Lithophane with 3D Printer

3D printing is an ultimate enabling technology! Once you have a way of creating physical objects from computer models and master material’s limitations, there’s no telling what you’ll be able to do! We’ve seen 3D-printed phonograph records, 3D printed bikini, not to mention the much hyped-up 3D printed gun, and now G.P. Le Sage Blog brings us 3D printed lithophane (a picture formed by light that passes through different thickness of semi-translucent material) .
Check out the results and of course the great step-by-step tutorial on the 3D lithophane process posted by G.P. Le Sage.

I have to add a personal note (and this is in no way to belittle results of GPLS’s work) but to me personally the lithophane pictures have a distinct Paranormal Activity flavor and may be in great demand around Halloween time 🙂 – that leaves us just enough time to master the technique and be ready to come up with ghostly images of loved ones before October 31st!

G. P. Le Sage Blog


I created a lithophane using my home-made 3D printer. By using BMP2IGES, a freely available program, I converted a grey scale image to a mesh, with white being thinnest and black being thickest. I printed white ABS filament, and experimented with overall thickness to make a clearly visible image with the light from a $2 night light from a dollar store.

I was following the example provided by Joe.

Here is the original image, and the conversion to grey scale. I added blackouts to protect the privacy of my friends.

JulieIan Eyes BlockedJulieIanBWCrop Eyes Blocked

I first experimented with the lithophane using Blender. I defined an emitting surface, and made the lithophane out of material that partially transmitted light. By rendering the lithophane with the light source behind, I could test the appearance.

Blender Render


Next I printed the actual object with my 3D printer. The first one was too thick, and required a very…

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