What Are Lithophanes? This is How to Turn Your Photos into 3D Art

by AryanArtnews
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Would you like to add a new dimension to your photo? Then Ritofan may be for you. Here’s how to bring 18th century art techniques back to life with a 3D printer.

Lithophanes is a special work of art that allows you to present your photographs in a very unique way. You literally turn your photo into a physically 3D printed object.

What are Lithophanes? How do they work?

Litofans are usually translucent objects that project images by varying the thickness of the material and have been used for hundreds of years, but 3D printing has recently made them easier to manufacture. When you shine light on the back of a lithophan, the image appears through contrasts of different light intensities. Thick parts of the object have low light intensity, which darkens the object. The opposite is true for thin areas.

What is Ritofan?
Left: Original photo. Right: Ritofan with light behind.

With the power of 3D printing, Litofan can create something very accurate and consistent. You can also easily create your own 3D model Ritofan from all your digital photos with the help of Ritofan Maker. Lithofans are no longer limited to flat objects, and lithophane use cases are rapidly evolving for all kinds of designs and purposes.

It highlights some of the great designs people have come up with and provides ideas on how to create them yourself using digital photography.

Lithofan lamp shade

A very functional way to show Lithofan is to create a lampshade. This can be easily done by replacing the current lampshade and printing a new flashy lampshade. Well, it’s almost as easy as that. To give you an idea of ​​how this is made, I will guide you through the process of making this lampshade.

How to make a Lithofan lampshade

First, you need a lamp holder that you can buy at your local household goods store or at Ikea. Measure the height and diameter of the original lampshade to make sure it has the same ratio compared to the lamp holder, or choose a different dimension. it’s up to you.

Its Litho was used to design the lampshade Lithofan. After uploading the photo, I selected the shape of the cylinder from the shape drop-down menu. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure that the top diameter is smaller than the bottom diameter to provide the look of a classic lampshade.

For ramp-shaped litho fans, enable the ramp attribute. You need to measure the lamp holder and insert a number into the diameter of the bulb fitter. Add a little margin of error for an easy fit.

I entered important numbers and fine-tuned the bulb fitter connector to my liking. At this point, I thought the model looked good, so I downloaded it. Click the download button of the Litofan + attribute button to get the 3D model file.

Now that you have a 3D model of the Lithofan lampshade, you can almost start printing at this point. But before that, you need to slice the model. This is necessary for the 3D printer to understand how to print the model. For this I used Cura.

Patience is important, especially when printing Litofan. Therefore, it prints all litho fans at a speed of 30 mm / s. For the infill, 99% was used in combination with 99 walls to ensure that the lithophane was completely stiff. Finally, we set the layer height to 0.12mm for the highest quality prints. It was a very long print (4 days) due to size, but it was definitely worth it!

After printing, paste the print on the lamp holder base and you’re ready to go! In addition to the classic lampshade look, there is also a new variation that pops up in a curved shape like a nightlight holder.

Make Christmas ornaments from Lithophanes

Now that you know how to create and print a litho fan, here are some other great prints you can use as inspiration. There are many different designs that people come up with this season. One of my favorites is the Christmas bell Litofan. You will find that they are easy to place, easy to illuminate, and enhance the spirit of Christmas.

Add color to Lithophanes

It is also possible to color the litho fan. This is a bit of a “cheating” method, but the results are amazing. This can be done using a bespoke translucent version of the image, which can be painted on the back of the lit fan or placed on the back of the lit fan to make the color shine with the light.

What is Ritofan?

Many people will be impressed when they see it for the first time by turning white plastic into a colorful image by shining a little light on it. Please try!

About the author: Jordin Andriessen is a co-founder of Its Litho. I’m building Its Litho as a hobby project with my good friends. They are trying to help people discover the amazing potential of 3D-printed Ritofans and make them accessible to everyone.

The opinions expressed in this article are only those of the author.

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