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Thread: My First lithopane - WOW!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Wink My First lithopane - WOW!

    I am estatic at the success of my first attempt at a lithopane. I have been making some trophies using 1/4" clear Lexan and I have been less than impressed at the amount of stuff that has to be cleaned off the carving after the machine has finished. The effect is good. It's just like lithopanes except the front face is the uncut, smooth face rather than the carved face in lithopanes. This of course only works with a clear medium. Opaque material results in a dull, fuzzy, indistinct image that anyone who has looked at a lithopane from the wrong/smooth side has seen. But the trophies are Lexan. (photo attach 1 and 2) This is my first experience with "Corian" (in quotes because I think it is actually one of the other brands). It cuts very clean with negligible sticking dust to clean up (I have a Ringneck Blues DC).

    The subject of the litho is a photo I took of my Bichon Frise as a puppy when he fell asleep next to a small teddy bear that he would play with (photo attach 3). Sadly he died a couple of years ago at age 10 with metastatic intestinal cancer, but I have many fond memories of him including this particular photo.

    I imported the photo into Designer and just used the default settings to make the pattern - it needed no cleaning up. I used a 8 x 10 piece of 1/4" Corian sitting in (taped) a 11" x 22" MDF sled that was previously carved by the CW specifically for that purpose. I carved using a 1/16" carving bit set at .220 depth and 450 height setting. I set it a little bit deeper than what Jason says in his Tips and Tutorials #16 (he recommends .018 ) because I wanted the dog's fur to contrast highly with the bear's dark fur without making the bear just a big dark blob. This way the shiny highlights on the bear's fur show up well and give it some dimension. (it's more evident on the litho than the photo here shows) The feather and draft were set on NONE and the bit optimization was set on BEST. The actual carving was done on the BEST setting. I was extremely pleased at the result and now I have to figure out what kind of back lighting device I want to use for display - a light box, vs. window hanging, vs. lamp shade, etc..... and what photo I want to do next!

    200kClick image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by 200k; 02-15-2013 at 08:34 PM.

  2. #2
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    I really like the look on the Lexan trophy pieces. Much like a frosted or etched effect. I do not recall anyone posting something similar. When you carve this does it gum up on the carving area and bit?

    You did very well on your first litho carving and judging by your description a great subject to carve!
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  3. #3
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    I was curious about the Lexan as well. they really do look nice as well as the corian.

  4. #4
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    Fantastic Job! Ain't this machine great!

  5. #5
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    Those are really nice! And the puppy is adorable!
    "Carved with Love"

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  6. #6
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    both great carves- thanks for sharing them with us - (and yes, I understand that feeling of "wow" with first lithophanes!)

    Lawrence

  7. #7
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    May 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by fwharris View Post
    I really like the look on the Lexan trophy pieces. Much like a frosted or etched effect. I do not recall anyone posting something similar. When you carve this does it gum up on the carving area and bit?
    The back-carved/frosted/etched effect is exactly what I was trying to do. Most of the carving chips are cut free and removed during cutting but there are dozens of little chips that stay attached on some of the fine detail. To get rid of most of those I just brushed the area with a small steel wire brush in all directions. The remainders I have to painstakingly remove with the point of an Exacto knife (#11 blade). It takes more time than Corian but I like the look. The good thing is that I am pretty sure I can back-carve 1/2" or even 3/4" Lexan for even greater depth. I will give it a try if I can source some of that material.

    BTW, I think I mentioned it before but I want to reiterate. Carving Lexan generates lots of static and even with a good DC system, there will be chips that will cling to all parts of the inside of the machine. On a long carve I periodically stop the machine (lift the lid) and vacuum out as much as I can with a crevice tool on my shop vac - especially anything on the y and z trucks and belts. I may be over fastidious but I just replaced a Y-axis motor because of a chunk of plastic getting lodged into the y-axis belt. (I was cutting EXTRUDED acrylic. I was told it was cast acrylic but they were wrong and I lost a motor.) At the end of the carve I vacuum out and blow out and then vacuum out again the entire machine. Can't be too clean!

    200k
    Last edited by 200k; 02-16-2013 at 10:52 AM.

  8. #8
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    Onset, Ma
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    Great Job !!! You're on your way now. Thanks for sharing.


    Capt Barry

  9. #9

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    Really a nice carve.

    To make a lithophane, is Cast Acrylic the same as Corian? You mentioned Corian is a brand name, and I think that's right...is it simply Cast Acrylic?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    ohio
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    200k
    be cautious when vacuuming the machine as this causes static and can fry the electronics

    you carves a real nice
    denny

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