How to 3D Print Your Own Lithophane

Wondering How to 3D Print Your Own Lithophane? It’s easy to do. With a few simple steps and an hour or so, you could have your very own custom, one of a kind art piece.

If you’ve ever seen the look of a lithophane – then you might be interested in how to 3D print one. Lithophanes are hand-carved or stamped creations that resemble something else when viewed from the side. They’re made by carving one side of a box, usually in wood, and then filling it with wax or some type of plaster before burning away the surface that doesn’t form an image.

Lithophanes are decorative pieces that you can display in your home or give as a gift. They are created when a photo is printed on opaque material and laser-etched, which gives the middle 2D picture depth. This guide will take you through how to create your own lithophanes at home with a 3D printer.

How to 3D Print Your Own Lithophane
3D Lithophane

What is a lithophane?

A lithophane is a 3D printed picture that looks like a 2D image in the light but becomes 3D when viewed from different angles. Lithophanes are made by printing an object over and over again on top of itself so that each layer has a slightly different color. When the object is viewed from certain angles, each layer becomes visible and creates the effect of depth.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to create your own lithophane using Autodesk 123D Design software and a 3D printer.

You can 3D print your own lithophane, it is an easy process:

Step 1: Gather the Right Files: The First Step Towards 3D Printing Of Your Own Lithophane

Sometimes, you just need to make sure you have the right files.

Whether it’s a 3D lithophane, a simple photo of your pet, or the first draft of a business plan that needs to be revised, it’s important to make sure you’ve got everything you need.

Here are some things to consider when it comes to gathering your files:

Is it something that can be scanned? Scanning is often easy and fast, and it’s always better than trying to use a camera.

If not, what kind of camera do I need? If you’re going to take pictures yourself, do you want something with good resolution but no flash? Or do you want one with a flash so that you can take pictures in low-light situations? Do you want one that has a wide-angle lens so that it will take more of the room in one shot? Will this be used primarily for selfies or group shots? Do I need one with video capabilities? Is there anything else I’ll need—a tripod, extra batteries?

Step 2: Make a Lithophane in Photoshop

You can make a 3D lithophane in Photoshop by following these steps:

  1. Open a photo that you want to use for your lithophane.
  2. Create a new layer and name it “Lithophane.”
  3. Set the foreground color to black, then go to Filter > Render > Clouds. This will create a cloud of white dots on your canvas, which will be used to create the 3D effect.
  4. Set the foreground color back to black, then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur with a radius of about 5 pixels. This will blur the cloud of white dots so that you can see some depth in them; this is what gives your lithophane its 3D effect!
  5. Go back to Layer Styles in your Layers palette and add an Inner Shadow effect with black color for Color and 100% Opacity (this will make sure that your lithophane has shadows). You can also tweak the settings on this effect if you’d like; just be sure they’re set at 100% Opacity so they won’t affect how the image looks when printed out later on!
Section: Step 3: Import the Image into MeshMixer

Import the image into MeshMixer, a free 3D modeling software. Once you’ve opened the program and imported your image, you’ll notice that it’s been converted into a solid shape. This is because your image has no depth and is therefore just one flat image. To fix this, we’ll need to convert it into a 3D object.

Open the Edit tab and go to “Extrude” under Modeling Tools. This will open a menu where you can select which parts of your image you want to extrude: in this case, we want to select all of them. Click “OK” when you’re done choosing, then watch as MeshMixer converts each part of your 2-dimensional picture into a 3-dimensional shape!

  1. Import the image you want to turn into a 3D object into Meshmixer (if it’s not already there).
  2. First click on the “Create” tab at the top of the window, then click on “Lithophane.”
  3. Then click on “Edit Settings” and set your width and height as desired for your lithophane, then click “OK” to return to this window.
  4. Now click on the “Color” tab at the top of the window and select your color from the drop-down menu in “Color Mode.” If you’re using a black-and-white image, choose “Black & White (Greyscale).” If you’re using a colored image, choose “RGB.”
  5. Finally, click on the “Texture” tab at the top of the window and select your texture from the drop-down menu in Texture Mode. You may need to experiment with different textures to find one that works best with your image. The default setting for this option is “Noise.”
Section: Step 4: Convert the Image to a 3D Model in MeshMixer

The first step in creating a 3D lithophane is to convert the image into a mesh.

To do this, open MeshMixer and import your image with File > Import Image. Then, select the entire image by pressing Ctrl + A or Cmd + A on Mac.

Next, use the Selection Tools (F1) to select just one edge of the image. You can select multiple edges at once by holding down Shift while selecting them.

Now, use the Fill tool (F5) to fill in all of the white space between the selected edges with black or another color.

Finally, click on the Create button at the top-right corner of MeshMixer’s screen. Choose “Make Solid” from the dropdown menu that appears next to it (shown below). This will make sure that there are no holes in your model. This is for when you export it as an STL file later on!

Section: Step 5: Export and Print Your Lithophane

If you’re looking to export your 3D lithophane, there are a few steps you need to take first.

  1. Check your layers: You can’t export something if it has too many layers. Keep in mind that every layer adds complexity and time to the exporting process, so it’s best to keep it simple. You can typically get away with three or four layers. If you want to make sure you’re not overdoing it, check out [link].
  2. Make sure your model is watertight. If you have any holes in your model or overlapping faces, this will cause problems when it comes time for exporting. There are several ways to fix this problem, but the easiest way is probably just using [link] on all of your models!
  3. Save as an OBJ file: This format is supported by most 3D printers and other software. So it’s a good bet that if someone needs an OBJ file they’ll be able to use yours without any trouble at all!

We hope that, with this guide, you’ll be able to make your own 3D lithophane. From personalizing the design to choosing the right tools and materials, we’ve given you a lot of information to consider. In order to make the lithophane from scratch, you’ll need patience and a lot of trial and error. But when you’re done, there’s no doubt it will be a unique and beautiful addition to your home. –


About the author

Jeff is a technology professional and avid writer. As a Product Designer at an AI SaaS startup, he is surrounded by cutting-edge technology. He loves sharing his expertise on graphic design and technology.

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