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New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:46 am
by Tailmaker
So, I wanted to see if I can machine a Lithophane. Problem was I did not have the recommended Corian sheet or similar translucent acrylic. Well, and I do not have PhotoVcarve either.
Here is a method that provided a pretty reasonable result (not sure if that is a newish idea or already known):

I used this image of my toy car to start:
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Imported into the Windows 3D-Builder (comes with Windows10), and converted into an .stl file as height map with highest color resolution and medium high pixel resolution:
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Imported the .stl into VcarvePro as model and created roughing tool path (0.125" dia EM) and finishing tool path (0.05" dia ball end):
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Then started cutting on my machine (roughing about 12 minutes and finishing about 55 minutes for an 8x3" result. This is clear extruded 0.22" thick acrylic and I broke 2 bits before I got the feed and stepover right in this sticky melting material. I did use a pretty hefty compressed air stream (from the aluminum tube in the picture) to clear the swarf and cool the bit.
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To be continued...

Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:57 am
by Tailmaker
Not a bad cutting result, here with light from above. Other than normal lithophanes, the dark areas are machined deeper and the light ones less deep.
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Then I mixed epoxy resin with grey pigment. The only stuff I had at hand was a jar of rottenstone abrasive powder and I used a tablespoon for 5 ounces of resin. It took some 5 minutes of stirring to dissolve the clumps and have an evenly pigmented resin. I then poured the resin onto the cut acrylic plate so that the entire area was covered and let it set overnight. The screws are under the corners to adjust the leveling of the plate. Although no light from below, the image is already a little visible.
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Holding it into the sun makes the image pop out quite nicely. So I guess that was a successful experiment. Still need to trim and frame it somehow.
One could think of different color pigments or dyes to create a combination effect of stained glass and lithophane. Maybe I keep experimenting a little.
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Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 7:11 am
by dhellew2
Innovative and a great job, adding to the bucket of ideas for more creativity. Dale

Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 7:29 am
by Xxray
Nice job, would probably be alot easier for most folks just to get some corian, but nice example of working with what you have, I like it.

Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:27 am
by Adrian
That's basically the way it's done in Aspire (converting a photo into a height map) but obviously you can't do it that way in VCarve so this is a really nice work around with software that a lot of people have already.

To do it as a conventional lithopane with corian you would set the combine mode of the component created from the STL to subtract.

Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:37 am
by scottp55
Obviously I need to Play with Builder more G. :)
NICE work around with materials available!!
scott

Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:33 am
by Tailmaker
Xxray wrote:Nice job, would probably be alot easier for most folks just to get some corian.....


That is true, but Corian is a bit hard to find. I know you can buy sample packs for some money but otherwise I suspect individuals depend on installer scrap pieces.

My motivation to try a new method was anyway more to prove it can be done...I believe it would look even better with a white pigment for a monochrome. But the real opportunity is probably some multi-color lithophane (cut-cast, recut-cast another color etc.). Not sure what could be done with that (I am not an artist) and there is a risk it may look tacky, though.

Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:43 am
by Xxray
Nothing ever risked, not much ever gained.

Corian can indeed be a major pain to obtain, but is usually a mouse click and a few days away on ebay if all one wants to do with it is lithos. I have a nice stockpile of it and am always looking for more, and thats the key - Get it before you need it. I've been making various things with it as well, including pistol grips and textured hearts.

But by all means, continue with your experiments, looks promising.

Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:49 pm
by zeeway
Kudos on the lithophane. Now about the cool car...did you build the 7 or buy it already built?

Angie

Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:02 pm
by Xxray
BTW, I long ago experimented with colored lithos via multicolor LEDS, they look kinda strange and generally not something I would repeat unless requested - Matter of opinion of course but by design, they look the best with natural/white light.

Unique yes, different of course, the question that would come to my mind seeing a colored litho like this would be "Why" ? Now of course, if you were specifically thinking of making a stained glass pattern litho, that would be different, and there are intricate, colored lithos out there that are breathtaking masterpieces. But just using a generic keepsake picture makes no sense to me, and is probably not something many paying customers would want.

Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:24 am
by Tailmaker
zeeway wrote:... Now about the cool car...did you build the 7 or buy it already built?

Angie


Yes and yes. I bought the car lightly used a long time ago, but after major upgrades, engine and transmission swap and two rear-ender accidents I guess I can claim I built it twice.

Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:54 pm
by Xxray
Here is what can happen if you keep your eyes open on craigslist - A motherload of corian I picked up today, probably over $1k worth, for less than $100.

Granted, most are not suitable for lithos [the 2 white sheets sure are], but like I said, you can do lots of things with corian, almost anything you can do with wood in fact.

Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:56 am
by Tailmaker
One last picture...

I trimmed the lithophane to size and set it in a frame. As a fun effect I let a few of the car 3d models run around the frame as a racetrack.

I also noticed this technique produces a somewhat different appearance from a regular lithophane almost like an old style black and white film slide. Maybe that is because the pigment does not stay fully suspended in the resin but mostly settles down onto the carved acrylic before the epoxy hardens. It is quite nice that the transparency can be adjusted with the amount of pigment.

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Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:25 am
by Xxray
Impressive piece of work, always nice to have variety of techniques and the most important thing, detail, is not lacking either.

Re: New (?) way of making a Lithophane?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 1:07 pm
by scottp55
NICE touch Tailmaker! :)
scott