Lithophane Lamp : 3D PRINTING YOUR PHOTOS!




About: So basically i am a crazy person, who loves to think the most odd way ever possible,who makes what he thinks and also let other also make those . Check out my crazy projects if you like do follow me :D

Every time there's an event of any kind where I need to buy a gift, I always prefer to make something then just buying. But the question always is how can I gift them some unique as well lovable.

Since I have a 3D printer, I always think that the best gift would be something personalized that I would 3D print, something that cannot be bought elsewhere and something that would make me proud to show off my printer's creations! And also, I wouldn't have to keep worrying about finding a good gift idea!

The most personalized item I could 3D print was a lithophane! so I turned it into a Customised Lamp

Things you will need

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Step 1: What Is a Lithophane ?

A lithophane is an etched or molded artwork in very thin translucent porcelain that can only be seen clearly when backlit with a light source. A lithophane presents a three-dimensional image - completely different from two-dimensional engravings and daguerreotypes that are "flat".

The images change characteristics depending on the light source behind them.The varying light source is what makes lithophanes more interesting to the viewer than two-dimensional pictures.

Step 2: Converting Pictures to Lithophane

Now there are a lot of ways to do this but I will share with you the shortest way to make a lithophane.

This site converts any image to 3d lithophanes

All you need to do is change the image from negative to positive.
And it will generate you a beautiful lithophane in STL format.
There are also settings for adjusting your lithophane dimensions.
I Have used 65 mm x 65 mm by 3mm
Print them with 0.2 mm layer height with 60 mm/s speed better result

Step 3: Designing a Holder

The main part of this build was designing the enclosure.
It has 3 part

  • The lower part which holds the lithophanes and mounts a led strip
  • The upper part
  • The diffuser

If you want to see the designing here is the video
If you want to learn more about designing in Autodesk Fusion 360 Check Instructables Classes and Autodesk design classes.
They made things so easy

Step 4: Printing the Holder

The Holder is printed in Black PLA on my ender 2

Link :

The setting was

  • Temp: 200 C
  • Speed : 80mm/s
  • Infill: 20
  • layer height: 0.2

You can use 0.3 also but that will damage the inscription on the body I suggest using 0.2 on the lower part and 0.3 on the upper cylinder.

Step 5: Mounting the LED

After the print was over, I tinned the wire and soldered them to the led strip.
Then I started to wound the strip on the cylinder as closely as I Could.
I used warm white LED you can use RGB too.

I took the wire out of the dc jack hole and then soldered it to the female DC Jack. and pushed it inside, the hole fits the jack snugly.

Step 6: The Diffuser

The led gives a harsh light. To make it softer I had made this Diffuser.
I used the previous sketch of the holder, added an outer shell and made the more diffuse
It fits snugly on the holder and also softens the light from the led before it hits the lithophanes.
If you wanna see more diffused lamp see this

Step 7: Assembly

The last process is to assemble the all the lithophanes on the holder and using the upper fixture.
Then I fix the Diffuser and The lamp is complete.
I hope you liked the project if you liked so subscribe to my youtube channel
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    13 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    I am an old time retired tool maker. I was a CNC programmer and expert with 2d AutoCad.
    I would like to get a 3d printer. Please tell me about yours. What you like and don’t like. What would you by next time? Any advice or suggestions for me would be greatly appreciated. How difficult is it to program.
    Final question way off topic. I love to build exact scale working models. Example: steam powered tractors. I need to cast a lot of parts. Steal, cast iron, aluminum and brass. The normal way is to build a pattern from wood. A new way is to make it with foam. Then pack it is special sand. When you pour the molten metal in. The foam is vaporized leaving a perfect cavity that the molten metal fills in. Once cool. Remove the sand and you have a perfect part. Can 3d printers use something similar to foam? A material that will hold it shape when you pack the sand around it creating a mold cavity. The material would need to vaporize when molten aluminum touches it? Do you have any suggestions?

    3 answers

    Answer 7 months ago

    Just wondering if you bought a 3D printer or are you still researching?


    Answer 1 year ago

    there are articles on line for lost pla casting. Pla referrs to the type of plastic used. There is no printable foam but there is control through software of wall thickness and infill of the plastic part which will insure burnout of the plastic .

    Good luck. Stay safe.


    Answer 1 year ago

    I don't have a 3D printer, so I can't recommend one, but I've used some, and have some information that may be useful to you.

    First of all, 3D printers are very easy to use. I haven't much experience with CNC, but I think anyone could use a 3D printer, so no worries there. Usually the process is to design a model using a CAD program, export it, "slice" it (cuts it into individual 2D layers for the print head to follow), then take the G-Code from the slicer program and tell the printer to print it.

    There are two main kinds of consumer printers, FFF (Fused filament fabrication) printers (Imagine a fine-tipped hot glue gun on a CNC machine, capable of printing in several different kinds of materials), and SLA (Stereolithography), which uses UV light to cure a resin. FFF is the most common technology used, and should suit your needs just fine.

    Now onto your second question: If you haven't heard of lost PLA casting, it works pretty similar to what you're talking about. PLA is probably the most commonly used material in consumer FFF 3D printers. For best results, you might need to burn the PLA out first, but I'll bet someone's made a different material that works better for the technique you're talking about.

    Hope this clears some things up!


    1 year ago

    I love this. I only have access to a 3d printer where you pay by the gram. Roughly how heavy does the lamp work out to be?

    1 reply

    Question 1 year ago on Step 7

    that is amazing ,i would like to do Lithophane for a fair bit complicated photos , like the ones with natural scenery on the background, so i don't really know if Pursa will be sufficient to do it ? i only have anet a8 , and i am struggling to get it right , i am really interested in doing the perfect Lithophane. any advice?


    1 year ago

    A good present idea and great video and Instructable, thanks for sharing :)

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    This is a really cool idea. And awesome as a personalized gift!

    1 reply

    1 year ago on Step 7

    Very nice I'll have to try this, Thank you.

    The Lord walks with you.

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    1 year ago

    If you reverse the pictures, it will make a blanc face when lamp off, and photo when lamp on !