Reci vs. SPT laser tubes: Educate me please!

I see that Lightobjects sells both Reci and SPT tubes. As far as I can tell, both are considered high quality. Is the Reci higher quality to match the higher price? I’m looking at the following tubes as I work on a BOM for a DIY laser.

  • High Quality RECI W2 80-90W CO2 Sealed Laser Tube $495.00

    • Power: 80W/90W (100W peak)
    • Triggering Voltage: 24KV
    • Operating Voltage: 18KV
    • Current: 26mA (28mA max)
    • Length: 1200mm/47"
    • Diameter: 80mm/3.15"
    • Cooling: Water cool
    • Water Cooling: Water chiller is required
    • Water temperature: 20~25’C (68~77’F).
    • Warranty: 12 months
  • SPT C90 80-90W 1.25M CO2 Sealed Laser Tube $375.00

    • Power: 80/90W (105W peak)
    • Triggering Voltage: 26KV
    • Operating Voltage: 20KV
    • Current: 22mA~24mA( 28mA max)
    • Length: 1250mm (+/-10mm)/49.2 inch
    • Diameter: 80mm/ 3.15 inch
    • Water Cooling: chiller is required for cooling or warranty is voided
    • Water temperature: 20~25’C (68~77’F).
    • Warranty: 12 months

I don’t want to be “penny wise and pound foolish”. I have enough room for either tube in my design. The $120 difference isn’t trivial but if there’s benefit that I understand I can certainly swing it! I’d just like to have a clue what I’m buying; even if it’s just “tends to last longer.” I see differences in triggering voltage, operating voltage, and current. I would think that all other things being equal, higher operating current would mean higher laser efficiency, but that’s just intuition. I’d love to hear real-life experience.

And yes, in either case, I’m planning to get a refrigerated cooler: Q800 to make sure there is enough cooling capacity.

The RECI tube is considered the industry standard when it comes to glass CO2 laser tubes.

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I’m hoping we can drill deeper into what “industry standard” means here, and how it applies to a hobbyist.

Do they typically last longer? Are they more consistently high quality? Is there a difference in output? Is there any importance to the difference between trigger and operating voltages between the tubes, other than a minimum spec for required LPS to drive them? Would this power supply work for either of them since it specifies

  • Triggering Voltage: 28KV
  • Operating Voltage: 22KV
  • Current: 28mA max

Thanks!

This means that other manufactures compare their products to the RECI tube as to specs and productivity.

Cloudray products are good and they stand behind their sales. The PS you referenced should work well with any 80 W tube.

Looking further, I see that the 65mm T series have shorter warranty than the 80mm W series tubes. Is this due to simply having less gas in them, so that they have less margin?

Heh, looks like I’m not the only person asking questions like this.

In particular, learning that the Reci and SPT tubes are now better sealed is good news, because I expect to use this intermittently; it will be only one of many hobbies.

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I keep reading… It looks like lower triggering voltage means it would be better for engraving. Cermarking hardened steel is one of my use cases (I want to mark pairs of machinists blocks) so that seems a concrete point in favor of Reci.

I’m curious about triggering voltage vs. engraving. I don’t know much about CO2 laser tubes (all my experience was with different technologies) but looking at the specifications on those, I’d be surprised if they had much performance difference.

I would select the RECI. They have a lifespan of ~ 10’000 hours and 18 month waranty, and they are constructed more robust (especially the mirror ends). We have a Reci W4 in our FabLab Lasersaur and it works fine since 5 years. The tube ends are made of stainless steel, other manufactorers use glass or brass.
Also check the CloudRay offer:

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@John_Bump I read on another forum last night folks saying that 80W is on the edge for engraving; that even there and for any higher power you needed a LPS that holds the tube at a high pre-ionization energy. However, when someone there asked how to do that there was only a theoretical answer of why it would matter, and no help on whether you could buy an LPS that had this feature… :slight_smile: And while I’ve seen used Reci LPSs for sale on Ebay, I don’t see them listed on Reci’s web site.

I care more about cutting than engraving, and I want to be able to cut ¼" plywood and MDF reliably, and to cermark/moly hardened steel as well as aluminum, so I’m going with 80W anyway, and I’m not going to stress about this.

I just figure that no matter what the slew rate when you engage the LPS, a lower triggering voltage will turn on sooner. Probably not enough to matter.

@cprezzi Working fine for 5 years in the FabLab is a good recommendation! And for where to buy them, I have both cloudray and lightobject in my BOM spreadsheet where I can change the quantity of either depending on where I want to buy it from. :slight_smile:

I was thinking of Lightobject for the laser at least for shipping from the US to the US instead of importing. I recently had a few small, cheap 3D printer parts mailed to me from China get stuck in customs for over a month, and a few years ago customs couldn’t read the label for how to open a package for inspection and it was pure luck that the small parts they left rattling around inside stayed inside the half-open bag they put the disassembled box into.

A $40 premium to avoid that seems not crazy to me.

Even if I bought everything laserish in my build from cloudray, I would easily fit in the personal use duty exemption limits, but if a customs officer is having a bad day I’m probably kind of out of luck. But I haven’t decided. And I’m almost certainly ordering at least some parts from Cloudray. They have a mirror/head set that is a good match for what I’m designing and comes with a II-VI lens and mirror set as appropriate for an 80W tube.

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Shipping is more to the US from cloudray, so it’s actually only a $19 premium to ship from the US to the US, not worrying about customs, working with a company that is on a US timezone.