Featured image of Weekend Project: Brighten Memories with the 3D Printed Lithophane Lamp
Bright and Shiny Memories

Weekend Project: Brighten Memories with the 3D Printed Lithophane Lamp

Picture of Tyler Koslow
by Tyler Koslow
Mar 23, 2018

Maker and YouTuber MakewithRex shows us how to create a 3D printed lithophane lamp. By following his instructions, you can turn your favorite photos into a lantern of memories. 

3D printing is a magnificent tool for making physical objects, whether it be for prototypes or functional projects. But many makers have recently started using the technology to create something much more transcendent and long-lasting; a little thing called memories.

Over the last year or so, lithophanes have become a popular form of art throughout the 3D printing community. Apps like CreateLitho and 3DP.rocks have made it effortless to take photos and transform them into three dimensional etches. These 3D printed lithophanes make for fantastic gifts or household decorations, and with a bit of light, they usually look fantastically detailed.

One Indian maker named Prajjwal (known on YouTube as MakerwithRex) has taken this 3D printing trend to the next level, taking the idea of the lithophane and transforming it into a customizable 3D printed lamp.

The maker recently shared the step-by-step process on how to build your own Lithophane Lamp on Instructables. With this project, you can shine a light onto your fondest family moments or favorite superhero. It also makes for the most personalized gift imaginable, warming the heart and lighting up the room.

Here’s everything you need to know in order to undertake the Lithophane Lamp project.

3D Printed Lithophane Lamp: What Do You Need?

As you might have assumed by now, you’re going to need a 3D printer to start the Lithophane Lamp project. Prajjwal also recommends using White PLA (for the lithophane) and Black PLA (for the stand). The STL files for the frame of the lamp are available via Thingiverse.  There are also a handful of electronic components and tools on the bucket list.

Here’s what else you’ll need:

3D Printed Lithophane Lamp: Putting it All Together

The first step to creating your own 3D printed Lithophane Lamp is, as you might expect, making a lithophane. Prajjwal recommends using 3DP.rocks, which is an easy-to-use website that converts any image into a 3D lithophane. Keep in mind that the 3D printed lamp has four sides, which means you can create a quartet of brightened 3D photos for the project.

You need to change the image from negative to positive, and also make the dimensions 65 x 65 x 3 mm to fit the lamp. The maker states that he 3D printed the lithophane models with a 0.2 mm layer height.

On his Instructables post, Prajjwal also shows how he designed the 3D printed holder on Autodesk Fusion 360. If you’re interested in learning more about 3D design, you can follow his steps and recreate your own holder. Otherwise, you can just download and 3D print the one he provides on Thingiverse.

To mount the LED, you’ll tin the wire and solder it to the LED strip. Prajjwal explains that he wound the LED strip on the cylinder as closely as possible. Then, push the wire out through the DC jack hole and solder it to the female DC jack. The hole is designed to fit the jack snugly, so just push it inside once the soldering is complete.

Since the LED light gave off a harsh light, the maker and YouTuber also designed and 3D printed a diffuser to mellow out the lighting. To do so, he took the sketch of the holder and added an outer shell.

Finally, it’s time to assemble your Lithophane Lamp. Insert the 3D printed lithophane frames into the holder and upper fixture. Add the diffuser, plug it in, and watch as your photos come to life.

Interested in learning more about the Lithophane Lamp? Check out the full details on Prajjwal’s Instructables post.

License: The text of "Weekend Project: Brighten Memories with the 3D Printed Lithophane Lamp" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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