Lithophane I created using the lithophane generator - My wife and I on our wedding - 11/2013

Lithophane I created using the lithophane generator – My wife and I on our wedding – 11/2013

One of the main reasons why people purchase desktop 3D printers is because of the customizability that it provides them in creating whatever they want. One type of 3D print that has become quite popular over the past several months is the lithophane.

Historians believe the art form originated in the 1820s by a man named Baron Paul de Bourging. Since then, there have been many methods of creating lithophanes, many of which differ from one another in various respects. However, 3D printing has brought a newer, and now much easier, method of creating these photo-based art forms in the comfort of our own homes.

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If you search Thingiverse for the the word “lithophane”, you will come across over 4,600 results, featuring lithophanes of everything from an Albert Einstein version, to one featuring the T-1 Robot from the Terminator movie. Lithophanes could certainly be considered to be the “in” thing when it comes to 3D printing.

Now, thanks to a website called 3D Printing Rocks!, anyone can create an STL file for a 3D printable lithophane in a matter of 3 seconds, using the Image to Lithophane generator.

lithphane3Simply drag a photo of your choice — anything you want whether it be a wedding photo, a picture of your big toe, or a photo of your favorite scenery — into the bottom of your browser window. Then you can modify the specifications you would like your lithophane to feature. You can change the maximum size, the thickness, the border size, minimum layer height, and the number of vectors per pixel. I’ve personally found that the default settings work quite well. Once you have completed this, a simple click on your photo, which should be shown at the bottom of the screen, loads up your lithophane in a matter of seconds, and your STL file will automatically begin downloading.

The web-based app currently works with Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer 10+ browsers.

This is definitely a great web-based app, that is entirely free to use. What a wonderful little contribution by the founders of “3D Printing Rocks!”, I’m sure it will get plenty of use.

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A lithophane I created using a photo of the BotObjects co-founders

Have you created your lithophane using this website yet? We’d love to see how your 3D print turned out. Discuss and show off in the 3DP Rocks Lithophane Generator forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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