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Litho Box Lamp (LED/USB powered)

by paulbovbel Jan 31, 2014
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what size do lithopone's need to be

Can I plug this into a apple phone charger plug in the wall? If so do I need a resistor? What size?

If Im reading the spec sheet correctly, Im coming up with a resister value of 8.2 Ohm, does this sound about right? Also Is brighter better, should I max out the current??

I calculated 5 volts with a 3.2 drop @ 250 millamps.

Spec sheet is attached.

That sounds about right.

I bought the same Adafruit 1W LED, have a generic 5v USB power brick. I have tried a 10k Ohm and a 4.7K Ohm resister, both are dim AF. I tried wiring it straight up, and the dam LED gets HOT AF so quickly, but it is also very bright. I'm not a DC electronics guy, at least I haven't been for quite some years. What should I use here? Any help is greatly appreciated.

The 1W adafruit LED quotes 350 mA, which means a voltage drop of 2.85. This works out to a current limiting resistor of 6.14 (rounding up to 6.8 Ohms). You're using resistors ~1000 times too strong.

Got it working. Ended up using a 10 Ohm resistor (just what I was able to easily find. Thanks for the help.

How can we print the greatest figures. And in which way is the burdened.

how did you gize managed to cut the litophane in a square? i try to change its size but when i do change height the lenth changes automatically

the linked lithophane design has parametrized length and width

thanks! i didnt knew i could use that as a source. But still, i tried to use and it gives error on queue list, is it working for you?

Love the design! Making a few for Christmas gifts for the grandparents. I did have some USB breakout boards from China so I went ahead and remixed the mount for them. Maybe someone else can use it.

Mount for chinese usb breakout board.

Great design and perfect Christmas present.
Is it OK to use PLA or is the LED so warm that it is better to use ABS?

I've printed all mine in PLA

I've made a couple of these now, and just realized while reading the instructions, what the other 4 nuts were for. I had originally only used the two to keep the circuit pressed against the bottom. I didn't see the slots in the outer frame to house a nut for the bolt going through the bottom. I just figured the threading of the bolt would be enough to keep it together (and has on the ones I made).

I feel like an idiot now.

I need to make those more obvious. How did you find the tolerances on all the pieces? I haven't had a printer in a while, but I think I need to loosen them up.

I've had pretty much no issues, but I've also put a lot of work towards dialing in my printer over the last year. Even the clip and mount came out fine, with the minimal support material easily being removed.

In the slots on the frame, I did have to use some tweezers to remove extra material, preventing the nuts from going into place. But it was literally 1-2 tiny strands that easily came out.

The litho panes are a little rough to get into the frame, but I think it's more of a coordination issue than anything else. It's hard to keep pressure on everything at once, and then put into the base. But it's do-able with patience.

I wouldn't loosen a thing, unless other people just have a lot of problems. It's been working great for me thus far.

Thank you very much for the contribution !!!! I have a question, how many watts is the LED you used? 1w? 3W?

1 W is plenty.

Hey, Loved your design but I am not electronically inclined so I remixed it. Hope you do not mind.


Simple lamp base non LED
by Rillion

How thick should I make my boarders to fit directly into your box without any modifications?

The default on the linked lithophanes - 2 mm

Is there an easy way to scale this project to fit larger lithophane panels?

That can either be done in solidworks (source files in project), or via your slicer software.

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What size frames are these? I need one to fit 3"x3" pictures that are .5mm at the thinnest and 3mm at the thickest

I was thinking of modifying this to fit the lights in the link below. Thoughts?

Can the top come off the base and be put back on easily?


Dear paulbovbel,

Nice design! I want to make a battery based instead of usb. Do you know what I have to change?

easiest approach would be to get a usb battery pack.. otherwise you'd have to switch up your own wiring.

Integrating the battery inside lamp would be tricky because you want to avoid occluding the light.

Would love to see a remixed version of this that could use an off-the-shelf USB LED solution. You can pick up a 5 pack of 1W USB LEDs for $13 on Amazon (search for 'usb led 1w'). The base would be more simple.

Which one specifically? The primary concern with sourcing an LED for this project is finding one with a wide enough beam so that all the panels are evenly lit.

These are what I have in mind. Would be great (if they work) as you could power from a small USB battery pack or plug into a standard wall outlet.


Not an expert in LED, but I'm guessing those won't disperse the same way. The star-shaped ones I found are just one powerful LED with a convex lens on it.

quick question. I'm not using the thingiverse process of making lithophanes. I'm making them myself with Photoshop. What are the exact dimensions for the lithophanes so I can print them correctly to fit the frame?

Sorry for the late reply. Please check the lithophane SCAD for the default dimensions. I think it's 2mm x 80mm x 80mm.

Just an FYI, the default dimensions that the lithopane customizer puts out is 81mm x 81mm. Followed instructions here to customize w/ the default dimensions, but the lithopanes don't fit the cube. redid them as 80mm and they fit it perfectly.

I know little about the electrical side of things like this, does it matter which of the VCC, GND, ID, D- and D+ pins I wire to? And if so which ones should I wire the resistor/ wire to as it looks like you directly soldered the resistor to one pin and used wire to the other pin. Also if I were using two resistors could I just solder one resistor directly from the positive connection on the LED heatsink to the correct pin, then solder the other resistor directly from the negative connection on the LED heatsink to the other correct pin?

The VCC pin should be connected to the +ve terminal on the LED, and the GND pin should be connected to the -ve terminal. It does not matter which connection is made via resistor, and which via wire.

With two resistors, yes you can do that, the effective resistance will be the same. I'd be really careful about shorts though, since resistor wires are be uninsulated.

Thank you very much for the quick reply. I just did my first ever solder and wiring job for this and it seems to have gone well. Still waiting for the rest of my lithopanes to reprint because the size was slightly off, I'll post the completed box when they're done.

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Do you actually recommend using a .2mm layer height? Your's looks like you used .1mm, it would get better resolution wouldn't it? What parameters can I change without messing up the design?

That is a counter-intuitive parameter name, I will have to change it.
The customizable part actually doesn't care what layer thickness you print at. min_layer_height is the padding at the bottom, to ensure that your lithophane isn't too thin. It's safe to tweak that value depending on how your print comes out, since it won't affect the overall dimensions of the lithophane.

Thanks! Did you print yours in standard white filament or did you use something more transparent (nylon, XT, etc.)?

Yep, standard white, it's reasonably translucent.

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