TUTORIAL: How to print Lithophane on 3d printer

Introduction: "This article is writen by OLIER Fabrice, we have found that he had some amazing lithophane printed on Sovol SV02 and add a LED light on the gantry, the lithophane is very clear under the light, that is pretty cool, therefore, we invited him to write a tutorial and upload it on our website as some 3d printer users are interested about how to turn a picture to lithophane with their 3d printer. "
“If you prefer to read it in French, you can download the article from here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Q_ELAENBDwjREjbACNXsgGHsTVzAc9ql/view?usp=sharing”

1.What’s a LITHOPHANE ? (Wikipedia extract)

A lithophane is a work engraved or cast in very fine and translucent porcelain that can only be seen clearly when backlit by a source of light. This is a representation or an intaglio scene that appears in grisaille (grayscale).
A lithophane presents a three-dimensional image - completely different from two-dimensional engravings and daguerreotypes which are "flat". Images change their characteristics depending on the light source behind them. Scenes on a lithophane panel attached to a window change throughout the day, depending on the amount of sunlight. The variable light source is what makes lithophanies more interesting to the viewer than two-dimensional images.

                        Illustration 1 : Example of black and white lithophan


2.Let’s prepare the LITHOPHANE

To start, you’ll need a photo, preferably in high resolution and not too pixelated. In case of resolution will not be optimal, then the lithophane will have a smaller dimension and you will have to find another support than the one I propose in paragraph 4.

Let's go ! Let's go to the site http://3dp.rocks/lithophane/ in order to realize the lithophane.

Now let's import the photo that will be your lithophane: Images (1) > Parcourir/Browse (2)

Then choose from the window that opens the desired photo for the lithophane.

Once the photo is selected, click on button OPEN (3)

Photo will then load and you’ll return to the MODEL tab, but this time with your lithophane displayed on the 3D construction plan :

If you don’t want use my support or my 3drocks settings, click directly on DOWNLOAD and go to paragraph 3. Note that the proposed support in STL is only compatible with the following settings.

Always on MODEL tab, choose the option OUTER CURVE, so that your lithophane is curved, then click on the REFRESH button to refresh the view.

We are now going to configure our LITHOPHANE.

Now click on the upper right SETTINGS tab and then the Model Settings sub-menu. Enter the parameters below identically:

Now click on the upper right SETTINGS tab and then the Image Settings sub-menu. Enter the parameters below identically :

Our LITHOPHANE is now ready to be exported and then loaded on cura (or other slicer).

To export it, click on the second upper MODEL tab to return to the overview of your lithophane:

Click the REFRESH button a last time to refresh the last parameters that we put on 3dRocks.

Now click on the DOWNLOAD button to download the STL file of your lithophane then choose the folder in which you want to save it on your computer.

3.Let’s print the LITHOPHANE

Open Cura slicer (This tutorial was realized on 4.7.1 version)


In order to print the lithophane with the optimal parameters, I invite you to download the following profile that I made. Do not modify the BED temperature (60 ° C) or the printing temperature (unless you have a specific PLA : in this case adjust).

Important: Do not use low quality PLA, your lithophane. Bad PLA will affect the quality of the LITHOPHANE. For my part I use GEEETECH new PLA white.

The only settings to change depending on your machine are those in the illustration on the right. Depending on whether you are direct drive or not, you will need to adapt them to your printing habit.

Cura profile download links:

SOVOL SV02 : https://drive.google.com/file/d/13LQSDpw-WBC7yxnOyGwhSFfW0EB7wZGW/view?usp=sharing

Ender 3-Pro : https://drive.google.com/file/d/14QV-NvI2jI4rKlpV-BcuPJkdhUjPZhol/view?usp=sharing


How to import a Cura profile ?

  1. In cura, click on the before last upper tab of the software "preferences" then the "Configure Cura ..." submenu. A preference window will then open.
  2. On the left menu, click on « Profiles »
  3. Now click on « Import » button. Find on tyour computer the profile that you downloaded on previous paragraph, then click on « Open ».
  4. A confirmation message will appear like « Successfully imported profile Cura v2020.06.28 – Litophanie » (for ender 3) or « Successfully imported profile SOVOL SV02 - Litophanie (OK) »  (for SV02)
  5. Profile is now uploaded. You can close the preference windows that we open on step 1.

On Cura, select now the profile for the Lithophane that you imported previously.

Now it’s time to import the LITHOPHANE created on paragraphe 2.

Note:that loading the STL file takes from a few seconds to a few minutes depending on the lithophane created.

In order to avoid destabilizing the lithophane, it must be rotated 90 ° on the Z axis:

Check that dimensions of the lithophane in X and Y are as follows:

X = 22.3597 mm

Y = 196.7515 mm

Z dimension is in function of your photo.

Now slice the file by clicking on SLICE button.

Note that slicing takes from a few seconds to a few minutes depending on the lithophane created.

Have a nice print ^

4.Let’s print the support for LITHOPHANE

Open Cura slicer (This tutorial was realized on 4.7.1 version)

Support download links:


The support proposed in download is only functional if you have followed the tutorial and the printed lithophane measures "X = 22.3597 mm" and "Y = 196.7515 mm". If this is not the case, then you will need to create your own support or modify the front part of it.


LITHOPHANE Support requiere supports.

I suggest my settings below, after which you are free to do as you see fit .

Thanks for reading, and thanks Fabrice for the informative article! 


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