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Thread: Any chance for the XRF gun technology to come down in price?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    Alaska, the last frontier
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    140

    Any chance for the XRF gun technology to come down in price?

    Like everybody here I would love to own an XRF gun and I'm horrified art the price on those suckers. Is there a chance that advancements in technology and competition will bring those prices down?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    892
    Be nice, also even if it just comes down enough to have someone offer testing of mailed in samples?
    Currently you can buy aprox #25 lbs of of average known alloys for the cost of I XR test.
    Maybe good when you have thousands of pounds of one alloy type.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    NE Kansas
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    1,146
    What about the positive comments for the testing service provided by forum member "BNE"? Mail a clean sample splatter of the unknown alloy along with a pound of lead and he sends a PM back with the XRF reading. That is a LOT cheaper than 25 pounds of alloy.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    3,086
    If you buy it used.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    890
    Even used they cost! Lots to rent too.
    QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES?

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    134
    There is a chance.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Ed_Shot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    North Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Bannister View Post
    What about the positive comments for the testing service provided by forum member "BNE"? Mail a clean sample splatter of the unknown alloy along with a pound of lead and he sends a PM back with the XRF reading. That is a LOT cheaper than 25 pounds of alloy.
    +1 BNE is the man.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    sqlbullet's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    Holladay, UT
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    There are a couple of factors here that drive cost that are outside the scope of Moore's Law.

    First is the regulatory cost. You are buying an x-ray generator that falls to some degree in the scope of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The costs to certify the handheld devices are probably very high, and are distributed over a small number of products. As an aside, larger, non-portable XRF devices have to undergo annual inspections.

    Second is the cost of discrimination of lighter elements. The lighter the element, the more expensive to to accurately quantify. The initial reaction from this group my be to assume that since we are interested in testing lead, that should work in our favor. But, we aren't really interested in testing for lead. If the sample isn't most lead by trivial testing we don't want it. We are interested in testing for antimony, tin, copper, arsenic and zinc. And maybe for other trace elements. Of those, tin and antimony fall at the very top of the "heavy" element resolution, and arsenic, zinc and copper are in the middle of the next section. The energy return from these elements is about 1/10th that of lead, and therefore orders of magnitude more expensive to detect.

    Third is complexity. This is really three integrated systems plus computerized controllers, all miniaturized. Complexity means higher reject rates in the manufacturing process. The cost of rejected parts is still incorporated into the shipped units.

    Finally is the small user base. No matter how cheap they make them, the number of people who are going to want to buy this type of technology is still pretty limited. R&D costs are then shared by a small number of units, and are correspondingly higher per unit.

    I would love to see them drop in price. But I am not holding my breath.
    My isotope lead page: http://fellingfamily.net/isolead/

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    Bookworm's Avatar
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    Jan 2016
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    Central Oklahoma, on a dirt road.
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    Sqlbullet, thank you for a well written, cogent explanation of the problems.

    It's refreshing to read a clear, concise few paragraphs that are neither elementary school level, nor loaded with post-graduate
    jargon.
    "Varium et mutabile semper femina." - Virgil
    Man, ain't it the truth....

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    219
    What do they cost currently? My instinct is that the cost has already come down greatly.

    My first exposure to portable XRF was in 1999 or 2000. The company I worked for had a dozen handheld XRF units for use in scrap segregation, and they sent me out into the field to investigate a suspected alloy swap in an industrial installation. I was told the unit I was given for the trip had a purchase cost of $30,000 and a significant annual recalibration cost.

    20 years later I see them in medium-sized welding shops being used to check routine stainless welds, not to mention all sorts of "government projects" like testing bullet alloys during coffee breaks. This makes me think they aren't nearly as expensive as they used to be.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    --BattleRife

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    sqlbullet's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    Cheap chinese ebay are about $15k. Decent brand with support and calibration that I would trust for our purposes start at $20K.

    So, they are coming down in price, but not following moore's law.
    My isotope lead page: http://fellingfamily.net/isolead/

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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