I’ve seen it happen several times over the years where someone will turn their noses up at a machine when they hear it has a glass tube laser. Many people have been brainwashed into thinking that these tubes are no good, won’t last, or have bad beam quality. Why do they believe this? Where do these myths come from?
Let me try to explain this by putting yourself in the position of a salesman selling a RF laser machine. You know you’re selling a product that is 5 to 20 times the cost of a glass laser tube. You know that your product actually has worse beam quality and with all the complicated components, won’t give the customer any longer life. You also know that many of your customers won’t be able to afford the repairs or replacement costs when it comes time fix their laser. How do you sell such a product? Well, you start by spreading rumors and keep perpetuating the rumors until they are accepted as fact. Unfortunately, these rumors have led many people down a very expensive path.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say RF lasers are no good. RF lasers have proven themselves to be a very reliable product. What I am trying to say is that glass tube lasers have proven themselves to be just as reliable, with several important advantages.
• Price – The biggest advantage of glass tube lasers is price. At 1/5 to 1/20 the price of RF lasers, these lasers offer huge price advantages. These cost savings not only affect the initial cost of a laser cutter, but also maintenance and repair costs. Because of this, people who have purchased these machines have found their start up and operating cost to be a lot lower, allowing them to offer lower prices on their products. I have talked to many customers who are beating the pants off their competition because of their start up and operating cost advantages.
• Laser Tube Quality – CO2 glass laser tubes have been around since their invention by Kumar Patel at Bell Labs in 1964. Since then, the development of glass tubes has not been stagnant, but they have evolved for almost 50 years. The sealed laser tubes used today are a product of these many years of development.
• Simplicity – As an engineer, I always tried to apply the KISS (keep it simple stupid) theory in my designs. The simpler the design, the lower the cost would be, while the reliability would go up. The simplicity of these tubes and the DC power supplies, which powers them, is one of their major advantages. The complexity of a RF laser and the electronics required for a RF generator is not only expensive but also just begging for something to go wrong.
• Beam Quality – Another major advantage is beam quality. Since all glass laser tubes are round they produce a perfectly round beam naturally. On the other hand, most RF tubes are square or rectangular and require special, expensive optics to convert the beam shape to round.
So the next time you hear someone saying something unflattering about glass tube lasers, try to remember where they are coming from. In most cases it’s from someone who is trying sell a product they know is more expensive than is required and would like you to open your wallets for reasons that they are trying to justify. As glass laser tubes have evolved over the years they can offer you many years of reliable service at a much lower price. This price savings is not only going to save you money in your initial purchase, but put you in a much more competitive advantage over your competition.