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Balloon Lithophanes with LuBan

Taking the Stencil Lithophane a step further, LuBan can create a Balloon Lithophane!

If you do not have LuBan yet, click here to download it.

Balloon Lithophane generated in LuBan
Balloon Lithophane

Balloon Lithophane

The Balloon feature in LuBan takes your template image and makes it a

3-dimensional object, instead of a flat lithophane like you have seen so far. The Balloon Lithophane is two-sided, so you can choose one photo and it will be on both sides, or you can upload two photos to have something different on each side.

Balloon Template

In this example, I used an image of a football I found and made the inside all white and everything else black using gimp. The cleaner the edges, the cleaner it will be on the finished Lithophane. As you can see in my example below, the edges of the template are rough, so is the Lithophane in the image above.

Choose a Photo

Lithophanes work best with high quality, high contrast photos.

Creating the Lithophane

To start making your Lithophane, open LuBan and go to File > Create > Lithophane

LuBan File menu to create a Lithophane
LuBan File > Create > Lithophane

Next, choose Balloon from the Shape dropdown.

Import the Template first by clicking Browse next to Select template.

Next, Import the Photo by clicking on Browse next to Select photo.

For me, this is what it will look like in LuBan:

Balloon Lithophane shaped as Football created in LuBan
LuBan Balloon Lithophone

You can make micro-adjustments to the photo's location by changing the Center X and Center Y selections and rescaling the photo.

TIP Adjust one setting at a time and press Enter after changing the setting to have the change take effect.

TIP Make minor adjustments as needed

Photo Adjustments Options for Balloon Lithophane created in LuBan
Photo Adjustments Options

Balloon Specific Configurations

The Balloon Lithophane has a couple of different configurations specific to this feature.

Balloon Adjustment Settings
Balloon Adjustment Settings

Expansion refers to how "blown up" the Balloon lithophane is. The larger the value, the larger the effect.

Extra Space is the space between the two sides, essentially how wide the Lithophane will be. Determine how you are going to be lighting the Lithophane and figure out how big this space needs to be to accommodate the hardware you will be using.

Creating a Hole

LuBan has many fantastic features, but it can't create a hole for your Lithophane yet. You'll need to use another program. To do that, save the model in LuBan and then you can open it in meshmixer or another design program to cut out the hole you need before slicing the file and printing it. You can use this tutorial for creating the hole using the chitubox slicer.

Print the Lithophane

When you are ready to print, you need to slice the file in your favorite slicer. I use Cura and the gadunky profile for my Ender 3; it seems to work best for me. You will need to find a profile or make one that works for your printer.

This was printed using Cura as the slicer, on a FLSUN Q5 printer using eSun Cool White PLA Pro+. Settings in Cura used the default Fine setting with these changes:

  • Wall Line Count 6

  • Infill density 99%

  • Speed 40mm/s

The image was printed Exterior.

Unfortunately, I didn't have any good light source available, so this is stuffed with Christmas lights, but at least you can see the effect.

Unlit Balloon Lithophane created with LuBan, printed on FLSUN Q5
Unlit Balloon Lithophane

Lit Balloon Lithophane created in LuBan, printed with FLSUN Q5
Lit Balloon Lithophane

Happy printing!

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