Laser cutters employ a great deal of modern technology, but at the heart of these machines is the light tube that creates the laser that does the cutting. A laser cutter tube isn’t something that will last forever. At some point, it will begin to fail and burn out completely and it is at this point, most machine owners will look for an affordable laser tube.
RF and DC Laser Tubes
Finding an adequate yet affordable replacement tube may seem difficult, but understanding the different options for replacement tubes and understanding the pros and cons of each type of tube will help a person needing a one to find it at an acceptable price point. As it relates to choices, a replacement laser tube will come in a DC or RF form.
DC laser tubes are the most common and they operate on a direct current platform. RF tubes are a bit more specialized and they use radio frequencies to produce the highly focused light needed for a laser cutter. The question is, which one is better and more affordable.
DC Tubes are Cheap
From a performance standpoint, choosing an RF or DC replacement tube won’t sacrifice quality. Both tubes offer enough lighting power to allow a laser cutter to do detailed work. However, for pricing of an individual unit, because DC tubes use much less expensive glass than an RF tube, the DC is going to be cheaper. This may make it the clear winner in the affordable replacement laser tube challenge, but a single unit price isn’t the only factor to consider.
Longevity is a Factor
Even though RF tubes cost more per unit, they last 4 to 5 times longer than a DC laser tube. This means in terms of long-term usage, an RF tube may just be more affordable in the long-run than having to frequently replace a burned out DC tube even though the RF tube is more expensive initially.
Much of what it comes down to is the money available and the amount of use a person will require from the laser cutter. More use and a more expensive laser tube initially will result in more affordable long-term costs. Using it less may mean a less expensive tube unit will be more cost-effective.