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Customizable Lithopane

by MakerBot, published

Customizable Lithopane by MakerBot Apr 16, 2013

Featured Thing!

Description

Click "Open in Customizer" to turn the image of your choice into a Lithopane! We used the Mona Lisa, but you could use any photo you want. The Lithopane tool generates a 3D model that looks like a rough terrain map.

Download the file, print it on your MakerBot Desktop 3D Printer, and you've got a picture perfect pane to hang on your window.

Three cheers for the lithopane pioneers on Thingiverse, such as cymon and pp3dpNL! For more information on this old art form, check out the Wikipedia article here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithophane

Recent Comments

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Any ideas for a good picture to use with it?
It now times out for me every time, so I need to buy some proper Lithopane software...
it did'nt work for me either until i switched my browser from explorer 9 to google chrome

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Instructions

Upload an image, check the invert colors checkbox and create a Lithopane. For best results, upload a square image and print using a light colored plastic at 0.2 mm layer height and 1 shell.

Once printed, hang your picture in a window.
Any ideas for a good picture to use with it?
It now times out for me every time, so I need to buy some proper Lithopane software...
Works great. Thanks.
hi all how can i make it work offline can any one help me on that i tried that
Customizer dose not work for me why not?
it did'nt work for me either until i switched my browser from explorer 9 to google chrome
Worked well thanks.
HOW to you make the pictures to appear darker. I have tried a few pics and they are all coming up pretty light. Any suggestions?
I normally use 'the gimp' to increase the brightness of the background and lower the contrast, so stay 'lighter' and the foreground stay 'darker'. I think that you can increase the number of layers or the layer height to make the result darker.
this worked great and was easy enough to do...thank you! i was a little unsure of how to at first but once i realized i needed to log in and goto your page and then click on "Open in Customizer" then go to my pic file......it became a piece of cake :) very cool!
#<errno::enoent: -="" directory="" file="" getcwd="" no="" or="" such="">

Every time I try generate a new litho I get this error. Whats going on</errno::enoent:>
Hello, Can You make is ajustable in terms of size and proportions?
Works for me. Is your .dat file in the same directory (but I would expect an error msg). Try a # in front of surface()??
A little bit more banging my head at it made me realize that I was not effectively changing the file extension. I have windows 7, which hides extensions, so my file was really named "image-surface.dat.txt" Once I scrubbed the extension it worked. Thanks for helping a n00b though.
What version of OpenSCAd are you one? I tried what you did (.txt) and got a warning msg in the console "can't open .DAT file ..."
I am using 2013.06. It was weird, I got that message the first time i tried to render it, but if i pressed F5 again it went away, so I wasn't sure what was going on.
Yeh, looks like a bug with the file caching, I'll log an issue.
This is a great thing to print, I have made a lamp to show them off if any one is interested it at thingiverse.com/thing:119984
Sorry if I missed it, but having scanned the docs I have a question, is this application looking at the full range of pixels in the image and normalizing across the available range of 0 to 1? For example, if an image only has greys from black to mid point, will it still get a full range of 0 to 1, or only 0 to 0.5

"The Z axis will be between 0 and 1 based on a 256 color grayscale range"

Looking to understand if it is worth pre-processing images for a full range of grey before submitting to the app.

Thanks.
Couldn't do it. From Firefox, entered "customize", uploaded a .bmp image of me mom, checked "email me when done". Never got an email. Never saw any response that anything was happening. What'd I do wrong?
Automatically posting everybody's Lithophane as a new "Thing" makes it extremely difficult to see if anyone's actually made a revised, actually new Thing based off this design. It's so difficult to navigate Thingiverse as it is, I think you guys are really opening the floodgates here.

Yes, you can disable Publishing as a new Thing, but it's set to Publish by default and I suspect the majority of folks don't notice or think about it. I'd like to see that feature disabled by default.
If you don't want that hole at the top, setting it to 0 still leaves a ball. Set the hole size to -5 (negative 5) and it'll remove the loop as well.
the "choose file" button wont work with opera!!
I made one in four parts and glued it together so It could be big, but I used the other one with no border/hanger
That is the GAYEST thing I have ever seen, I guess when I meet you it will be matched :P
I doubt whether 0.02mm layer thicnkess will do the job.
I made all mine at 0.2 and all come out good
Checkout all the photos in the remix and Made. Worked for me.
Yes indeed. Looks good indeed. 0.2mm, really that thick? Got to give it try soon! Great idea.
I was just thinking last week on doing this, thanks for uploading it!
I have to admit, I was skeptical about this print but it is truly fantastic. I printed the Mona Lisa and it did not look impressive until I put it in the window. WOW, Very Nice Job.
That's lithophane, not lithopane.
I like it s "pane". reminds me of window pane.
could you make one without the frame, I would like to make one broken into multiple pieces and then assembled, like a 1:1 Mona Lisa :)
See thingiverse.com/thing:78719 options to get rid of hanger and border.
I built a cnc router with the intent of making lithophanes. I still haven't had much luck with it for that purpose but this is great. 3D Printing rocks. Thanks guys.
A point of UI. Shouldn't the default action be for the SCAD file to treat the dat in reverse so that dark is dark. I shouldn't have to check invert the colors to get them to come out correct.
this would be a cool way to make a quick 3D logo on something. i'm gonna try this
It would be great if the loop on top was optional.
You can set the hole size to 0 but there is still a tiny bump.
It would be easiest to totally remove the tab when hole size = 0.
It would be great if the loop on top was optional.
You can set the hole size to 0 but there is still a tiny bump.
It would be easiest to totally remove the tab when hole size = 0.
You can set the hole size to -5 (negative 5) and it'll remove the loop as well!
Fantastic. Prints printed into puzzles are my next prints! Andrew (http://3dhacker.com)
"Choose file" is not working for me with Safari on osX 10.6.8
Same thing here, Safari 5.1.9, os 10.6.8.
I got to use Firefox.
What happens exactly? It is working for me in Safari 6.0.2 in OSX 10.7.5.
A click on "Choose file" button does nothing.
Safari without extensions, last update available for 10.6.8
I found the problem, unfortunately Safari < 6.0 does not support the HTML5 features it uses. Since Safari 6.0 and and Firefox and Chrome have supported it for a while, fixing it for Safari 5.1 might be pretty low priority for now.
So is there a Safari fix for this, or should I download Firefox? Thanks for your help.
So is there a Safari fix for this, or should I download Firefox? Thanks for your help.
Yeah for now, use firefox or chrome.
I'd love to use this new image uploading feature in a customized Thing of my own, but I can't get the SCAD file to work on my desktop. When I download the attached SCAD file and update the image_file variable to point to a local image, I get nothing. Sometimes I get an odd fragment in the center of the lithoplane. When I upload that same image to through the customizer app online, it works.

Any tips on getting the surface function to work with images offline (i.e. on the desktop)?
I've added a tool to help generate .dat file contents so you can test your script with some image data offline: customizer.makerbot.com/image_surface Also see the new docs at: customizer.makerbot.com/docs#image_surface
Doing my own digging I've found the answer. You'll need to instal GIMP and then use this plugin: thingiverse.com/thing:35373
Load a pic into GIMP, desaturate, export as .DAT file. Remember keep the image's dimensions small or openSCAD will collapse like a wet taco.
Yeah, Customizer will only allow up to 150x150, anything over that and OpenSCAD will start to overload.
Doing my own digging I've found the answer. You'll need to instal GIMP and then use this plugin: thingiverse.com/thing:35373
Load a pic into GIMP, desaturate, export as .DAT file. Remember keep the image's dimensions small or openSCAD will collapse like a wet taco.
I'm working on some documentation today... basically it is using the surface function in openscad, which means you need a .dat file, not an image file. Creating the .dat from an image is not something openscad can do on it's own. I'll be making a page in the customizer docs that you'll be able to use to build a .dat so you can test scripts offline.
Does that mean that the Thingiverse servers are automatically converting uploaded image files to DAT files? Or has the surface function used by the Customizer app been rewritten a little bit?

When I upload my script to an unpublished Thing, it works fine, just not locally. I've been able to do my testing that way, but now I'm just curious :)
Yeah Customizer is converting the image into a .dat and then feeding that into OpenSCAD.
In the description Lithopane s/b lithopHane.

Thanks for the shout out. I'm excited the customizer can take external files now. Opens up some real possibilities.
What is the system behind "image_surface"?
Is there a way to use the openSCAD offline? Say, at a Faire or a Con?
Yes. It's called "OpenSCAD." It was a program before it was a web app.
I can't tell if you are trying to be funny or mean. I'm referring to the system MBI is using to turn jpgs into dat files compatible with the openSCAD surface() method. But in either case "thanks" for your "help" :-)
Ignoring the other post, I'll point out that the answer is to use GIMP (for example) to convert the image to a DAT file, which OpenSCAD's Surface function can use as input.
I made a lithophane lamp by combining 4 lithophanes and connecting them in Sketchup, I just uploaded it:

thingiverse.com/thing:75229
Been trying to get various other packages to work well for ages, thanks for doing this, must give is a try later :) Very nice work Makerbot!
Tip/suggestion : Isn't it the normal thing to print these vertically maybe requiring a brim feature on the thin base to take better advantage of the XY resolution instead of the Z layer height?
Instead of repeating myself I'll just link to my blog: joesmakerbot.blogspot.com/2013/01/figuring-out-lithopanes.html
Sometimes printing vertically works well, sometimes not. Definitely worth testing more.
That's what I always do. Vertical printing is a challenge but the pictures look much better.
cymon - in reply to 3DWP
In my experience it actually looks worse, ABS cracking aside. I can't explain why but laying them down works great. Just be sure to print 100% infill and get your layers as thin as you reasonably can. (I do 0.15mm)
ABS cracking is usually due to printing at too low of a temperature
And lithophanes look even more amazing from a DLP printer (mine can print even at 0.0125 mm layers, amazing details) or when milled. Only milling takes a lot longer than a 3D printer.
Three cheers for me :-) I've never been called a pioneer, I like it. But aren't we all pioneers around here with our 3D printers?

But even people that are used to 3D printers are amazed by these lithophanes when they hold them in the light.
3d printer prints a image.. who needs a paper printer anymore ;)
Love that you guys rolled this out! Awesome, insanely useful customizer! Time to start playing with it....
This is awesome. I love that you added the ability to upload an image as a surface file to Customizer.

To save people time, here's the code:

// Load a 100x100 pixel image.(images will be stretched to fit) Simple photos work best. Don't forget to click the Invert Colors checkbox!

image_file = "image-surface.dat"; // [image_surface:100x100]

It loads as a surface file, allowing you to use the Surface function in OpenSCAD to take a matrix of values and generate a surface with those heights. Perfect for lithopanes!
This is awesome. I love that you added the ability to upload an image as a surface file to Customizer.

To save people time, here's the code:

// Load a 100x100 pixel image.(images will be stretched to fit) Simple photos work best. Don't forget to click the Invert Colors checkbox!

image_file = "image-surface.dat"; // [image_surface:100x100]

It loads as a surface file, allowing you to use the Surface function in OpenSCAD to take a matrix of values and generate a surface with those heights. Perfect for lithopanes!
fyi, docs are updated at customizer.makerbot.com/docs#image_surface

Bonus: Also made an image_array widget.

And online tool to generate .dat file contents for testing: customizer.makerbot.com/image_surface
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