Spares, spares, and more spares for Lasers

There seems to be an epidemic in LaserLand™ where people buy really expensive, and large CO2 lasers for their home business and experience component failures and become frustrated with the re-seller for selling crap.  I’m sorry to keep harping on this but it’s like watching a car crash, paint dry, and grass grow all at the same time.

These lasers are so capable, and so fun and provide the ability to make the owner some money.  But they are not without issues.

Let’s be clear about these CO2 lasers.   They come from CHINA.  That is about all one really needs to know as it relates to product reliability.

The blue power supplies in these lasers = Crap that will fail

The Water Flow Sensors = Crap that will leak

The Air Assist pump is in a special category of crap = Crap that crap calls crap.

Look.  I dig laser etching and cutting.  It’s fun and its a great way to make continuous $20 bills.

But I spent a career in the US Navy and as a Gov’t Employee fixing equipment that costs a lot of money.  I’m an Electronics Tech Rep for DOD that supports the Navy and Marine Corps.   I know how to fix broken things and I can smell a crap component a 100 yards away with the wind blowing away from me.

Chinese businesses exist to make money.  They don’t really exist to support you or care if your purchase works a long time or not.  If they can buy a crap power supply for $5 and a great power supply for $6, guess which one you are gonna get?

So it is incumbent upon you to know what you are doing and to be SELF-SUFFICIENT.   Okay, a decent sized laser costs close to a couple grand.  Bigger ones cost more.  But they aren’t worth anything if the power supply blows up or the water flow sensor fails and your troubleshooting ability only extends to, “Hello, China……..Help me please”.  You have got to be able to fix your own problems.

Everybody wants a laser.  Can’t hardly buy one now.  There are waiting lists.  You’re damn lucky if yours show up un-broken and even luckier if the mirrors are aligned.   For some reason a beam of light hitting a mirror and making a 90 degree turn is rocket fucking science to some.  I’m not trying to pretend to be smarter than anyone else.  And as a career electronics troubleshooter I probably have a leg up on most people.  The entirety of my point is that if you buy a laser from China and you need to consult the manual to plug it in you are in for a hell of a fun ride.

My air assist pump in my Chinese laser worked for exactly ONE WEEK.   ONE WEEK.  Are you kidding me?

I changed it out and then just realized it would fail too.  I left it in the machine and unplugged it and then promptly bought another one of these air pumps.  I plugged it into the laser outlet so it turns on when the laser comes on and run some air tubing in through the back of the machine.   If that fails I can hook up the crap air pump that is in the machine until I can work something else out.

There is a water sensor in the machine.  If the water flow to the laser tube fails it stops the laser from firing.  Yeah.  Well it FAILS.  A lot.  And it leaks.  A lot.  Best to order one of these and change the crap sensor/switch.   I’ve seen people order power supplies when it was just their flow sensor.  Big difference in a $10 sensor and a $110 power supply.

Speaking of power supplies……….these are shit.

POS Chinese Power Supply

If you have a blue power supply in your laser, just order a spare. You’ll thank me.  If you’re smart you’ll order an upgraded power supply such as this one. Please note this a 60 watt power supply that I needed.  If you have a 100 watt laser you need a 100 watt power supply.

Not as big a POS power supply

One of the key phrases to look for in a component is its MTBF rating.  Mean Time Between Failure.  The Blue Power supplies are calculated at over 6000 hours and the black power supplies are calculated at 30,000 hours.   I doubt most blue ones even make it to 600 hours.

Okay… dropped 2 or 3 thousand on your laser and I’m telling you it needs a new power supply, a new flow sensor, and a new air pump.  Who you gonna believe?  Me, or the Communist Chinese?  That of course is a joke but seriously………I spent a lifetime fixing electronic items.  I do know a little bit about what I’m talking about.

There are a lot of YouTubers who call these “upgrades” and they are nice and diligently show you how to proceed in great videos.  Me,  I say Fuck a lot, and call a piece of shit a piece of shit.  The component mix in these lasers in NOT GOOD.  Again, that’s no problem if you have troubleshooting abilities.

And I’ve said this in several other blogs………If your machine MAKES YOU MONEY and then it goes POOF and you can’t troubleshoot it then your profit goes POOF when you have to pay someone to come fix it.  These lasers are GREAT.  Please don’t get me wrong.  But you are going to have to troubleshot them and you are going to have to fix them.

Everything is a sub-system.

  • Electrical
  • Water
  • Air
  • Exhaust
  • Etc, etc, etc.

When you have a failure think about what system failed and JUST work that system.

It drives me nuts to see people spend 2-5K and then are down and out when something goes POOF and they don’t know what to do.  These are not the machines to buy if YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

Mega Repetitive Rant Over………Peace Out!

2 thoughts on “Spares, spares, and more spares for Lasers

  1. Walter Hynson

    my power supply has lasted 5 years, yes I did change the pump to an external unit with much higher pumping capacity , yes I added a large automotive radiator to the cooling system with large fan to blow the heat off, yes I removed the clamp system and the original cutting deck and installed a new one which allows me to cut 8.5 by11 inch material and yes I have years of experience maintaining laser equipment. Now for you to berate the Chinese manufacture who built your k-40 is not at all in good faith as they are just getting started manufacturing equipment for the hobby and home use market of this caliber at the price range where an ordinary person can purchase these machines, If you think the quality is so bad then you have a choice …ship it back or keep it and bring it up to your standards but do not berate them as they build and sell these machines on a gamble and they sell them all over the world also you must remember you and I both worked on mil spec damn near perfect devices and neither of us can afford to purchase from the mil spec suppliers so be happy ,fix what needs fixing to your liking and laser away but please do not berate the device as if they build the next batch to yours and my liking than we will not be able to buy at the new price point.

    1. John Hagensieker Post author

      They are not just getting started making hobby lasers. The K40 has been made for years as the Chinese used it primarily for making name stamps.

      The laser is made with sub standard components and fortunately guys like us know how to deal with that.

      But the Chinese make crap.


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