Apologies if this has been hashed out before, pointers to relevant threads are welcome.
Is there a tradeoff between using the laser at higher power settings and lifespan?
Or is the lifespan of the tube fairly fixed no matter the power settings?
It seems to me that yes, using it at full power would reduce its service life.
And using it at half power would yield a longer lifespan than running it at full power.
Therefore given the choice between a slower print and a faster, higher power print, if you value lifespan over speed, you’d choose the slower speed.
BUT, that is a guess made by me, someone with zero knowledge of its engineering so I’m asking for an expert explanation.
I’ve wondered about this before, but what prompted me to ask was the new “SD Graphic” setting.
My understanding is that this setting produces a more accurate engrave.
But, I notice that the speed seems to about half of what it was before, which increases the time required to print.
And that made me wonder again, is running the tube at half power, but for %50 longer better, or worse, for the lifespan?
Is a longer print time actually a little harder on the tube?
Or does it not make any difference at all?
Is the laser’s lifespan pretty much fixed given any use pattern?
I ask partly because I’ve tweaked a lot of designs for the SD Graphic old setting, and they depend on the depth and somewhat on the tone of that engrave setting, which was fairly consistent for PG plywood.
After doing a couple of tests the results of the new setting are decently close, but just different enough that I’d want to refactor my designs. And I’ve actually developed tricks to deal with the accuracy of the old fast engrave, so accuracy wasn’t a problem.
Which is to say I’d like to stick with the old settings, but if the full power setting may be shortening the tube’s service life I’d consider adjusting my designs.