I tried to post this query on the FSboard but after I received "approval" from a "moderator", it never showed up. I believe it went to /dev/null without a response because it didn't live up to their not-a-real-forum forum standards.
I received a 40w Deluxe Hobby Laser last week in very quick (surprisingly so) order/shipping turnaround, and set it up. In my inspection of the laser and all of the functioning parts, I noticed something kind of disturbing. The product model number on the laser tube begins with "30W" as you can see in the pics below (click for bigger):
While I'm so far very happy with the laser and most of the stuff I'm turning out with it, I'm concerned that this is really a 30w laser marketed in error as a 40w (whether intentionally misleading or not).
Is there a way to actually confirm that this is the appropriate wattage of laser, or are we to just take it blindly on their word? Has anybody ever noticed this in theirs?
If it were me,I'd go in blindly with a questionable email to the supplier to say this is a 30W laser tube as opposed to the one I patd for ie a 40w tubed machine and see what they say.
You can use a laser power meter to check the power. The cheapest I know of is a synrad power wizard. I think they are around $700.
It is quite common for a tube to put out more than rated power when new. It could be that it is putting out 40W right now. It is also fairly well known that the Chinese often overrate their products. Is this tube from China?
How long and how wide is the tube? They get bigger as power increases and it's usually a pretty standard size/power ratio. Measure your tube and compare the dimensions to similar tubes on either e-bay or the internet.
These tubes are generally known to put out more power than advertised from the get go, but as the tube slowly wears it will drop.
So basically, you may have a 30W tube that does 40W now but once you use it for a bit it will probably settle out closer to 30W before it bites it for good. A 40W tube should start higher than 40W generally.
If it measures out dimensionally close to a known 30W tube you are getting ripped off. It may do 40W now, but the majority of the useable life of the tube will be far closer to 30W.
Chinese diode or DPSS lasers are almost always overrated, especially DPSS modules. Co2 tubes seem to be the opposite in my limited experience.
Thanks for the replies here.
I measured the laser tube and it came up 28"L x approx 2" diameter.
I checked around and most dimensions are different for the 30w and 40w tubes depending on where the information is coming from. For example, alibaba.com (seemingly all chinese manufacturers) show the 28" (700mm) length to be a 30w laser, but it appears that the US and western resellers are calling that a 40w (same dimensions).
I have to assume that keebler and pontiac are correct because my knowledge of this is still very much in its infancy.
I sent an email to FSL and hope to hear back in the next few days.
So any words?
Well I just got my 40W yesterday and I found the same label on my laser tube. I give FS tech support a call and basically they told me that it is actually a 40w tube.
Got a reply from Henry. Hope he doesn't mind a quote.
The laser tube is 700mm CO2 laser which is called 40w by industry standard for all other manufacturers. The sticker is internal reference.
In reality we have a high end calibrated Ophir optical power meter and measure roughly 40w peak which drops to around ~35W average in .5s when the tube is new. Each optical bounce off the mirror and travel through the lens or beam combiner also removes optical power.
So when new, you get about 40W for hlaf a second, then you have a constant 35W. As the tube ages you will be down around 30W.
Seems dodgy to sell the laser based on an instantaneous peak power. I can't think of any application a normal laser cutter would encounter that could make use of that 40W "peak". Therefore the machine will never be operating at 40W laser power, even when new.
While I agree with you keebler, it's pretty common to run CO2 tubes near but never at their full capacity. I think FSL asks you to keep the tube at 15mA, or 5mA under what it can really do. It may be possible for the tube to do a steady 40W, but it is recommended to stay at 35W for tube lifetime. I'm just guessing of course...
It would be nice if they oversized the laser tube a bit so that you still got 40W of reliable, long life cutting at the table but you have to remember what price point these lasers are in. If you want real deal, you have to pay.
On the other hand it would be nice if they called it what it is instead of stretching the truth, as it really is good value still. Companies seem to forget that small details like that matter
Would you buy a router that had an advertised max speed of 24,000 RPM but they say you can only use it up to 18,000 RPM? Why wouldn't they just call it an 18,000 RPM router? Are they trying to sell it as something it is not?
If it is called a 40W tube it should be capable of use at 40W. I cannot comment on the Chinese import "industry standard". I have no experience with them.
I have personal experience with a range of "real" RF excited CO2 lasers. That should give you an idea of the true "industry standard".
A used, factory serviced and regassed 100W Coherent GEM-100 had output of around 125W at 95% duty cycle.
A similar USED 150W unit had an output of around 180W at 95% duty cycle.