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Thread: Engraving with a RECI tube - what's the general consensus power that actually works?

  1. #1

    Engraving with a RECI tube - what's the general consensus power that actually works?

    Hi Folks,

    Now that our ULS is running, I've been engraving acrylic, and Cermark, but am limited by the 24 x 12" bed area - but it does a beaut job.

    Our Chinese Goldenlaser is pretty woeful at engraving - 130w - W4 - Reci tube. Even at low power there are issues, and it's nothing like the quality of the ULS RF tube. I understand that. (nor is it as quick)

    My question is which size of RECI tube will do a passable comparison at ENGRAVING, because I'm in the market for a bigger laser (2500 x 1300mm bed), and am considering a 2-head machine, with 2 tubes, one for cutting (W6- 180w) and one for engraving (W1 or W2 - RECI - 80-90 watt).

    (I'm not sure I can afford to go to 280 watt with Jongli paired tubes, though it'd be nice, but it's a USD $5k surcharge over the 180watt unit, but I'd still like to be able to engrave on big panels)

    Thanks for any opinions...I've been liasing with a fellow in China. (Threecnc machinery co. ) Their big unit has a RD-6442-S controller, Leadshine drives & steppers, CW6000 chiller...
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  2. #2
    P.S. The RECI website is not very encouraging: "Engraving function: Very good. When the working current is 4mA and the tube is in the state of preionization, the laser can be used for high-frequency impulse engraving." applies to ALL their tubes... and I don't believe that in the bigger ones...

    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    NW Arkansas
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    My engraving is fairly decent. I don't think any glass tube engraves as good as a RF tube, just the nature of the beast. But Mine is only an 80watt, and I do have issues at low power, just won't cycle fast enough. I think if you will read past inquires, there is no one who uses 100 watt and higher for good engraving.
    High wattages are for cutting. 130 watt? disappointment will most likely be the result. Just too much power.
    Woodworking, Old Tools and Shooting
    Ray Fine RF-1390 Laser
    Ray Fine 20watt Fiber Laser
    PM2000, Delta BS, Delta sander, Powermatic 50 jointer,
    Powermatic100-12 planer, Rockwell 15-126 radial drill press
    Rockwell 46-450 lathe, and 2 Walker Turner RA1100 radial saws

    RIA 22TCM 1911s

  4. #4
    Thanks, John, that's exactly what I thought - hence my asking those here who might have something in that 80 to 100 watt region, just how or what standard their engraving has been...?
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  5. #5
    The 80w RECI in my Triumph engraves just fine, and I have the settings dialed in to where the engraving quality is very close to my Synrad powered LS900 and GCC Explorer.

    Did these samples awhile back with all 3 machines, black Rowmark,
    I believe the plate size is 1/2 x 2-1/2", as you can see, not much difference between the 3 machines-
    (btw, "sample" font is Cloister Openface, which is why it has hollow spots missing)
    sb.jpg
    Note the power used is 16%, I can run consistent marking at 8% power, which isn't enough to engrave Rowmark.
    FWIW, a 70% setting entered = 26mA (100%) on my meter...


    My Triumph did this on aluminum, pretty impressive small detail.
    Neither of my Synrads have enough power to fuse Cermark to aluminum at all.
    ceralum4.jpg
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Iowa USA
    Posts
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    Kev, When do you have time to work? Or to wind down? Your always solving problems!! Kind of like my new Border Collie pup.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router- Mach4 ESS

  7. #7
    80 watt is the upper limit in reality Ian, above that the tubes won't fire low enough on occasion to be useful. Added to that, the bigger tubes have a bigger exident beam therefore a smaller spot size hence higher power density compounding the problem.
    You did what !

  8. #8
    Thanks for the replies, and info.
    Dave, by 80w, do you mean eg a 100 watt tube that masquerades as 80 watt because you should not go up to 100% - like the Reci W1 ?
    Or a lesser 80 watt tube?

    The Reci W1 says 80-100w, but the Reci W2 says 90-100... That's weird sort of semi-deceptive marketing ploy, I'm thinking...
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  9. #9
    That's weird sort of semi-deceptive marketing ploy, I'm thinking...
    It is

    seen it many times from vendors including Western vendors

    "100 watt laser" and it's partly true, when it triggers with it's spike current it may well put out 100 watts but if you tried to use it at that power for any length of time the tube would quickly fail.More often that 90-100 watt Trigger spike will settle back to 85 - 90 on a new tube and 75 - 80 on an older tube.

    So yes, it's technically a 100 watt tube as for a split second it was emitting 100 watts, soon after though it was back to 85
    You did what !

  10. #10
    FWIW, awhile back I was reading directly from some RECI webpage (that I can no longer locate) that they test their tubes at something like 34mA - don't remember if this was specific to 80w tubes? Anyway- my tube has a 'tested' output noted on the tube of 110w, which sounds feasible if tested at mA's well into the 30's. It also sounds feasible to me then, that at around 25mA my tube should be putting out an honest 80 watts.

    But it sounds like many sellers would market my machine as equipped with a 110w tube, just because it tested that high... not a lie, but not exactly true
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  11. #11
    I've just discovered the same thing, Kev.

    Our Chinese laser I'd always called "130 watt", and started assuming it was 130w, therefore rated at 100w, a reci W4 tube.
    I'm wrong!
    I've just put a tapemeasure over it, and the tube is about 1600mm long, plus end caps, 80mm dia, which put it as a W6, 150/160 watt peak, but rated at 130 working watts.

    That explains why people keep telling me I cannot cut 20 & 25mm acrylic with it when I have been doing just that.
    It also explains the purple band at the negative end - which suggests it's nearing the end of its 5 year life.
    When the software is at 100%, it's now putting 19 mA out to the tube, whereas 6 months ago 100% was 21-22 mA.

    (I'm going to assume that's a tube problem and not a power supply problem.)
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  12. #12
    Kev, regarding your Triumph: which brand and size tube does it have ?
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  13. #13
    It's a RECI 80 watt. Model I'm not sure... I've had it since November 2014.
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Olalla, WA
    Posts
    1,477
    My 80W Reci is much better at engraving than my 130W Reci.

    For best engraving you want the smallest tube Reci makes. I don't think Reci has made a tube smaller than 80W.
    Shenhui 1440x850, 130 Watt Reci Z6

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    94
    Sadly, this is more of a case of powersupply than tube. The CO2 arc tubes can fire pretty quickly if the powersupply holds the tube just below its ignition amperage (the pre-ionisation state RECI mention) - but very few CO2 tube supplies have the option to hold a tube there between pulses - so the tube needs to ramp up to an arc then go off, so if you're trying to do super fine dithered engraves it just can't switch on and off fast enough no matter what speed you move the head. This is why RF lasers totally blitz arc tubes for engraving, they can turn on and off in nanoseconds vs milliseconds.


    Invest in the best laser powersupply you can - I noticed significantly better results with a genuine RECI P4 powersupply over the cheap chinese ones and I also wasn't blowing the powersupplies every 3 months (over voltage delivery from the utility company wasn't helping).

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