3d printing lithophanes

Has anyone successfully printed lithophanes? My prints turn to spaghetti a couple inches off the bed. Do I need to change my speed settings? If so what do you recommend?

I’ve done a few. I seem to recall that you want a solid fill. Beyond that, I don’t think I did anything special.

Without backlight:

With backlight:

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I have solid infill with 1.5mm layer height and this is my 2nd attempt. I think I need to change my speed. Should I change my infill and solid infill speed from 200 to 35, or do I need to change other speed settings also?

100% infill would certainly be necessary to make it look right, but I don’t think it should affect whether or not it fails.

Wait, your layer height is 1.5mm? How big is your nozzle? 1.5mm layer height is HUGE.

I’m going to assume that layer height was a typo and you meant 0.15mm since slic3r doesn’t allow you to use a layer height larger than the nozzle size, and I doubt you are using a 1.5mm+ nozzle.

Does it fail at the same spot each time? Does it stay attached to the bed? What does the preview in slic3r look like?

Oops, I meant .15mm, my bad

Here are 2 attempts printed at separate times.

On another forum someone recommended that I rotate it 90 degrees and print with a brim, so this is my current preview that I have not tried yet.

Do I want to change my autospeed “max print speed” and “max volumetric speed” settings?

Maybe. Depends on what the cause of the issue is. It can be hard to tell after the fact. If you can run it again and keep an eye on it or record it while it prints it could help figure out exactly what is happening.

In every case the spaghetti comes when the filament is extruded but doesn’t stick to your part, and instead spews into the air. There are a number of underlying issues that can cause this. Maybe a part of the printer is loose and shifts during the print, causing the nozzle to no longer line up with the object. Maybe a motor misses some steps (this can be caused by printing too fast) which results in printing in the wrong place (though if you have the missed step detection enabled this isn’t too likely). Maybe the filament stops extruding properly causing a gap in the print, then when it starts working again it’s too far away to stick (the filament sensor in this printer should usually prevent this, but may not be enabled).

There are a lot of things that can happen. When people encounter issues they generally want to skip straight from symptom to cure without diagnosing the actual problem. This can lead to a quick fix if you guess right, or lots of wasted time trying to haphazardly apply fixes that may not be relevant. I highly recommend trying to figure out what is actually happening before trying to change settings.

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Well I added a 10mm brim and brought the infill speed down to 35mm/s and travel down to to 150, so well see how this next one goes.

Slowing it down helped a bit, but it started pulling off the bed on one side around this point, which made the print look goofy after about 10 layers, so I canceled it. I guess I’ll try lowering the travel even more, unless someone has another suggestion?

If you’ve got a 10mm brim that’s pulling up as you print higher, it seems you might be having problems with adhesion to the bed. I’m far from an expert, but I’d think it would require either doing something so it sticks better (painter’s tape, perhaps) or you’re going to need even more brim. The broader the brim, the better it should stick. What printer is it? Heated bed, I assume. Does it have a mat, or glass, or what? What’s the temperature of the bed set at?

Prusa mk3. I’ll wipe the bed down with acetone and see of that helps.

It would be illuminating to see if the job would run on one of the other printers, too. I’ve printed them on both the Ultimaker and the Rostock in the past, both with good results.

No idea what’s going on here

These look so cool. I didn’t know this was possible.

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Yep. They can also be milled from things like Corian® countertop material. There’s a sample back in the ERP lab. On top of the Fireball, I think.

@jwithers, how did you generate the gcode for your lithophane? Was it at

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Yes. I printed this one flat on the bed.

Once I master this, I’ll be teaching it for no more than $10/ member in the classroom.


Just putting in my 2 cents. With lithophanes, I position model perpendicular to x axis, use 9999 top layers, 0 bottom layers, 0% infill, slow to 33 mm/s. Also print vertically with a wide brim.

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