When Do I Know If I Need A New Laser Tube

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#1

When do I know if I need to replace a laser tube and what is the official GF policy on tubes now? I have two Glowforge units. One is about a year older than the other. The older unit engraves significantly lighter than the newer model. My only assumption is that the older unit’s tube is getting towards the end of its life. If that is true, how do I replace this and how much is it? I have seen quite a bit of conversation on this topic but I can’t find an official GF statement and pricing. Hopefully, I don’t have to send the whole unit in as that is a huge disruption to my business. I live in Hawaii and it will take probably about a month round trip just for transit of my machine if I have to send it in. Not to mention the cost of shipping is a lot more than someone shipping from California or even New York. Any clear information on this would be appreciated. Mahalo!

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#2

I’m curious about this as well. I’m getting close to 2 years on mine.

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#3

I don’t think shelf life counts. I think only usage does. Could be wrong though.

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#4

Definitely does.

And it’s better to use it, than not use it.

Though, the estimates are largely a crapshoot.

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#5

Found this. Seems reasonable…

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#6

It does but not nearly as much as use by large margin.

Even the two years of usage is a wild guess. It’s one of those generally accepted metrics in the CO2 laser world. But the reality is it can also be 10 years of active use.

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#7

I use my machine commercially about 8-12 hours a day on average at least 5 days a week, sometimes 7 days. Chances are, I will be needing a new laser tube soon for my older unit. I wish there were a clear cut online resource about tube replacement. Seems, from what I can sort out through the forums, that I will need to ship it and have GF replace the tube for me. Who do I contact about that? How do I arrange such a service? Can I have them do a diagnostic and cleaning on the other parts of the machine while it is there? Inquiring minds want to know.

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#8

Someone from Glowforge will have to respond about it.
They said at one point that they would be willing to sell the laser tube if people want to replace it themselves. This was the last official statement I remember about this.

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#9

It’s in the FAQ on the Glowforge website:

Do you have to replace the laser tube?

The Glowforge tube is custom made - it’s 850mm and has improvements for longer lifetime and smaller spot size. It’s rated for 2 years, and the tube is covered under the warranty. Out of warranty, we’ll replace it and realign it for you for $499, including roundtrip shipping within the US. We’ll also have a replacement tube parts package available for purchase. Note that these are sold as spare parts only; the replacement tube parts package does not come with instructions.

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#10

Not at an expert, I thought that usage made little difference but shelf life does? Maybe someone who knows more than me can correct me if I’m wrong.

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#11

I was under the impression that usage was the main factor in the life of a tube and type of use, cuts using it up faster than engraving, affected the life as well.

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#12

Too bad they don’t give a tube only price.

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#13

You can drastically reduce the life of the tube by over driving it. Glowforge does not allow us to overdrive the tube, so the amount of use shouldn’t be a big factor in it’s usage life. Usage of the laser does not consume the gas in the tube.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the bigger issue is that the the laser tube is not a perfect seal. Overtime, the gas in the tube leaks out, slowly degrading the performance of the laser. My guess is the helium is probably escaping first. That small little bugger is hard to keep still.

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#14

Seems to be typical of humans too, that as we age, we leak more gas.:wink:

Yes, some type of diagnostic would be good at this point. Good question.

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#15

Proofgrade settings are probably a good leading indicator, assuming all of the optics are in good shape.

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#16

Sent ours in that had a broken (glass breakage) tube. $500 including shipping. You might get a refurb unit back like we did. But they did ask if we wanted to wait 4 weeks or just send a refurb. We have 3 and that one did not have snapmarks so we opted for the refub in hopes of a crap shoot that the refurb had it. Well… it did not but neither did the one we sent in and did not have to wait 4 weeks. No harm no foul! Customer service did an adequate job of communication and service. Nothing stellar but not like the service we have had in the past or as bad as some others have had. Kudos to GFCS!

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