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Thread: Argon laser value?

  1. Default Argon laser value?

    I have two argon lasers that are gathering dust as I don't do laser shows right now (I am really into CO2 lasers at the moment, but I am sure I will get back into the visible range someday!)

    The first is a SP168 argon tube that only has about 100 hours on it. I have a switching power supply that takes 3 phase 220V power, but I have not gotten around to hooking it up. I could do that and take a power reading if I got motivated.

    The second is a HGM-5 air cooled argon laser, doing around half a watt at 15 amps multiline. It will do much more if you crank up the current, but I have heard running it past 1 watt or so for longer than a few seconds will drastically shorten the life of the tube. This one runs on single phase 220V.

    Do these have any value in today's market?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Blog Entries


    If they worked and you could prove it, probably...

    Although they won't fetch what they would have 5 years ago... bloody dpss lasers ....
    Now proudly stocking and offering the best deals on laser-wave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Charleston, SC


    Howdy Skyo!

    They do indeed still have value. I'm assuming that you've already modified the HGM-5 power supply so that it will operate CW, right? Have you also added extra cooling fans to keep the tube cool during continuous operation? If so, then you might get $500-700 for the rig on E-bay.

    I recently purchased an HGM-5 from a medical surplus supplier in Minnesota with plans to modify the power supply and add the cooling fans as described above. Unfortunately, the damn thing was left sitting in a closet for just over 2 years, and thus the tube is high pressure and won't start. So I'm stuck with a nifty power supply but no good plasma tube.

    But for what it's worth, I paid $500 for the whole thing. (Though that did include the cart, the fiber launch, the footswitch, and the manual.) After I learned that it was dead, the seller refunded me the purchase price and let me keep the laser, so long as I was willing to eat the original $90 shipping cost to get it to me. (Shipping back to Minnesota would have been another $90, so the seller saved $180 by letting me keep it, and I basically paid $90 for a working PSU that I hope to be able to mate to a working multi-line tube someday!)

    Anyway, it would seem that you can get at least $500 for a working HGM-5 on E-bay. Maybe more than that if you list it with lots of pictures and a good description.

    As for the SP 168 and PSU, yeah, it too is worth money. How much? That's harder to say. Assuming that the tube is still good and making, say, 3 watts or more, then I'd guess it's worth a grand or two on E-bay. But finding a buyer may be difficult. (3 phase lasers are notoriously difficult to sell, and they don't command near the price that they should!)

    If you plan on selling it on E-bay, you'll need to first get it hooked up and take some pictures of it lasing. Even if you just carry it to a warehouse for a day so you can hook it up to 3 phase power, you need to be able to prove to the bidders that it works or they will ignore your acution.

    There are lots of "untested" large-frame argon heads on E-bay that never get any bids - even with a starting bid as low as $500. No one wants to get stuck with a dead tube. Heck, there's a guy that for the past month has been trying to sell a Lexel 75 head that looks brand new for $300 buy-it-now, but I'm not willing to take the chance on it. (My HGM-5 PSU is more than capable of lighting a Lexel 75, but I don't want to get stuck with ANOTHER dead tube...)

    Out of curiousity, what are you doing with the CO2 lasers? I noticed your reply to the other thread about that medical CO2 laser... Getting into engraving?


  4. Default

    Hey Buffo,

    Will reply more later, spent the day getting a Coherent versa pulse laser into my garage from my fishing hole. Yes, I am into laser engraving...building a 48"x24" laser engraver currently.

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