What is it about royalty that attracts the attention of so many? There is something about power, wealth, and tradition that can make any royal family seem as though they are the center of the universe. However, there is one royal family that tops them all, at least when talking about the media frenzy that surrounds them. The British Royal Family has been the focus of just about everyone, dating back to…. well…. the early Middle Ages.
Recently, a new member was introduced into this family, as on May 2, 2015, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was born. The youngest child of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Charlotte certainly does not yet realize what kind of royal life awaits her.
3D printing has brought a lot of unique art forms into existence, one of which is the creation of custom lithophanes. Whether it is the “ultra-deep” lithophanes created by Ben Malouf, or the tiny keychain-size creations by ‘Print 3D For Me’, we have really begun to see quite a bit of creativity come about due to this technology. For one man, named Franc Falco, he came up with an entirely different idea in creating his own lithophane.
“The idea for the Lithophane actually came from an email a colleague sent me regarding how a lot of big brands are jumping on the ‘royal bandwagon’ and releasing various products all commemorating the new royal birth,” Falco tells 3DPrint.com. “And to be honest, I actually created my piece as a ‘tongue in cheek’ example of what could be done with 3D printing in that theme. However, I do think there is something interesting about using a modern technology to reproduce a traditional craftsman technique and it always brings a smile to my face to watch the reaction of people when they first see the printed piece and then the ‘wow’ when they hold it up to the light!”
Falco is referring to his amazing 3D printed lithophane of none other than the royal baby Princess Charlotte, that he himself created. Having made many other lithophanes in the past for friends and colleagues, Falco says this latest version was quite easy to make. He first performed a Google search to find an image of the princess; one which was probably a lower resolution than he would have preferred. He then loaded the image into Photoshop to boost the contrast and invert it, leaving him with a grayscale negative of the photo.
Then using Maxon C4D, the modeling software of his choice, Falco loaded this negative image into the texture field, applied a couple simple parameters and was left with a 3D relief map (seen in the image to the right). This was exported as an .STL file and then sliced via Makerware.
“To get detail into the map/image, you have to use a high polygon mesh, so you need to experiment to go high enough to retain detail but not too high to make the slicer ‘fall over’,” Falco tells us.
Using his MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer, Falco, who runs the website CreatePrint3D then printed out the “royal” lithophane using white PLA filament. He prefers printing his lithophanes at a slower than normal speed to retain more detail and prevent the many nozzle retractions from causing too many issues. It took him about an hour to print, and he was extremely satisfied by the results.
Falco has made the design files for this lithophane available for free on Thingiverse, where users can download it for free and then print at their own leisure. What do you think of this unique 3D printed lithophane of Princess Charlotte? Discuss in the Princess Charlotte Lithophane forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below.