Monday, May 14, 2012

Are Laser Fibers Interchangeable?

Laser Fibers.jpg
 
A few times since the first of the year, I've received this question from someone who owns a laser and is looking for a fiber optic bundle to attach to it.
 
Usually this happens when either a laser company goes out of business or (more frequently) the source where the office was buying the fibers simply stops carrying them in the inventory.  Since the offices that use and cleave their fibers depend on a supply of these to keep their laser in-use, not having a source for one can be a bit of problem.
 
Fortunately, it's a problem that is fairly easy to solve… at least it has been for me.  Here is my solution that has worked in the limited number of cases I've encountered so far.
 
It seems that the most common fiber in use is the 300 micron variety.  This fiber is pictured above with the purple collar.  What causes most offices angst is when they call a supplier and ask for a "fiber for a XYZ laser" and are told they are no longer carrying that item.  However, what I have found is that it is not the manufacturer that makes the difference, but the diameter of the fiber.  What I mean by that is this: every laser I've come across that takes a 300 micron fiber, has the same adapter port.  What this means is that other manufacturers 300 micron fibers will attach to your laser.
 
Now this is completely anecdotal and you need to check this out for yourself, but here is what has worked so far in the limited number of cases of "fiber coaching" I've done.
 
A few years ago, Kavo came to market with a diode laser called the GentleRAY.  The laser takes a 300 micron fiber.  All you need to do is to find a dental dealer that sells Kavo equipment and order the Kavo 300 micron fiber (I believe it comes in a 3 meter length).  On that particular fiber, the fitting which is purple in the photo above is dark red, about the color of cranberry juice.
 
So if you've been looking for a 300 micron fiber and haven't been able to find one, try ordering the Kavo fiber.  As a test, if you are in an area with a Kavo rep, give them a call and have them bring a fiber by for you to try and see if it will fit your laser.  In the cases I've helped with, they have screwed right on and worked like a dream.
 
If you have questions or comments… just leave them in the comments section.  Hopefully this post keeps some of you from having to turn expensive lasers into coat racks.

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