4 Ways to Create Your Own 3d Printed Lithophanes?.
Lithophanes are pieces of etched sheet that looks ordinary, but contains an image that can only be clearly seen when shining light on it. If you have a 3D printer, you can print all sorts of lithophanes, and in this article, I will walk you all the ways to create a lithophan in simple steps. We are using an Ender 3 Pro 3D printer here, however any 3D printer should work. Let’s start.
Typically, lithophans are created using CNC machines and peeling material from a sheet of ceramic or plastic, but if you have a decent 3D printer, you can create a personalized lithophane effortlessly. You will need a 3D printer to create your own lithophan, but if you want to skip the hassle and order one, a simple Google search will give you plenty of places to get a customized lithophan delivered to your doorstep.
It would be very helpful if you have a 3D printer and have a basic knowledge of how to slice STL files in slicing software.
This online tool is the easiest way to create a lithophan STL file. You just upload an image and it immediately shows a preview of what the litofan will look like.
Start by opening the 3dp.rocks website, click the Images button on the webpage and upload an image. After uploading the image, the lithophan model will be created. You can create several different types of lithophans, such as picture frame, lampshade, night lamp dome, and heart. I just printed a small picture frame to check the print quality.
You can adjust the size of the litofan model on the settings page. This will ensure that the print is at your preferred dimensions.
Once you are happy with the design, click “Update” and click “Download”. It will generate an STL file and start downloading to your computer.
Open STL files in a slicer (I used IdeaMaker) and generate g-code. Just make sure you print vertically and not lying down to get the best resolution. If you want a sharper image, reduce the print speed of the model while slicing.
I printed a portrait of Monalisa, and as you can see, it looks nothing like anything until you turn on the light. Pretty cool, right?
2. It is litho
The previous tool was great for creating simple lithophans that could replace an existing picture frame or lampshade. However, if you are looking to take your lithophanes to the next level, perhaps give this tool a try. You can create a lithophan in the shape of a plane, sphere, cylinder, arc, vase, or even a pumpkin. Open the tool in a web browser by clicking this link and upload the image.
After the image is uploaded, you can edit it to look better like a lithophan. Adjusting the sliders will show you the changes in real time. When you are satisfied with the image, start creating the model.
You can now change all of the lithophan settings to create a truly personalized lithophan. Start by choosing the shape of your lithophane, adjusting the size, increasing or decreasing detail, and enabling attributes. After that press the download button to save the model in STL format and you are ready to print.
After slicing the model in the slicer, start printing the model and it should show a detailed image under the light.
P. To slaughtermaker.com
I use this tool because you can create a lithophan box with 4 different images and use it as a night light. Although you can print 10 different types of lithophans, such as globe, night light, ceiling light, Christmas lights, and more, I chose the lightbox for variety. Go to the Litofan manufacturer’s website and select Lithophane LightBox Maker.
The interface is not as intuitive as other tools, but it is still simple enough and gives reasonably good results. Start uploading images to the page and adjust the size of your lightbox model. You can even customize the bulb diameter, just measure the bulb holder size and enter the value on this page.
After adding all the images, you will see a preview of how it will look on the box. Adjust the position of the images and load the STL files.
I printed the box and it took about 22 hours but the result was worth it.
Here’s another corner of the lightbox with a light bulb inside.
4. Make Your Own Litofan in Photoshop
Photoshop is probably the most difficult option to create a lithophan, but it’s also highly customizable, and you can control every aspect of the model and create whatever you want (only if you know what you are doing).
Download this action file to your computer and add it to your Photoshop. Open the image in Photoshop.
Run this action from the Actions menu. It will be called “Make Litofan”. If you don’t see the Play button in the right pane, you can open it manually from Window Actions. It will take a few seconds to create a 3D model of your image, so be patient.
Once this is done, you will see a 3D preview of the Lithophane model. To create an STL file, click the print button as shown in the image below.
Click the Export button to save the STL files on your computer. Now just slice the STL file and start printing your litofan.
This is what a lithophan looks like under light.
These were some of the tools for printing lithophanes. Of course, each of the methods listed here can produce decent results, but each tool is best suited for creating unique designs. For example, 3DP.Rocks allows you to print good quality picture frames, its Litho allows you to print entire lampshades that can be installed over an existing lamp. LithophaneMaker is great for printing lightboxes with multiple images, and Photoshop gives you control over the quality of the lithophane. What image are you going to print on your 3D printer, let me know in the comments below?