Lithophane Key Chains From Photos

Discussion in 'My Shapeways Order Arrived' started by kaublezw, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. kaublezw
    kaublezw New Member
    Well...after more iterations than I can count...we are finally in business.

    Check out our web site: Print3DForMe

    I think I've come as close as I can to perfecting the algorithm with the White Detail material.


  2. EleanorW
    EleanorW New Member
    Wow! These are amazing - thanks for sharing and glad the iteration process paid off.
    Can you share a little bit more about your design process? These are really neat and I'd love to know more about how you developed them.
  3. kaublezw
    kaublezw New Member

    The long road from idea to product had many twists and turns.

    Before I even knew what a lithophane was, I noticed that some of the Shapeways materials were semi-transparent and that it might be possible to create a kind of back-lit photograph. I thought it was an original idea.

    Of course a quick Google Search revealed that this art has been around for over 100 years and many people have recently been trying to create them with 3D printers.

    My first product idea was to create a Christmas light cover, and I created a prototype using the strong and flexible material.
    I noticed two immediate problems: not enough detail and the curvature of the light bulb cover ruined the effect. (Also, the cost would be prohibitive if you wanted to use the covers on an entire strand of lights.)

    So at this point I was drifting along without a product in mind.

    I decided just to see if it was even possible to create a decent lithophane. I modified my program and tried printing a model using the Transparent Detailed Plastic....but it was too transparent.

    Then I tried again using the White Detailed Plastic, bingo.


    Next, we started thinking about exactly what kind of product we could create that was affordable and fun.

    After that was decided, we spent several iterations on designing the frame, key chain hole, and the indented print on the side of the frame indicating our web site url.

    We also spent several iterations on refining the algorithm that generates the model from a photograph. We had to pick just the right maximum and minimum depths to create the best effect.

    Anyway, the whole process was fun and exciting. It's amazing how an idea can evolve from the prototyping process.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  4. FabMeJewelry
    FabMeJewelry New Member
    That's a beautiful product you've got there, love the description on how you got to the perfect end result !
  5. hongchen
    hongchen New Member
    very nice design!

    I tried the link and wanted to upload a photo in jpg format, but it didn't get accepted all the time. Can you please check it?

  6. kaublezw
    kaublezw New Member
    Hi Hong -
    I'm so sorry that you had problems. Can you provide me with a few more details on what happened so that we can try and address the issue?

    When you were ordering a model, which Step did you make it to? Were you able to upload a photo? Were you able to crop? Were you able to click the "Order on Shapeways" button?
    What browser were you using?

    Thanks in Advance,
  7. seriaforma
    seriaforma Well-Known Member
    Very nice! Loved reading the story of its development as well.