What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Laser Cutters and Engravers

Laser-based cutting and engraving machines have come down in price greatly, and that fact is of real interest to many owners of small businesses. From jewelers and gunsmiths to machinists and artisans, lasers are capable of things that can benefit many different types of businesses.

Buying a new laser machine remains a significant move for most, even with prices having dropped so steeply. In many cases, the CO2 laser tube that stands at the very center of most such pieces of equipment accounts for a significant portion of that cost. Understanding what laser tubes are required for and why they cost what they do can make it easier to decide which level of investment might be most appropriate.

Amplifying and Focusing Light to Enable Many Practical Results

All lasers work according to the same basic principle, whereby atoms are forced into elevated energetic states such that they must emit photons in order to return to equilibrium. Most lasers that are used in industry and commerce are based around gas-filled tubes where carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and other materials allow for this phenomenon to occur.

The tube that stands at the center of the average piece of laser-based equipment will inevitably have a limited lifetime. Some tubes are designed to be refilled with gas a number of times before being retired, while others are meant to be replaced. Because some form of maintenance or service will always be required after a certain amount of work has been done, the laser tube price associated with a particular piece of equipment will almost always be an important consideration.

Why Tubes Cost What They Do and How That Impacts Businesses

There are a number of different factors that can contribute to one tube costing more or less than another. Two of those that typically matter the most include:

Power. Tubes that are designed and built to accept and transform more power tend to be more expensive. A fairly sturdy 150 watt laser tube, in fact, can cost many times more than one that is meant to handle only a third of that level of power.

Type. Some tubes consist of sealed glass enclosures that cannot be serviced. Others are made from metal and are meant to be refilled. The latter will generally cost a good deal more than the former.

Buying a new piece of laser equipment will typically require choosing among options like these and others. Small business owners can help control their costs and boost returns by selecting machines appropriate to their own needs.


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