3D capability?

So, this laser is being advertised as a 3D laser. I saw your topic “Why do you call the Glowforge a ‘3D laser printer’?”, and I know you have features yet to be mentioned, but this prospect (which I hope I am not misinterpreting) is honestly what sold me on your laser. I currently have a jenky home-made laser cutter which sits on a cnc frame, and one of my favorite things to do with it is carve foam. I use my engraving program and gradients within the image to cut foam insulation (the pink stuff) into objects and then use lost foam sand-casting to make aluminum objects out of the foam. My laser doesn’t auto-focus, and so it’s not great at this, but I have managed to do some cool things, and I hope from your hints that I will be able to do better with your laser

Can I bribe you to give me hints as to if my thinking is in the right direction? I know other, much more expensive, lasers can carve reliefs into wood, and I’d be happy about this as well, but really any info would be nice!

PS. Glad to see a fellow Seattleite doing this!

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So excited to see what you do with a Glowforge! You’re right, you can control speed, power, and focus depth separately. I’m pretty excited about that. I’m not sure I totally understand your question though - can you clarify?

What he is talking about is a 3d depth/relief map. Used in making many thing like 3d CNC cuts, or even in those old 3d images where you had to cross your eyes to see. they look like this:

The depth of the cut would correspond to the brightness in the image (top right image). White = higher , black = lower.

I am curious as well if glowforge will be able to work in a depth/relief map mode. Ive already seen mention of color mapping to engraving/cut-through. Will it be able to accept grayscale as a source for power setting? Can the laser change power quickly enough or would it have to be a multi-pass situation? I think this is probably a lot trickier to accomplish with a laser than it would be with a tactile system object like a CNC mill. You would probably need some sort of depth sensing stereo cameras or something of that nature.

well… enough guesswork from me haha. Any insight into this would be great though!