Open process

I’ve thought about, used and contributed to Open Source hardware and software (and 3D models – wherever they fit between hardware and software) for a number of years.

I recently decided to make a number of tools to help with the process of converting two dimensional images into three dimensional shapes for 3D printing (which is one of my passions).

The initial users of these tools are just me and my 15 year old daughter, she loves to draw (you know physically draw with paper and stuff) but is resistant to sculpting or computer based drafting.  She is also a teenager and therefore resistant to anything I may “want” her to try.  Seeing her potential and wishing to open up the 3D world to her, I thought a series of very easy to use tools may help her to dip her toes in the 3D printing waters and see if she likes it – on her terms.

As my daughter and I are the only users, I could just make some apps that we could use at home. But, I could just as easily publish them on-line and that would allow others in a similar position to give them a try and use them if they found them helpful.  I want to make the tools as accessible as possible and make the source code available for modification by others.

Now, here’s the rub:  When I publish 3D models with a Creative Commons Attribution license companies print these models and use them to display the capabilities of their printers at trade shows, in images, in videos and on their websites. Which is all just fine, but they DON’T attribute me (and many others) for the designs which annoys me – Enormously.  Now, these stealing, using, nasty, corporations aren’t going to change, so I have to calm down and just ignore them.  Focus on the people who appreciate my work and publicly acknowledge it.  After-all, as my grandmother would have said, giving is its own reward.

So I thought, how about, I facilitate use by an even broader group of people by sharing more than just the tools and the code, but by explaining the entire process that went in to developing each tool so that others can go on to do the same.  Over the coming weeks, I’m going to publish some step-by-step guides that culminate in a page on this website that allows you to perform some common 2D/3D conversion task in as simple a way as I can think without you needing to install software or register for email blizzards.  These tools will be developed in such a way as to make them accessible to people learning how to program and may well become phone apps to give them even broader appeal.

I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of the whole HTML5 / CSS / JavaScript ecosystem (I still see them as lacking cohesion and poorly suited to their task), but it’s probably the most accessible means to meet the requirements as stated, so that’s where I’ll start.

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9 thoughts on “Open process”

  1. Thanks for putting together a great tool!

    I used it to create a stop motion animated film that was letterpress printed using 3d printing lithophane panels as a final project to finish up my BFA.

  2. My name is Alex and I am the Service & Communications Manager from

    I have visited on Thingiverse again and have great news for you. We have a library transfer service for users with a big library or if the users do not have any spare time.

    I hope to see your new designs on our website as well. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    from, Alex

    (URL:  Email :


  3. Hi,
    How are you?
    Very interesting website…well Done!
    I’m working with my self to make some lithophanes and I tried to do it from your website without success, I don’t know wath is the problem.

    I like a lot the idea about the cylindrical lithophane,
    I wanna make it! Can you help me?
    I red your article to try to do this alone but is too hard for me.

    I upload photo to my website, i could see the photo uploaded , but nothing happened the next stage, i dont know how to solve it

    Thanks a lot

      1. Dear Mark

        i use google chrome to run your website , its fine.

        but i use it in my website, it didnt work.

        my skype : jing-sweet

        i have some other plan to discuss with you

  4. Mark,

    Thanks for sharing this awesome tool with the world! I was wondering how difficult it would be to get a lithophane onto a cone shape instead of a cylinder. Just downloading the cylinder and adjusting it obviously won’t work so well. Is there a way to finagle your program to do something like that? I’m interested in sort of vase-type shapes. Thank you!

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