t give you the answer that you need. Since it’s a custom tube and Glowforge has only had those for at best 4 months there wouldn’t be enough reliability data on shelf life. The only possibility is if there is existing data on common Chinese laser tubes, and I could pretty much guarantee that the official line will be that Dan expects theirs to be better.


Is there a shelf life on a laser tube?


No clue. For me it would be like is there a shelf life on a pizza. If it’s not eaten it doesn’t exist.

Edit: A quick google search suggests there is a shelf life on laser tubes. Obviously depends on type and quality of the tube. Nothing that I could see gives you any real data. A lot of anecdotal stuff other than the actual warranty on different tubes.


Heheheh, I assumed it would be like a light bulb, hours of use, and it could sit static indefinitely.


I was told by Universal lasers that their tubes do better if used often. Of course these are air cooled so totally different than the GF liquid cooled.
The laser I use most often in my business is on its 16th year and still going strong…I use it practically every day for 6-8 hours. The other one only lasted 8.5 years but I used it maybe 1 or 2 days a week if even that much…


16 years… got your money’s worth outta that one!


It’s like owning a truck (or for people living in cities a car). You really don’t need one much and when you do you could rent one. But, the convenience of being able to just grab the keys and go when you need to haul a load of something can make it worth having one around.

I know having the laser in the garage lets me work on projects I wouldn’t get around to doing if I had to travel to the shop with the big laser. I’m looking forward to the GF to work inside this winter (my current laser is in the garage) and to speed the time from concept to first iteration with better software support for a more streamlined workflow.


The Universal tube is, if I’m not mistaken, a very different technology - extruded aluminum tube (instead of glass) with an RF power supply (instead of DC). So I wouldn’t make any guesses based on that.

Unfortunately no news to share on shelf life for our glass tubes.