How to Create a 3D Printed Lithophane

How to Create a 3D Printed Lithopane

Sections: 

  • What Is a Lithopane?
  • What You’ll Need to Create a Lithophane.
  • Free Picture to 3D Lithopane converter.
  • Slicer Settings.
  • Printing!
  • And You Are Done!

What Is a Lithophane

3D Printed Lithopane in Matte White Filament

A lithophane uses light and a 3D Print with variable thickness to display a mono-color image. By making certain print parts thicker, more light is diffused, showing up as a darker section of the image. On the other hand, the thinner sections diffuse less light, showing up as brighter sections. This allows the print to create a monographic image (an image that uses different shades of a single color). 

What You’ll Need to Create a Lithophane

Now that’s great and all, but how exactly do you 3D print one? We’ll show you! To get started, here is what you need: 
  • A 3D Printer
  • White Filament
  • An image that you want to print!
  • Slicer 
  • A computer with an internet connection(duh!) 

How to Generate a Free 3D Lithophane

First, you need to pick a picture (or multiple) that you want to 3D print as a lithophane. Then, there are a handful of free Lithophane generators available online. Here are a few of our favorites: 

They each have slightly different shapes, designs, and setting configurations available. We would recommend trying all of them and selecting your favorite. After all your customizations, you should be able to download the finished model as an .STL file. 

 Slicer Settings 

Once you’ve generated the .STL file, it’s time to bring it into your slicer. Here are some of the settings we recommend: 
  • 100% solid print (this can be achieved through 100% infill or significant wall thickness). 
  • Print slow! The slower your print, the crisper the details will come out. We recommend printing with 25-45 mm/s, but you can go quite a bit faster depending on the quality of your printer.  
  • Print with the smallest layer height possible!

Printing 

Now that you’ve got your picture converted and sliced into a 3D model, it's time to 3D print your lithophane! It’s best to use a white filament as it tends to diffuse light the best. We especially recommend using a matte white filament since it diffuses light more evenly and objectively looks better! When the print is done, just add a light behind it or hold it up to the sun, and observe the magic! 

1 comment

Barry

Barry

Perfect timing for the article. I just ordered some white pla yesterday for a couple of lithophanes.

Perfect timing for the article. I just ordered some white pla yesterday for a couple of lithophanes.

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