CO2 Laser Engravers really started flooding the market after the year 2000. Although they had already been around for decades, they became more affordable which ignited a firestorm of interest due to the many applications CO2 Laser Engravers can handle. As technology continued to improve, available wattage levels slowly increased. The increase in wattage levels fueled the interest for CO2 Laser Cutters even more.
If you are considering the purchase of a CO2 Laser Marking & Cutting System and have been doing some reading you are probably aware of the different types of laser sources available. The two that you will generally see manufacturers using are RF Metal Lasers and DC Glass Lasers. There are some significant differences between the two. Universal designs and manufactures RF Metal core, air cooled laser cartridges. The fact they manufacture their own puts the customer in a great position when it comes to cost and availability. To learn more about the advantages of metal core lasers please visit this link to Universal’s website.
Today’s DC Glass Lasers are virtually the sameDC Glass Laser Cropped design since they were introduced in the early 60’s. At one point they were quite popular. You won’t likely find them manufactured here in the USA anymore. China is the primary supplier of these.
The manufacturing process of the DC Glass Lasers depends on highly accurate glass blowing skills. The first word that might come to mind is “fragile” and that is correct. Adding to the cost of the glass tube is the skill involved in sealing them so the gases will not escape. They need to be hard sealed and that is why you generally see the optic attached right at the end of the tube.
To excite the DC Glass Lasers, high current (tens of milli-amperes) along with very high voltage is needed. This introduces a safety concern and extreme care is required. Because of the high voltage needed, water cooling becomes necessary. Without a chiller type of unit cooling the glass tube it simply breaks and that is the end of it. Having to add a chiller, which consists of controls, circulation pump, filters, heat exchanger, and so on, adds to the complexity and expense of this technology.
And lastly, the other things to expect from DC Glass Lasers is a lower quality laser pulsing which will be a disadvantage when it comes to laser processing, especially with images, and also the life of the tube. There are several variables that, when added up, put a much shorter life span on them. These include the fragility of the tube, gas leakage, and contamination. As a result, the life is more than likely months, not years.
There is nothing wrong with buying cheaper CO2 Laser Cutters. You just need to know what you are getting into because the seller is not likely going to point out the weaknesses. RF Metal Laser 491pxRF Metal Lasers, thanks to advancements in RF Metal Laser technology, have greatly changed laser processing speed and quality. The laser gas mixture is hermetically sealed in a metal chamber. Precision RF energy is used to create ionized gas plasma in order to produce a laser beam.The RF Metal Lasers are compact, durable, and air cooled. They are operated at low voltages and require no water to cool them. Therefore they are safe to run in almost any environment.
The performance quality and much longer life of the RF Metal Lasers compared to the DC Glass tubes have made them the laser of choice today.
So, in closing, whether you purchase a CO2 Laser for Acrylic Cutting, marking on wood, or etching into stone, RF Metal Laser cartridges are surely the better choice. DC Glass lasers do have their place in the market, you just have to do your research and determine what level of quality and longevity you are looking for. Be sure to also consider the operating cost in the long term.
For more information and specifications on laser cartridges, please visit this link to Universal’s website.