Fri 28 November 2014 by Dr. Dirk Colbry


I saw my first 3D printer when I was visiting the University of Notre Dame. It was over 10 years ago, it was fairly expensive to operate and it printed in a kind of expensive wax.

Anyway, this was the first time I saw a lithophane. It was a picture of Marilyn Monroe that just popped out if you held it so up to a light so that it is backlit. It was just so cool that I really wanted to make some Lithophanes when I got my 3D printer.

Once I finally found some time I did some research and there were a few programs on the web which would make lithophanes for me.

I tried a few but nothing excited me so I just wrote one myself. I am very pleased with the results:

If you just want a lithophane, we added them to my wife's etsy store:

If you already have a printer I am happy to send you the MATLAB code to generate these for yourself. However, I must warn you that it is not very robust and I am reluctant to post it until I can add a bunch of error checking and a little better user interface. It's also written in MATLAB, ideally I would like to change to something like Python but I am just quicker working with MATLAB.

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