3D printed Lithophane to replace lamp glass pane.
We had just finished installing 2 new porch lights around the same time the neighborhood kids got their new BB gun. It was about a week later when I went outside and realized the glass pane had been shattered by a ricochet.
I wasn’t able to order a replacement so I started thinking.
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Step 1: MAKE AN IMAGE
Historically a lithophane was art etched into very thin translucent porcelain that can be seen clearly when back lit.
I mocked up an image that matched the dimensions of my broken lamp glass in Photoshop.
A nice photo of my family I took that makes me smile each time we return home with some simple text at the bottom. Things that are dark will print thicker to block more light, and the lighter areas will be the thinnest parts of the print.
Step 2: PRINT YOUR IMAGE
There are a few ways to convert this to a 3D printable format.
You could upload the jpg image to 3DP, this is a free web based tool.
It is also really simple to create these using Cura.
I have version 2.5 beta.
Rather than importing an STL just go to File Import, and choose your image file.
It will ask you some setting about height and layers, these are the settings I used.
Remember the way we designed our image the darkest areas should block the most light, so make sure darker is higher is selected from the drop down.
I printed this out using clear PETG filament which has a nice translucent quality.
I also used a raft for better bed adhesion when printing upright.
Orienting the shape vertically allows for better clarity because of the layer resolution.
It may not look all that great on the printer at first but shine some light through the back and it is really amazing the detail that is created by the generated hi/lo terrain.
Once complete I just removed the raft and used some weather resistant silicon to attach it to the lamp.
Since we measured this carefully before printing, it slide right in place.
The translucency of the PETG matches the beaded glass nicely. And if you aren’t looking for it you can’t tell it is a replacement.
Hope you enjoyed this project. I think I will try this technique for some other projects.
EDIT: the pane has been up for about 2 months now and it still looks just as good as when I first installed it.
Another tip if you want the smooth side of your image to the outside you can flip your image, so the words are backwards. This will leave the face of your lamp very professional when the light is off.