Can a Laser engrave on a 3D surface?

So I’m trying to justify buying a laser for my machine, and am deep in the creative space of “what could I do with it?”.

Can a laser be used to engrave on an existing 3D surface? I would want to make a 3D carve, for example, and then use the laser to engrave lines or text across the top. I would zero the z axis to use the focal point of the laser just like a tool to follow the surface. I imagine the software would need to generate a 3D path for the “laser tool” plus a PWM output for controlling the laser intensity. Is there software that makes this possible?

I use Fusion360 for all my modeling and CAM needs. I can easily draw the 3D paths/text, but I’m not sure about processing that into a Gcode output. Has anyone done this before? My google-fu has failed to find a good example.

I’m not aware of any SW that will do what you ask but as long as the distance change is not huge you won’t go too much out of focus.

The only thing I’ve seen is a device that rotates objects so you can engrave on tumblers and such. That’s ‘3D’ but probably not what you are looking.


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look into the Vectric Aspire laser plug-in. Not positive but I think I saw a video showing someone using his laser to mark a carved topographical cut.

Does someone make a attachment like this for burning on round objects?