I like to 3D Print photographs

EJ Thornton
3 min readJun 17, 2022

It’s the best new one-of-a-kind present — check it out!

Before and after — tiger photograph using OpenSCAD to translate photo to a 3D-rendered image.

I’ve been watching my husband play with OpenSCAD which is a 3D image programming language that is free for anyone to download. Simple to use, if you can use a ruler, you can get a 3D-image to appear in the software. Once it is there, you can get a special file to output (STL) and send it to your local library and they will print it using their 3D printer (sometimes for free).

This is super fun! I’ve been getting him to render photographs for me in 3D for a while now, and they come out so cool.

There is a book about OpenSCAD: OpenSCAD Recipes for learning 3D-printing.

I was super-impressed how much detail came out in 3D from the Easter eggs!

I learned this from a book: OpenSCAD Cookbook — OpenSCAD Recipes for learning 3D-printing. It has a lot more in it than just the photograph trick, but that is the one I love the most.

I wish I’d given one of them a face trim before this photo, but you can see how realistic it comes out!

Landmarks look great too.

Lighthouse from LA harbor

The following photograph of the Eiffel tower isn’t my photograph — but it shows again, how wonderfully landmarks come out in this medium!

Eiffel Tower in Paris

The code to do this is the “Surface” command, so when you get the book or explore OpenSCAD on your own, look it up and see what kind of fun you can have.

Plants come out looking good too!

A picture of one of my Iris in the back yard.

A word to the wise though, I think this one would have better highlighted the iris if I had blurred the background using Photoshop or some other similar software.

EJ Thornton

EJ Thornton is an author, and a book publisher who is also a champion of the environment. Her books are both spiritual and practical in nature — lots of fun!