Random musing on 3D engrave

While driving home this evening my mind went to my future glowforge (as it frequently does) and I starting thinking about the 3D engrave feature. I’ve been playing around in illustrator and photoshop with methods to turn regular photos into files that would translate well into a 3D engrave. It’s not fast, but since I enjoy those programs it’s fun. What popped into my head was, what if someone had more artistic talent than me (not hard to imagine…at all) and drew something freehand that was intended to be a 3D engrave, darkening the areas they want the deepest and shading and blending the areas in between. Here’s the question, would the 3D engrave feature work from an image scanned by the Glowforge camera? I can’t remember this being discussed before, but I could see it giving a sort of organic vibe to a 3D engrave, especially if some of the crosshatching and what-not showed up in the blends from black to white.

Anyway, just a thought - I was actually thinking of how my mother could use the Glowforge. She has 0 tech ability (don’t tell her I said that, she was super excited she managed to plug in her new printer without me there the other week :wink: ) but unlike me has a lot of artistic talent. She taught High School art for years, along with just about every other subject, including Spanish. Sadly I can’t draw or speak Spanish…go figure.


I hadn’t thought of that distinction.

I can’t answer for certain; but it seems likely that a drawing would be no more steps than a photo from original to 3D engrave.

I hope so, anyway.
I honestly imagine that your results will vary depending on the time you take… whether for a photo or a drawing.


Absolutely. I know what I do though is very smooth and polished. If I want a smooth gradient, or a particular arc in my gradient it’s just a matter of inputing the numbers. What’s done by hand I’m sure would have a totally different feel, probably not as polished, but, like I said, in some ways maybe more organic. I think part of the limitation will be the resolution of the scan from the lid camera.


Interesting! What if a 3D camera is going to be one of the cool new expansion add-ons?


Now that would be cool. I’ve already been playing with the mods for the Xbox camera, but everything I have right now is a Mac, so that’s been a little frustrating. May have to give in and buy another windows machine somewhere down the road. But, hey, that’s an expansion that I would find cool…the only problem I see is the lack of depth in the bed would be a bit of a limitation…but maybe not.


I see “the hopper” getting a little fuller.

I like to imagine to myself that it is now it’s own annex attached to the main GF building .


I picture the glowforge office as this quaint little house in the countryside, with a giant basket (hopper) looming like a mountain over the little house :smile: – but then I have a very distorted sense of humor, or so I’ve been told.


The country side of downtown Seattle… :stuck_out_tongue:


I have an iSense 3D scanner from 3D Systems, which supposedly is the same hardware as what’s in the Kinect, and it works on my iMac under Parallels. You might give that a shot?


What a cool idea! I don’t think the camera trace workflow will work for that, but easy to just take a picture of it or use a scanner and then it would definitely work.


Most excited about the creative possibilities of the camera.
I plan to explore the scan/trace feature extensively.
:writing_hand: :paintbrush: :camera:


Since the head camera can move and take pictures from multiple points it should be able to 3D scan. So it should be possible to use Glowforge as a 3D copier!

A related question is can you scan something on one Glowforge and print it on another via the cloud?


Since the laser is tied to your account I doubt it, but I don’t know…

Can you export the image from the camera? Then you could easily manipulate depth prior to forging.

Similar to moving a frame from Premiere to Photoshop, changing whatever, and then changes are reflected back in Premiere.

  • Tom

That would be awesome!

It works today, if you have two Glowforge printers attached to your account. :slight_smile:

No - if you’re going to pass it through photoshop or similar, we recommend just capturing the image with a camera or scanner.


Thinking… What about doing a screen cap once the image is taken? Not sure if one gets an unaltered image from the camera.

Would be interesting to try but not really for 3D engraving. Would take some post processing to clip out the rest of the bed. Might be easier to take a phone pic and use Adobe capture. But it would work for rough outlines.

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If we’re talking about a sketch, after being scanned in and run through a few photoshop filters, I bet you could do anything!
You could do the basic outline sketch, scan that in, then shade it in and scan again.
I would blur it a bit to smooth out the shading for 3D, then overlay the outline sketch for definition.


Imo…whereas the camera and UI for the Glowforge is pretty darn amazing…might be better to not get caught up on trying to make it do what you could better do with a scanner and proper design software. A scanner would get a better defined capture and they are pretty cheap nowadays. :smile: