Friday, November 28, 2014

Lithophanes

I saw my first 3D printer when I was visiting the University of Notre Dame.  It was over 10 years ago, it was fairly expensive to operate and it printed in a kind of expensive wax.

Anyway, this was the first time I saw a lithophane.  It was a picture of Marilyn Monroe that just popped out if you held it so up to a light so that it is backlit.  It was just so cool that I really wanted to make some Lithophanes when I got my 3D printer.

Once I finally found some time I did some research and there were a few programs on the web which would make lithophanes for me.

http://maker.dongguk.edu/webclient/cylinder_litho_index.html
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:74322

I tried a few but nothing excited me so I just wrote one myself.   I am very pleased with the results:


If you just want a lithophane, we added them to my wife's etsy store:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/familyheART

If you already have a printer I am happy to send you the MATLAB code to generate these for yourself.  However, I must warn you that it is not very robust and I am reluctant to post it until I can add a bunch of error checking and a little better user interface.  It's also written in MATLAB, ideally I would like to change to something like Python but I am just quicker working with MATLAB.