We need a new laser tube, should we upgrade to 150W?

Hi all,
I think we should upgrade to a 150W tube so that we have a more powerful laser cutter. This will require retesting the materials, and maybe some re training of laser users.

I’m double checking with the manufacturer but I think the 150W tube requires a lead time of 1 week, and is $1600 (not including shipping from China). In comparison, the 100W tube is already in stock and costs $800 (not including shipping from China).

I’m waiting to hear back from the manufacturer, but I estimate $400 shipping.

What are your thoughts? Should we stick with 100W or upgrade to 150W?

Edit: shipping is $240 from China. Another option that Tyler reported below is that Frank, the engineer that looked at our laser, can sell us a more repairable 150W tube (has tube to counter gas depletion) for $2000

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I guess we should come up with a list of questions. For start:

Is the life of a 150W tube similar to a 100W tube, or does a 150W tube last longer? (is lifespan related to # of hours or power use)

What is the status of our chiller and does a 150W tube require better chiller performance? Why was our chiller overheating recently and did this damage the old laser tube? Do we need to upgrade or service the chiller?

Is the 150W tube under warranty if we buy it from that company? Why is shipping so expensive?

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The shipping is just my guess for a giant glass tube but I’m asking for the actual number in WeChat

Great questions! Chris messaged me some too:

  1. Ensure the 150W the tube fits our cabinet; higher-power CO2 tubes are usually LONGER
  2. Ensure it’s a real 150W rated for continuous-duty.
  3. There are long-life tubes available with improved components.
  4. Ensure the cabinet and Chiller can handle the increased power and heat.

I asked on WeChat and will report back

The repair guy (Frank Bakonyi) was telling me about various options today for replacement tubes. He said he’d send an email with options he recommended.

Per his analysis: the gas in the tube was mostly depleted, and unfortunately our model of tube does not have a gas change-out option. A similar tube with the gas exchange option looks like the below:

He said that the chiller appeared to be working fine, but we should keep in mind the increased heat of a 150W and be sure our chiller would support a larger tube.

He also had a more modern 150W replacement option that they would sell to us for $2,000 with a 10,000 active hour life. If we wanted to go for a real upgrade…

Shipping is $240 so the Chinese one is only 10% cheaper than the one Frank is selling. And it will be nice for him to support it on site if we need installation help or future maintenance


I emailed Frank yesterday:
Hi Frank,

Thanks so much for looking at the laser cutter today. Please send us an invoice for us to settle.

Tyler mentioned that you had a $2000 150W replacement tube suggestion that would fit our machine and also has attachments for fixing gas depletion. Can you provide a link to more info about that specific tube so we can double check compatibility?



Dear Ruth.

Here is a summary of my findings in regard to your laser status.

Upon my arrival with Tyler’s help we figured out that the power breaker was off, for safety consideration so the laser system will not be turned off inadvertently.

After that the laser system came on successfully.

Judging it from the red pointing laser it appeared that the rough alignment is correct.

For next I have tried to make a laser burn on a piece of paper as to see the laser mode, which is indication of its health.

At 10% setting there was no output strong enough to mark the paper.

At 20%, similar results.

Finally, after several incremental steps at 80% power setting, the outer parameter of the beam started showing up. It should have been an immediate burn in the paper at a calculated 120W output.

I have checked the laser power burns before and after the laser mirrors. After the second mirror the beam burn became weaker, so I cleaned the mirror just before it.

After that the burn mark did started to show. By the time it arrived to the focusing head (the cutting area) it was barely visible.

Also by looking at the plasma of the laser tube when it was ON, it was indicating a very weak energy level.

I did not find any refill attachment to the laser tube itself, nor the manual indicated to have any.

These type of lasers were manufactured in the US in the late 70-s. However, there were a small pressurized container attached to the side with a small zoning chamber which allowed the laser to be refilled several times with fresh gas since the laser on operation uses up the internal gases from the tube.

This is the case of your laser. It have used up the internal gas and it is not able to output any more reasonable power without refilling it or replacing it with another unit.

We can recommend two possible solution for your system:

Either a replacement laser tube (there are other makers with a longer lifetime indication) to be purchased and installed. One is recommended made by a more reputable Chinese company, Reci. They have a 130W unit.

These have local suppliers so the 30% tariff likely will not apply to them.

One of those units we could supply for you installed for $1850.00.

There is another solution, which gets more involved. It is to replace the laser with a US made industrial, commercial laser. It is manufactured by Synrad.

These are available used with various time on them. The lifetime of these units is about 15 000+ hours of ON time (when the laser actually is firing). It translates into many years of operation.

They do require a chiller also.

It could be grafted into your machine since physically they would fit inside your enclosure at the back.

Please advise of your thoughts and questions in regarding the solution to your project.

Have a very good afternoon.


Hi Frank,

How much is the Synrad laser including install? And are there any appropriate higher wattage options? (If so let me know pricing of those too).


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Laser Party fundraiser anyone? :laserguild::fiestaparrot:

Any update, @ruthgrace? Local laser tube with support sounds like a good option to me. Happy to help move things along if I can!

Hi @grant , we’re trying to arrange logistics for getting a 130W tube (150W peak) to the space next week, and once that’s in place we’ll book the laser tech for installation. So if everything goes well we’ll be back in business in 3 weeks (it will probably take us an additional week to figure out what all the cutting settings are with the new tube for the most common materials)

Let’s make sure the consensus item passes (I think it will). I didn’t pass it last meeting as I was the only member present and almost no one was in chat. If people cant make it this week, is it alright if I pass the consensus item. If you have any concerns please message me.

Also should I add a retraining and retesting of materials section to the consensus item, or the laser maintainer category to the consensus item.

Here is a link to the current consensus item page with the laser item.


Please add any comments to it that you think are nessasary. Or message me or post it here for me to add.

@pyconaut why is the laser tube a consensus item? We have enough in the laser fund (I thought we had over $2000) cc @themanmaran


I remember that when we first got the laser we discussed at a few meetings that if we ended up buying a new tube of a different power that is should probably go through consensus. And since it is such a big purchase it should at least be discussed at a meeting as the laser is very critical to many people at noisebridge. As well as if we need to recertify everyone with the new laser. Having input before the final purchase I thing would be important. Though with so few people coming to meetings it is very hard to get general opinions on anything (though slack and discuss help a bit). Also it is a good way to have accountability for our purchase for future refrence, and that it was desided as a group.

If enough people think it can be done through small c then that is probably fine, I just haven’t seen any large group generally discuss it.

My personal opinion is that a machine that has dozen’s of consistent users should have a lot of accountability for changes to it that will affect everyone, especially if retraining is required.

I do think you are correct about the laser fund.

This is why I want comments and opinions, as if any of you have talked with other laser users and a number are fine with retraining and recertifying materials, then that might be all that needs to be brought up at the meeting. (Most people I have talked to in the space are very interested in getting a more powerful laser but are concerned about retraining if it isn’t consistently available.)

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Hey Ryan. I talked to Ruth a bit about this, and I’m not sure it should be a big C consensus item either.

Going for a major upgrade (e.g. buying an entirely new laser) should definitely be a consensus, but repairing the one we have seems like a pretty obvious choice. And I feel that the consensus process is just some tacked on bureaucracy.

The cost difference between the replacement 100W and a 130W is relatively low as well ($950 - $1,150).

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