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Incredible Lithophanes Wow Crowds at 3D Print Week

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lulzlithophaneaniCreative Manager for Aleph Object (makers of LulzBot printers), Ben Malouf, unveiled some of his own amazing 3D printed art pieces last month at 3D Print Week New York.

Using the process known as lithophane for creating three-dimensional images you can only see when backlit, Malouf created portraits of actor Gary Busey, President Obama, the Mona Lisa, an octopus, and more. He’s even created a lithophane of the LulzBot printer he uses to create his lithophanes on.

As Malouf told 3DPrint.com:

“I had been messing around with printing Glow-in-the-Dark PLA lithophanes, making the light areas of an image thicker so that they would glow more brightly,” Malouf told 3DPrint.com. “I decided to see what the model would look like if I made it ten times thicker than usual — 40mm instead of 4mm. It didn’t look easily printable. The model actually looked like some kind of mythical miniature mountain range. I tried printing it anyway and was really happy with the results.”

One of the surprising effects of these deep-printed lithophanes is how startling it is to move around one and see it twist and morph dramatically until you find the sweet spot where the image fully reveals itself. As the 3D Print article points out, you can experiment with 3D printing your own lithophanes using the browser-based Image to Lithophane program.

”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSeaoKMpsj4′

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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