3D printing with clear filaments is not as simple as it sounds. Oftentimes, it comes out cloudy at the best of times and just opaque like regular filaments at its worst. While you may not be able to 3D print transparent prints, you can create clear and translucent 3D prints with the right methods and filaments. If you’ve been looking for ways on how to do this, you’re in luck! X3D is releasing a guide on how to 3D print clear filaments to create truly clear 3D models.
Design your STL model to be clear
You can use the best clear filaments on the market, however, if your STL model isn’t designed to be clear then you’re guaranteed to have solid and opaque 3D prints. 3D prints models that have complex designs, a high infill level, or thick walls make for impenetrable walls. The thinner the 3D print is, the more likely for the light to go through, while more layers retract the light out.
Clear-proof your 3D printer to create translucent 3D prints
Adjusting your 3D printer’s settings is crucial to printing clear models. Here are the settings you need to tweak:
- Temperature settings: Set the temperature to the highest recommended temperature of the filament you’re using. This minimises the details of each layer, which makes it smoother and more clear.
- Layer height: Set the layer height high. This may create bigger layers but this way, your model will have fewer layers.
- Printing speed: Use a slower than normal printing speed to increase the accuracy of your 3D printer as this increases the clarity of your prints.
- Adjust the belt’s tightness: Tightening the belts could increase the accuracy of your prints for a clearer appearance.
Use the right filaments
Some filaments are made to create clearer 3D prints. Worry not, you don’t have to buy pricey special filaments to produce clear 3D prints. You can use regular clear ABS and PLA filaments, although the effect won’t be as nice as other clear filaments. Here are the top clear filaments that you can use:
The most transparent filament is PETG. It boasts of excellent layer adhesion, less shrinkage, and odourless during printing. It produces clear and smooth prints that have flexibility without breaking. If you want transparent and durable prints without post-processing, choose PETG.
Polycarbonate is a clear filament that you can use for almost transparent and durable prints. It delivers a glossy and clear surface and can be bent without breaking. For better results, it needs post-processing with acetone for a smoother and clearer surface.
You’ll know that a PLA filament is of high quality if it can produce clear 3D prints. PLA is the easiest to find among the filaments. It is also eco-friendly and doesn’t emit harmful fumes during printing. 3D printing newbies will also find PLA a delight to work with as it is easy to print with. It can also be sanded and polished afterward to improve the clarity of the surface.
ABS is the least clear filament out of all the options. It can only produce translucent prints at best. However, you can improve the results with Acetone vapour smoothing.
Get clearer 3D prints with X3D’s Tips and Tricks!
Getting clearer 3D prints may not be easy but it will be with our guide on how to print with clear filaments. If you need recommendations for your model, you can contact us by phone and email. Alternatively, you can also use our 3D printing service for fool-proof and accurate 3D printing projects.