"One Perfect Part at a Time"


Lithophane Making

Here is my latest creation. The carving is called a Lithophane. In the first picture you can see that it is a reverse relief carving. The darkest details are raised in the design The material is 1/4 inch thick Corian produced by DuPont. Its the stuff from which counter tops and wall covering is made. As it turns out, it is very easy to engrave.

The second picture is the same carving with back-light. As you can see, when illuminated from behind, it shows a very high detail gray scale photograph. You can even see the reflection in my glasses! The detail is outstanding.

In this example the photo area is about 4 x 5.75. Just the right size for the CnC Taig Micro-Mill. I don’t have a step-by-step example in my hobby web site yet, but I will soon. Probably this week end. I’ll post a link here.

What is hard to believe is all I used was two ball end mills to machine this picture. The first was a 1/8 inch mill for roughing out, followed by a 1/16 inch mill for the finish pass. That was almost 1000 lines. Total machining time was about 2.5 hours.

Update 4/20/08:

As promised, The Hobbyist Machine Shop has the lithophane making process in the web site. From the menu bar select “Projects” then select “Lithophane” from the drop down. Enjoy! ~ Dan’l

ShopDog VAC

Bingo VACHere is a new use for the old, “man’s best friend”. I call it the Shopdog VAC. Here “Bingo” is busy cleaning up all the bits of aluminum “swarf” created by drilling and tapping 75 holes in an aluminum plate. The best part is he is very quite, so I don’t have to listen to the whine of the high powered electrical version. He does get in the way at times, being underfoot such as you see here. A good kick gets him started in a new direction though. His “poo” reflects sunlight out in the yard so it is easy to find and clean up. I have been thinking of recycling it but I can’t find a scrap yard that will take it. They keep telling me, “We don’t have to take that kind of sh.. from you!” Oh well…

🙂 Dan’l

P.S. Neither do you…

No dogs or humans were injured in the making of this story.

More Fun With CNC

Steve and DanielleAnother carving done with a V bit on the CNC machine. It looks like the very old newspaper pictures that were screened before being printed. It is actually a very similar process. The Vectric software scans the picture for light and dark areas and that in turn sets the depth of the carving. Everything is adjustable by the user (me) so it takes some work to make it look just right.

That is only the computer part. The board is a piece of red oak and that needs some prep before carving. I sanded and applied two coats of shellac and sanded again. The board looks horrible after carving, so it takes more sanding and paint filling to get what you see here. Then a clear finish coat over everything.

The point is that I didn’t just push “GO” and out popped this print. There is a lot of work involved. But it is also a lot of fun to have a unique finished product at the end.

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