These feature is requested because one application I use my GF for is engraving paintball markers. If there is too much of a height change the beam is unfocused and causes errors in engraving.
Is it possible to use the current focusing system as a way to plot changes in height of the item on the bed? My thought was setting up a grid of focus points (area selected by user). The information about the adjustments required to maintain focus could be uploaded to the server and used to make a point cloud representing the item on the bed. With this information the lens system could now change focus and maintain precision in the bean. This is very similar to the way 3D printers work with auto bed leveling with some modifications to fit this application. I researched Muse lasers and they use Intel RealSense cameras for autofocus, but I’m not sure if they do it in real time with changes in topology. I’m not sure what is used now to focus, but it looks like a red dot and optical. A time of flight laser distance sensor could be used to create an extremely accurate height map in a future hardware upgrade.
This would solve a large problem of mine (affecting the primary reason I got the GF) and it would open up the possibility of further uses for me.
I don’t speak for Glowforge, but I can tell you what you are asking for is not practical. It takes several seconds for the machine to re-focus to a different height. No consumer-grade machine can adjust the focus “on the fly” as it moves over irregular objects.
You can break up your design into multiple steps and manually define the focus height for each step in the settings. When you do that, you will observe the machine pausing while the re-focus operation is performed, and hear the “clicking” or “tapping” from the head as the lens is moved, then printing will resume.
I understand that it might sound impractical, but I think it may just require a reimagining of the process. Right now flaser is shipping a laser that does this. https://fslaser.com/Product/Muse3DAF
It does take a few seconds to find focus, but the movement of the lens shouldn’t take much time. Using a pre-calculated focus lens position would allow for this feature. Besides, I have faith in the GF team. ha
The hardware isn’t designed for rapid lens movement. Like I said, try it. It takes several seconds even when not “auto focusing”, just moving to defined focus positions.
Perhaps a future model of the machine.
That’s a great idea for a feature - thanks for the suggestion! We haven’t announced anything like that yet, but I’m going to send it to our product team with a note that it came from a customer request.
I’ve moved this thread to the Everything Else section so the discussion can continue there.
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