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Laser price change over time?

EpicHam

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Now I've recently gotten back into the laser hobby after a long break I've been scooping various laser vendor sites lately....

I'm kinda surprised how little the price has changed.
For example a 500mW 532nm DPSS laser still cost almost $500 brand new.
A 450nm 1W+ laser still cost upward of $150

There are new advances of course , for example the direct 520nm diodes we've been having , and the 2W+ 650nm diodes , but price wise... its pretty much the same.

This makes me wonder..... how has laser prices changed over time?
Is there any major advances in manufacturing technology that had drastically reduced their manufacturing cost?

I mean.. for solar panels you can see a gradual decrease of $ per watt over the years.

Is there something like that for lasers?
 

Zathras

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I'm not sure if using solar panels is a fair comparison. In the case of solar panels, efforts driving a decrease in solar panel costs is the increased use by the masses. The volume of panels manufactured increases every year therefore driving manufacturing efficiencies, I can't see the same thing happening in lasers. Lasers to the masses are still considered to be a toy and bad press will keep those number low due to health (blindness) issues due to misuse.

But I understand the question. I just believe it's more a factor of demand & supply. I say demand and supply, rather than supply and demand, as I see it the demand is low (relative to your comparison to solar panels) not the supply. So there is nothing driving better manufacturing processes other than to increase the profits for the manufacturers, not to lower the costs.
 
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EpicHam

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I'm not sure if using solar panels is a fair comparison. In the case of solar panels, efforts driving a decrease in solar panel costs is the increased use by the masses. The volume of panels manufactured increases every year therefore driving manufacturing efficiencies, I can't see the same thing happening in lasers. Lasers to the masses are still considered to be a toy and bad press will keep those number low due to health (blindness) issues due to misuse.

But I understand the question. I just believe it's more a factor of demand & supply. I say demand and supply, rather than supply and demand, as I see it the demand is low (relative to your comparison to solar panels) not the supply. So there is nothing driving better manufacturing processes other than to increase the profits for the manufacturers, not to lower the costs.
yeah but... even for toys...
Say RC controllers . Pretty sure 20 years ago a Futaba at $300USD doesn't have the kinda programming options we have today. You actually see improvement in technology and decrease in price for those...

So... how about $ per mW for lasers?
Is it pretty much the same?
 

Zathras

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yeah but... even for toys...
Say RC controllers . Pretty sure 20 years ago a Futaba at $300USD doesn't have the kinda programming options we have today. You actually see improvement in technology and decrease in price for those...

So... how about $ per mW for lasers?
Is it pretty much the same?
Yes, I agree with the improvement in RC controllers. When I was a kid, we didn't even have them. Futaba didn't even exist as a company. So yes, there is a great increase in the product.

But still it is a harmless toy for GenX, GenY, the Milleneals and so on. Can't say the same for lasers. What as a kid, can you "really" "really" do with a laser? Drive your dog/cat crazy for a few minutes? Gets old fast. Want some real action? Point it at a plane. See where that gets you. More attention than you'll ever want.

But again, I understand your point. I just don't see the same speed of manufacturing efficiencies being applied to lasers, mainly due to demand. So cost per mW will improve slowly, or simply not as fast as other markets.
 

EpicHam

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Yes, I agree with the improvement in RC controllers. When I was a kid, we didn't even have them. Futaba didn't even exist as a company. So yes, there is a great increase in the product.

But still it is a harmless toy for GenX, GenY, the Milleneals and so on. Can't say the same for lasers. What as a kid, can you "really" "really" do with a laser? Drive your dog/cat crazy for a few minutes? Gets old fast. Want some real action? Point it at a plane. See where that gets you. More attention than you'll ever want.

But again, I understand your point. I just don't see the same speed of manufacturing efficiencies being applied to lasers, mainly due to demand. So cost per mW will improve slowly, or simply not as fast as other markets.
Which I think what we need is a licensing system kinda like CB radios.
It'll still be accessible to the public , but they must be educated and mature enough to handle the responsibility but god knows how will the government even enforce that.
 

KrowBar

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I'm not sure if using solar panels is a fair comparison. In the case of solar panels, efforts driving a decrease in solar panel costs is the increased use by the masses. The volume of panels manufactured increases every year therefore driving manufacturing efficiencies, I can't see the same thing happening in lasers. Lasers to the masses are still considered to be a toy and bad press will keep those number low due to health (blindness) issues due to misuse.

But I understand the question. I just believe it's more a factor of demand & supply. I say demand and supply, rather than supply and demand, as I see it the demand is low (relative to your comparison to solar panels) not the supply. So there is nothing driving better manufacturing processes other than to increase the profits for the manufacturers, not to lower the costs.
Ah... but in fact the major influence on laser prices is in fact due to increased volume as they get used in consumer devices. When we see a diode getting used in a projector for example, there is a rapid and significant drop in price, even when we are generally unable to buy them in bulk from the manufacturer. The most expensive piece of the lasers used by most of us here is the diode - and the cost of a harvested projector diode (even though the other expensive projector components are generally completely wasted- and the projectors are purchased above cost) is much lower than the price of a similar diode just a few years ago. I would never have even considered being able to own a 3W blue laser before my recent 10 year break from the hobby.
 
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EpicHam

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Ah... but in fact the major influence on laser prices is in fact due to increased volume as they get used in consumer devices. When we see a diode getting used in a projector for example, there is a rapid and significant drop in price, even when we are generally unable to buy them in bulk from the manufacturer. The most expensive piece of the lasers used by most of us here is the diode - and the cost of a harvested projector diode (even though the other expensive projector components are generally completely wasted- and the projectors are purchased above cost) is much lower than the price of a similar diode just a few years ago. I would never have even considered being able to own a 3W blue laser before my recent 10 year break from the hobby.
so Watt for Watt .
Did it get cheaper over time?
 

Things

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All lasers have become cheaper over time. Even the 445nm diodes would have cost you upwards of $2000 for an engineering sample. Then someone discovered them in projectors and they were going for about $500 on eBay, now you can pick them up for <$100. Unfortunately I don't think anyone has been really logging it.
 

EpicHam

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All lasers have become cheaper over time. Even the 445nm diodes would have cost you upwards of $2000 for an engineering sample. Then someone discovered them in projectors and they were going for about $500 on eBay, now you can pick them up for <$100. Unfortunately I don't think anyone has been really logging it.
well ..... maybe we can start doing that on LPF then?
I mean.. we have tons of aficionados on here who build lasers by the truck load.
Maybe we can pool the resources together and create a yearly magazine of what happened in the laser world?
 

Zathras

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Ah... but in fact the major influence on laser prices is in fact due to increased volume as they get used in consumer devices. When we see a diode getting used in a projector for example, there is a rapid and significant drop in price, even when we are generally unable to buy them in bulk from the manufacturer. The most expensive piece of the lasers used by most of us here is the diode - and the cost of a harvested projector diode (even though the other expensive projector components are generally completely wasted- and the projectors are purchased above cost) is much lower than the price of a similar diode just a few years ago. I would never have even considered being able to own a 3W blue laser before my recent 10 year break from the hobby.
Point well taken.

I remember buying my first LED. It cost me $10 for ONE. My first LSI wasn't much cheaper.
 




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