A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
3D printing is changing the landscape in manufacturing and personal customization. But, you may be surprised that it intersects with art too when printing photos. Pictures above show a tiger face photo along with its 3D printed pictures with and without a light source (from left to right). The related art to this technique is called lithophane which was developed in 17th century in Europe. Based on Wikipedia it is” an etched or molded artwork in very thin Translucent porcelain that can only be seen clearly when back lit with a light source. A lithophane presents a three-dimensional image, completely different from two-dimensional engravings.” Lithophanes may have been belonged to rich people in past but now it's available to everyone thanks to democratization of 3D printing technology. For the full story of how I came across this 3D printing technique, please click on this link.
How is a 3D printed photo made?
The answer to this question boils down to image processing. A digital (black and white) image consists of pixels with colors varying from white to black and between. These pixels are assigned numbers from 0 to 255 based on their brightness. Now, we have a matrix of numbers in which all mathematical operations can be performed. An image processing software takes this matrix and assign a thickness based on the pixel brightness. That is, darker and brighter pixels become thicker and thinner respectively. The result is a 3D object that 3D printer can print. When it’s back lit by a light source, a picture is revealed by the difference in the amount of light passage. Picture below shows a progression of a 2D photo to a 3D printed photo from left to right.
What's the big deal about photo 3D printing?
The significance of photo 3D printing is that it opens new avenues for personalized gifts for different occasions like Christmas, birthday, anniversary to name a few. 3D printed photos can be placed on a window and the picture characteristics can change by sun light. A color changing LED light even gives more stunning effect to a 3D printed photo as shown in picture below. Also, a lamp shade can be found in most of homes and its shade can be converted to a 3D printed photo making it more interesting! Photo 3D printing provides unprecedented choices for personalization around home and it's time to take advantage of it.
3D printed smartphone case inspired by a ceiling architecture
In addition of photo 3D printing, we plan to expand our work to other personal items which can be customized. We started with smartphone case which has a great potential for personalization. Pictures above show a smartphone cases (CAD model on left and 3D printed case on right) inspired from a historic building ceiling (center) in Iran. For full description, please click here. The unique aspect of this case design is that it can be personalized with your desired name. The current design can be used for iPhone and Samsung smartphones. The offered material is Eco-friendly PLA plastic but the rubber version will be available very soon. The CAD designer/developer of this smartphone case is my good friend, Eric Guenterberg, who helped develop this beautiful personalized case.
Why do we need your support?
From business standpoint, there is no online service to offer photo 3D printing conveniently. So, “3D Printed Photos and Gifts” with possible expansion to other personalized gifts was born. This online store is designed such that different lighting sources ranging from regular to color changing LED night lights are offered and then photos can be uploaded easily by customers. With a fast turnaround, 3D printed photos with the desired light source are ready within a few days. We will use the funding for the following goals:
Creating more mobile-friendly website
Working with digital artists for creating unique and more beautiful gift designs
Your support won't be without reward and a 3D printed product will be provided at any support tier. We'll try to fulfill the rewards as soon as the project meets its funding goal so you get the rewards before Christmas in case you are planning to gift the 3D printed photos. The rewards are as following:
$5: A passport size 3D printed photo (2"x2") without any light source.
$12: A personalized 3D printed smartphone (iphone or Samsung) case with your desired color and first name. Picture below shows an example of iphone 5s case. The material is eco-friendly PLA plastic.
$15: 3D printed photo with maximum size of 4" (without light source)
$19: 3D printed photo (max. print size is 4") backlit by regular LED night light.
$21: 3D printed photo with small color changing LED night light
$25: 3D printed photo (max. print size of 5") with USB powered LED light (turns on and off with your touch as shown in the campaign video)
$30: 3D printed photo (max. size of 5") backlit by large color changing LED night light:
$45: 3D printed photo box (consists of 5 photos) powered by LED light. Can be plugged into wall electricity outlet, USB charger or laptop. Dimensions : 4.75"x 3.55"x 3.55"
Project video music credit: Bensound.com
Risks and challenges
During the initial launch of 3D printed Photos and Gifts, we have perfected photo 3D printing and we feel confident about the quality of our work. The only concern is the rewards fulfillment timing and we try to start printing the rewards as soon as the project has reached its funding goal. So, the earlier the funding reaches it goal, the sooner the project supporters receive their rewards but in the worst case scenario like 3D printing technical issues or high number of supporters (I hope!), the rewards fulfillment time will be delayed to January 2018.
This option is provided to those who want to use their own light source and just need a 3D printed photo. The photo will be curved and maximum print size is 4 inch. you need to send me a photo and if you determine your desired light source, I can print its required handle too. For best result, please send me a close-up photo with good contrast.
The 3D printed photo (max. print size of 4") comes with an automatic dusk to dawn small color changing LED night light. It cycles through 8 colors in 40 seconds making your 3D printed photo even more interesting. It costs pennies to run since its electricity usage is 0.5 W. You need to email me your desired photo. For best result, please send me a close-up photo with good contrast.
The 3D photo maximum size is 5″ (12.5 cm) and it comes with USB powered LED light. The option is suitable for those who want to have their 3D photos on their desks at home or office. The USB power LED can easily be connected to your laptop or any USB smart phone charger including Apple and Samsung.The LED light turns on and off with your touch so you have full control over it. The USB cable length is 2 ft so it’s just the right size for using on desks. Its electricity usage is 0.5 W so it costs pennies to operate. For best result, please send me a close-up photo with good contrast.
This color changing light source provides the best visual experience for your 3D printed photo having a large LED screen. Also, it smoothly changes color adding more beauty to your printed photo which is especially attractive for kids. The frosted shade night light also includes a pause button allowing you to stop on a desired color. Its electricity usage is 0.5 W so it costs pennies to operate. You need to email me your desired photo and the max. print size will be 5". For best result, please send me a close-up photo with good contrast.