Case Study - Machining Treasures & Gifts for Family, Friends & Customers



Greg 'Grease' Lehman has been making lithophanes for friends and family on his converted Sherline CNC Mill. The lithophanes are machined from ivory Corian using PhotoVCarve and the frames are cut from mdf using VCarve Pro.

When cutting the lithophanes Greg uses a 0.125" diameter ball nose for the roughing toolpaths and a 0.0625 diameter ball nose with 15% stepover for the finishing.

Greg sandwiches the lithophanes between the two cutouts of mdf, paints the text using regular acrylic paints. Then adds a few clear coats to seal to the frame and also to the corian, which brings a nice luster to the lithophane.

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George - Lovebugjunkie - on the Vectric Forum has also been engraving great lithophanes and commented,

"My Wife likes them so that's all that counts :)"

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Bill Schober has developed a fantastic process for adding colour to lithophanes which makes the results even more stunning.

Bill describes the process..

"I use HP color transparency film to add the colour to my lithophanes. First I convert the color image into a CMYK image then delete the "K" channel which is the black or shades of gray that the lithophane already represents. Then print and glue the transparency to the back of the lithophane being sure to line it up just right. Pretty simple!"

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Bill has also been busy perfecting the process of cutting lithophanes in a Single Pass using a V-bit or engraving cutter without first running a roughing pass .

This machining process significantly reduces the cutting times and gives fantastic results.

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Also known as - calgrdnr - on the Vectric Forum is using the single pass technique pioneered by Bill Schober to engrave lithophanes of his family and friends. He has been experimenting with 'night-lights' to make the lithophanes spring to life.

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Jeff at Guernsey Wood Carvers has used the PhotoVCarve groove machining process to engrave a special gift for a friend to remember their beloved pet.

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Neil has been carving portraits with PhotoVCarve and the results have been excellent. He commented,

"My latest project was engraved for my next door neighbor and is a picture of his 7 Year old daughter."

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"The machining was done with a 90 degree 1/4 inch V-Bit with a carving depth of 0.030" at a resolution of 408 lines and a line angle of 33 degrees. No wood preparation before cutting after which I stained it, let it dry for 24 hours, sanded it and finally finished it with 3 coats of gloss poly."

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Robert Davis has used the technique to machine a fabulous permanent momento for his mother-in-law, and added a professional finish by adding a frame and back-light.

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