View Full Version : Lasering in 3D on Corian

Guy Fuson
08-10-2006, 12:39 PM
Does anyone know how you get the highlights to show through on a backlit 3D photo image on Corian?

Mitchell Andrus
08-10-2006, 2:55 PM
Areas you want to show up lighter would have to be thin. Areas you want to show up dark, would be left thicker.

I think the effect you're after sounds like an ancient art form from Germany. Plaster plaques are carved and back-lit. I saw a bunch of them in of all places Ripley's Believe it or Not in Niagara Falls.


Shaddy Dedmore
08-10-2006, 3:43 PM
It's called Lithophane (http://www.lithophanemuseum.org/what_is_a_lithophane.htm). the only people I know that have done it is with a rotary engraver. Time to get a Carvewright?

Let me know if you get the laser to do it. You may have to start with 1/4 or thinner Corian.


Joe Pelonio
08-10-2006, 3:49 PM
There have been a couple of other threads on 3d. The laser can do it but it's hard to get a true 3d drawing without specific (and expensive) software. Another problem is having thin enough corian or enough laser power to go deep enough to let the light through. In this case where it's backlit the art would have the lightest areas black, the darkest white, as you would do when engraving on black tile.

Mitchell Andrus
08-10-2006, 5:18 PM
That's it. I've been trying to come up with that for hours.


Bruce Volden
08-10-2006, 7:33 PM

One thing also comes to mind, Corian is NOT the only game in town. Google "Avonite", they have / had several varieties, jade, lapis lazuli?, marble(s) etc., which are opaque and would work wonderfully being backlighted!!!
Also, some, (Corian, Avonite, Fountainhead.........solid surface is really what they are known as in the "trade") come as thin as 1/4"!! I've been working with this stuff for 10 yrs. now, my personal favorite is Avonite in ivory~can make neat "scrimshaw", also GREAT for photos.


Guy Fuson
08-10-2006, 7:43 PM
Do you need a certain material to place over the corian before engraving?
I have a 50W LaserPro Explorer that does exceptional 3D engraving. I saw a sample from BackLight Images www.blimages.com (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/www.blimages.com) from my Corian Rep of a girls eyes on 1/4" Glacier White that came alive when put in light.

Harry Radaza
08-10-2006, 8:03 PM

I have a laserpro mercury 25watts and a universal 50watts. I have long wanted to expirement with 3d effects for photos etc. but have not have enough machine downtime to do research and development. can you share the process you do for achieving 3dimensional effects on your explorer (same driver as my mercury).

Guy Fuson
08-10-2006, 8:33 PM
It is guessing game, you have to experiment with different materials. I did a 3D of Mt. Rushmore and it came out pretty good because of the hills & valleys in the picture. If I remember Power 100 speed 7 dpi 300 ppi 400.
on alder. Some other pictures not worth a darn.. I did a 3D on Marble but need to work with it alot more. Check out the http://www.laserproi.com site for more info.

Guy Fuson
08-10-2006, 8:35 PM
Tried Fountainhead did not work for lithophane.

Guy Fuson
08-10-2006, 8:40 PM
I also have a 4' X 8' CNC Router that I'll try. I have a very good 3D software that produces great results on wood.

Dean Flannery
08-11-2006, 8:17 AM
For lithophanes the best material I have found is 1/8" white acrylic, the only problem is you have to use coolant or it will melt and break the bit.

Keith Outten
08-11-2006, 7:49 PM
Most lithophanes are made on a CNC router using Glasier White Corian. The machining is done using a small diameter ball end router bit, usually 1/8" in diameter or less. An 8" by 10" lithophane can take from 6 to 8 hours or more to machine depending on the complexity of the photo.

The process requires software to convert a photo to shades of gray that are interpreted by the software and a machining file is created that drives the router and cuts the photograph. The basic idea is that areas of the photo that are black will be thicker and areas that are light gray will be very thin, when the plaque is backlighted the thick areas represent the dark areas of the photograph. The result is a black and white photo that has been machined on a router.

I hope this has helped, lithophanes are kind of tough to explain but once you see one the idea is easy to understand...the light comes on so to speak :)


Guy Fuson
08-12-2006, 1:05 AM
Thanks for the advice. Do you know a good software?
Also what kind of Heat Transfer Machine are you using for Dye-sublimation on Corian?

Wil Lambert
08-12-2006, 5:44 AM
Thanks for the advice. Do you know a good software?

ArtCAM Pro. Kind of expensive software but well worth the money if you do artistic 3D CNC work.


Guy Fuson
08-13-2006, 5:34 PM
Thanks Wil

Guy Fuson
08-13-2006, 5:36 PM
What is a good Heat Transfer Press for Corian Dye-Sublimation?

Michael Wells
08-14-2006, 1:37 AM
Guy, actually....any heat press that will get up to around 400 degrees and which the piece will fit into will work with about an inch to spare at the edge.. Get one with a timer, or get a timer to set with it, especially for doing these long times. it's easy to forget if you are busy.

Guy Fuson
08-14-2006, 12:29 PM
Thanks Michael, been wanting to experiment without spending a bundle.


Keith Outten
08-14-2006, 7:01 PM

Try this link from Alpha Supply to get your heat press search started.


Guy Fuson
08-16-2006, 2:00 AM
Thanks Keith,
I checked out the website at hix press.