Black Lives Matter - Action and Equality. ... Adafruit is open and shipping.

How to make 3D Printed Lithophanes #3dthursday


Lately on Thingiverse, thanks to Cymon and pp3dpNL, there have been a number of fun printed lithophanes projects appearing. Here is a post from Cymon’s blog about how to make them for yourself!

I have been having a blast figuring out lithophanes and working out how to best make them. I think I’m going to start offering custom lithophane services in the store, which technically means I shouldn’t give away how I’m making them… but that’s not the sort of guy I am.

First thing I discovered is the local dollar store sells nightlights that I can print a holder for that will illuminate the lithophanes really well.

Another things I discovered was about thickness. From left to right (1) the source picture (my daughter), (2) white at 3mm thick, (3) tan at 3mm thick, (4) tan at 2.5mm thick. I thought I needed to make it thicker so I could have more color depth. Since I print these laying down I only get as many shades as I have layers. And sure enough if I want more layers I have to print in white, the tan just doesn’t let enough light through. But after comparing them side by side I really prefer the sepia-tone look of the tan ones. The white looks better in the picture, but in real life the tan is just superior. And at 2.5mm thick I’m getting about 16 layers, so that’s enough color for anything.

If you would like to make your own just follow these steps:

  1. Download BMPtoIGES
  2. Choose a source image with good contrast.
  3. Scale the picture to about 800×600 (the more pixels the more points in the final mesh the harder to process)
  4. In BMPtoIGES load your picture
  5. Set your edgecolor to black (so the holder has something to hold on to)
  6. Enter the following settings:


  7. File->Save and Process, choose STL and save your file
  8. Import the STL in Blender or your favorite mesh editing program
  9. Scale the STL by 50% in the Z only (I suppose you could change the 75 to 150 and just scale in all directions by 50%)
  10. Slice and print (I like to lay mine down. That works pretty well in my experience)

The Z-scaling is because I don’t think BMPtoIGES likes decimals in its boxes. 

I’m really surprised at how easy the process is… once I figured everything out. There was a lot of experimentation to get here, but in the end I’m fairly satisfied with the results. So don’t let my suffering be in vain and enjoy making your own Lithophanes.

Read more.

We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 20,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — To make it through a tough business cycle, layoffs should be a last resort

Wearables — Look beyond buttons

Electronics — The Glitchy Switch

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers: CircuitPython on Wio Terminal, 6.0.0 Alpha 1 and more! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Repurposed Smart Home Displays, Open-Source 5G Networks, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — Black Girls Code Virtual Camps

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Products 7/1/20 featuring Adafruit H3LIS331 Ultra High Range Triple-Axis Accelerometer – STEMMA QT / Qwiic!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.