Generation Loss - Copies of Copies of Copies

Waiting in line to cut a luggage tag with the Glowforge at the Seattle Maker Faire, I started to think about generation loss—when you make a copy of a copy of a copy and the quality diminishes. It happens on photocopies, it happened on cassette tapes, and it occured to me that I could make it happen on my Glowforge!

I want to make a drawing, scan it with the GF camera, engrave that onto a material, scan that engraving, engrave it onto new material, scan that, and so on. What will it turn in to? How many generations before smoke and other artifacts create new art from the original?


This seems like it would be a fun “what if” thing but as far as I know if you scan something the cloud keeps a copy for you to use later. If so, that degradation would never happen.

I could see it being like a laser version of the telephone game… or when you translate a sentence in google translate from one language and back again a dozen times


First off… that is awesome.

Inspired by you, I am now curious about the “recording itself” effect, and want to do a scan and engrave series with enlarge or reduction and no material swaps… (maybe also a small offset)


“I am forging in a room, different from the one you are in now…”


I think if you did a cycle of different materials you might get some neat results.