What is a lithophane?
Lithophanes date back to the 1800’s. They were originally made from thin pieces of porcelain with an image carved into it. When the lithophane was lit from behind, the engraving shows as a 3D image. The thicker sections block the light and make up the grades of dark/black color, and the thinner sections let light though and make up the light/white shades. The images can be quite detailed.
Your 3D printer can produce these lithophanes surprisingly easily, and with a very high level of quality. The lithophanes themselves are simply thin squares of plastic. You can design a lithophane box with 4 or 5 sides made of printed lithophanes. This is commonly called a “lithophane box”. You can also produce a cylinder using 2 or more photos to produce a tube-shaped lithophane. There are a lot of options, but the easiest seems to be printing flat lithophane panes and putting them into a box, which is what we’ll cover in this article.
Digital Photos (one for each pane)
Photo editing software
3D Slicing software
3D Printer (Filament based FFF/FDM style)
3D Printer Filament, preferably white color PLA or PETG
LED lights, similar to this model: – LED
(optional) CAD software for designing your own box.