Laser Engraver... Glass tube vs. Metal Tube

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Forum topic by BrandonR posted 07-07-2015 02:17 AM 3656 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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64 posts in 2292 days

07-07-2015 02:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: laser engraver

Hi all!

Trying to get some more information on lasers, as my past source right now is salesmen… which I don’t know how reliable that info is…

I am debating buying an Epilog vs. a Full Spectrum laser. The biggest difference is the glass tube vs. metal tube. The Full Spectrum I can get 2x work surface and 2x power for half the price! a $7,500 savings! Thats a lot of money….

But does the metal tube really that much better? Wondering if one of those things that ya its better if running your laser 8-10 hours a day… where I will more likely be 2 hours 2 days a week.

Any help in right direction would be greatly appreciated! Big investment and not a lot of reliable information out there!

Thank you!


2 replies so far

View JAAune's profile


1799 posts in 2316 days

#1 posted 07-07-2015 02:42 AM

Convenience for one. Glass tubes I believe are water-cooled and will require a pump and water supply to operate. The metal ones are usually air-cooled and typically last 2-3 years longer between recharges. You may also lose some image quality when doing raster work. I’ve heard (but haven’t had a chance to see for myself) that the cheaper lasers can vector cut just as well as the expensive ones but tend to fall behind when engraving.

Check the articles below.

Regarding run-time, you really want to operate your laser more than 4 hours a week. It should be turned on at least once a day. Laser tubes last longer when used heavily. At least the metal ones do for sure.

Personally, I’d lean towards Universal or Trotec but Epilog lasers are good too. I just heard horror stories about one of their sales reps in a specific geographic location being terrible hence my strong preference for Universal.

-- See my work at and

View KerwinLumpkins's profile


12 posts in 1020 days

#2 posted 09-11-2015 04:10 AM

I have a Full Spectrum 24×18 Pro laser. It’s a 90 watt glass tube laser. I have cut the same parts in an Epilog comparable machine that had a metal tube. I found that the Epilog cut slightly faster, but so slight that I was happy I had the Full Spectrum model and saved $6K or so. I’ve engraved with both and see no difference in quality.

I’ve had my laser with the same tube for over 3 years now. I run it about 14 hours each week, sometimes as much as 20 hours in a week. The tube is fine but I’ve had to replace the power supply twice (about once each year it seems). So even with that, I’m still ahead of the curve for price. I do have a water chiller for cooling.

I’d recommend the Full Spectrum option. They have good service. Epilog is a solid product and it’s made here in US, not far from where I live in Colorado, but the price delta is hard to ignore.

Good luck with whatever choice you make.

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