My First Lithopane

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Peter Stenabaugh
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Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:26 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada

My First Lithopane

Post by Peter Stenabaugh »

Here is a photo of my first Lithopane. This was done using PhotoVcarve and Aspire. I would have used just Aspire but I didnt have the original image any longer, as this has been a back burner project for about 5 years now. This is a birthday gift for my account's surprise 70th. He really likes handmade stuff from me, so this will go over really well next Saturday. He purchases this expensive RV a few years back but my previous 2 attempts to cut this all failed for one reason or another so frustrated, I just left it alone until now. With his upcoming birthday it seemed like a good reason to revisit the project, but I didn't have a cnc router at the time, only my cnc mill but that didn't work out.

The specifics on this:

12mm Arctic White Corian (.473") - I pocketed the engraving area .223" to leave 1/4" for the Lithopane. I then used a 60 degree 'V' bit with a .200" flat on it to cut a sloped border area. Inside that I used a 1/4" ball nose to machine a shallow groove that was just a bit deeper the roughed out portion of the Litho. I did this because the preview in Aspire showed that I would have a rough edge left from the roughing process and I wanted a clean edge so that allowed the finishing cutter to extend over into a clear area. This could have been cut last as well.

I also used the 1/4" ball nose for roughing with a step over of 40%. The final engraving process was done with a long tapered ball nose engraving cutter with a nose radius of 0.75mm (0.0295"). Cutter speed was 18,000 with a feed of 30 ipm. The Litho was set up so that the remaining material after the finish cut was 0.040". The roughing cut was done at about 0.060" min thickness, leaving me about about 0.020" for cleanup with the final cut.

The Letters and the Notes were Vcarved with a 60 degree Vbit. The painting process was easy... mask off as much as you can using GOOD painters tape. 3 LIGHT coats of cheap spray paint, let it dry a couple days so it cures. Next up - scrape the surface with a SHARP scraper. I bought a brand new 3" stiff putty knife at the home centre. I then ground the edge square and sharp on my belt sander, making sure to keep the cutting edge straight. I also rounded the corners so it wouldnt dig in and make deep scratches. Once that was done I then mounted the scraper in my bench vise and further sharpened (squared) the edge with a fine stone. the steel is too hard for a file. Make sure to keep the cutting edge square to the rest of the blade - same idea as a wood working scraper. Use the stone to remove any burrs. Now you can slowly and carefully use the scraper to remove the unwanted paint.

If you need to do an super fine finishing, use some wet/dry sandpaper with a bit of water and dish soap for lubricant. Put the sandpaper on a piece of granite or glass and polish the corian face down to keep it flat and remove any remaining scratches and paint. I managed to get by with just the scraper.

My next project will be to do another Lithopane but with CLEAR Lexan. I have a nice photo of the head of a Black Lab so I'll just engrave the image and then the plan is to edge light the panel with an led strip...... that's for next week.

Peter Stenabaugh
Finally - after 6 years.....
Finally - after 6 years.....

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Re: My First Lithopane

Post by Makingtoothpicks »

Very nice work.


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Re: My First Lithopane

Post by Xxray »

Looks nice.
Post back with the clear acrylic results, not many have any luck trying lithos with that.

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Re: My First Lithopane

Post by mtylerfl »

That came out great, Peter! I am very anxious to see your next project - the lithophane done on clear material with the edge lighting. Got my fingers crossed for you!
Michael Tyler

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