We 3D printed a giant lithophane photo of the Mandalorian
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of 3D printing here at DIYP. Whether it’s printing practical material that we’ll be using all the time, working tools for work, or making the cameras themselves, 3D printing is a lot of fun and has made a huge contribution to the life of the company. DIYP team. And speaking of big, big, that’s where we’re going this time.
We have already explained how to 3D print lithophanes here. It is a way of creating a shape that produces an image when you project light behind it. The thinner parts are lighter and the thicker parts are darker, producing the contrast you need to see the image. Well, when Tronxy asked if we would like to try their Tronxy XY-3 SE 3D printer, we knew we had to make a giant lithophane.
Yes, technically it looks more like a movie poster than a real photograph, but the principle of a lithophane is still the same. An object is printed with varying thicknesses so that when a light shines behind it, the thinner parts are brighter and the thicker parts are darker to create contrast and allow you to see an image hidden in its bumpy surface.
This time around, we decided to use a site called ItsLitho to convert the flat 2D image to 3D STL files (3D models, basically) instead of the 3dp.rocks web app from our previous lithophans article. We also had to tweak the files ItsLitho gave us a bit to add support columns to make the prints more reliable and consistent and ready to go.
Printing a lithophane of this size, even when it is made up of many small pieces, is not without its challenges. For starters, each of these rooms is quite large. They are all very tall and very thin which can cause them to collapse under their own weight when printing (which has happened), accidentally running out of the brand of filament you started with, and having to switch to another with only a little bit to print (also happened), and then there’s also the question of how to tie them together once they’re all done.
These aren’t the only challenges either, as you’ll see in the video, but if you can overcome them, they all come together to produce a pretty impressive end result. And as for the printer … Well, he did his job pretty well.