Has anyone worked with lithophanes? Which are the best programs to use? The obvious significant setting in slicer, is Layer height. What about other settings? And also which material is most suitable for lithophane 3d printing?
I'm not sure about the best program to use, but there are a few free options online. I ended up using this one the most.
Layer thickness is going to define the "resolution" of the print. I made mine on both stereolithography (.003" layers), and a Polyjet printer (.0006" layers). The Polyjet is better, but from a viewing distance of of 2-3 or more the difference is really not that noticeable.
Another factor you pointed out is material. It needs to be translucent. An opaque material is not going to allow enough light to pass. Transparent materials don't diffuse the light. It can take 1-2 sample prints just to get a good idea of what thickness range is good for a given material. From the Polyjet I use Vero White.
UV stability must be considered. Vero White is amazing in sunlight. I've had the above skull in my window for years and there is no trace of it yellowing. The stereolithography materials would be yellow/orange by now.
Thermal properties are another factor. Vero White is pretty bad with heat resistance. Warm it up a little and it will sag. For best results I'd place the print in a frame to support it.
It adds some complexity, but you could also print or machine a pattern for the lithopane, create a simple open faced mold, then cast duplicates in a suitable material.
These make great gifts. I'd "borrow" photos off of peoples desks in the office, then make a lithopane for Christmas time.
Cura will do lithophanes if you import a picture rather than an stl
I did a few about a year ago. I just used white pla, set my layers to 0.2 and set it up for 6.4mm tall which was 32 total layers,
If you take your picture, make it grayscale, and then configure it for 32 shades of gray, black to white It comes out pretty nice. You just have to watch if you get the final print warm afterwards, as they curl pretty badly.
I did as was stated earlier, ans made a silicone mold and then cast a copy in white resin.