Creating a lithophane or 3D Printed photo is actually a very cool little project. I have seen them around and decided to give it a shot myself and gift some of these to family. 3D Printing your photos can be accomplished in 5 easy steps. First you will need a digital image you want to print and some translucent filament (white PLA works really well).
Head over to http://3dp.rocks/lithophane/ to get started.
Step 1: Upload Your Photo
Start by clicking on the Images tab and uploading your image. Keep in mind different pictures will yield different results – its best to choose an image with high contrast. Once you have uploaded the image, head back to the Model tab and refresh to see your image converted to the 3D model.
Step 2: Choose the Lithophane Shape
Next you will want to choose the shape to print the image onto, I found the outer curve shape to work really well. Once selected, click refresh.
Step 3: Adjust Image / Model Settings
Click on settings to adjust image and model settings. I simply converted the default settings from Negative Image over to Positive Image and added a border, but feel free to experiment here.
Step 4: Refresh and Download STL
Head back to the model tab and refresh one last time to review your model before downloading.
Step 5: Slice and Print
Import your STL file into your slicer of choice and I recommend printing with the following settings:
Layer Height: 0.1mm
Print Speed: 20-30 mm/s
The print ends up looking somewhat like a very bad print of the image but when you put it up to a light source its truly remarkable how much detail is captured. I was blown away by this photo of my daughter even though the shadow in this picture was not ideal.