It's that sad time when our trusty 10 year old Gravograph LS900's laser is failing, the lens is cracked and the X movement occasionally misses steps. Gone too are those happy days of decent funding, but we have been told that there is 'some' money in the pot for a new one. I'm still waiting for a quotation from Gravograph for a like-for-like, as well as a complete overhaul, but I suspect (unlike a lot of technology) a new one won't have come down in price much and it may not be cost effective to replace so much on an ailing machine like ours, so we might have to settle for an inferior machine. So I'm compiling a list of cheaper proposals for our finance director. I spoke a very helpful salesman from Technology supplies, and have 3 machine prices ranging from £9000+vat for an X252 80w Glass tubed machine (smaller bed size but eqivalent to a 40W metal tubed one, our LS900 was 30w) to £12470+vat for the Mercury III (Metal tubed but only 25W and smaller bed size). I've also seen Tilgear do a Berghmann 60w machine with a bigger 600x900 bed for £8000+vat (I have seen it over a grand and a half cheaper on YPO but not sure about the extra fume extraction Tilgear mention. From what the salesman has told me, glass tubed machines do have shorter lifespan, but at around a grand to replace the tubes they are still cheaper to run than the several grand it costs when the metal tubes go (as with our LS900). He did say that etching on the metal tubed machines is more precise. Does anyone have any unbiased experience of both glass and metal tubed machines, and may be able to offer advice or recommendation of any machine?