Does your transparent PLA reach the best printout effects?

3D Printing

Many 3D print makers ask this question: how could I get my transparent print more transparent? I was using a transparent PLA filament for the printing but only to find my final printout is not that transparent. Its see-through effect was not as perfect as the glass clarity. It was somewhat milky or translucent.

Yes, Here I am telling you that any filament 3D printer users trying to use a transparent filament to reach the glass-like transparency are not possible.

Those who are boasting the diamond crystal effects of transparent 3D filaments are somewhat misleading. The truth is that any filament of clear/natural/transparent is made up of plastic material and plastic elements could never be the same as glass. Imaging the transparency of plastic bags, you’ll see what final results are to that transparent 3D filament. It may be somewhat translucent effects. The product was not named as translucent PLA, but transparent PLA.

With such a a proportional expectation to transparent 3D filament, you now come to the helpful section on how to reach best effects when using transparent PLA filament. 

1. Use premium filament product

If your consumables are not in the premium level in clarity, that can be one of the biggest factors in milky or opaque prints. Make sure you're using a high quality transparent PLA filament. Why high quality transparent PLA filament reach better transparency effects? The answer lies in their material properties. Inferior quality clear PLA filaments tend to be made from recycled plastic, which generally has a lower melting point and is more prone to imperfections that can cause milky or opaque prints. Also, high quality PLA filament is drilled with high purity, which makes the final color more natural. There are a lot of different PLA filaments on the market, and in general higher-priced transparent PLA filaments will produce better results than cheaper ones.

transparent pla printing

2. Ensure good slicer settings

Check your slicer settings to ensure they're configured for the best possible clarity. This is not meaning that slicer setting helps improve print clarity, but meaning that a good slicer setting helps in escalating printing results and escalated printing results of transparent PLA filament and showcase better transparent nature of the filament. So, layer lines, layer gaps, air bubbles, rough surface, all do bad to wave the clarity nature of the filament. What you need is to allocate slicing skills to remove those slicing puzzles.

3. Print with a qualified 3D printer

Displaying the high transparency of a PLA filament, you need to make sure to use a top-notch 3D printer. A critical factor that can affect the clarity of your prints is the type of 3D printer you're using. The same reasons, A nice 3D printer ensures nice print result, and nice print result with glossy surface definitely lets more light go through and takes on a better transparent effects.

If your 3D printer isn't efficient, neither won't be your printing results. A good 3D printer is characterized by a well-performing extruder that makes liquid filament flow out evenly and stably, a sturdy framework that stems from machine shaking, a heatable build plate that allows precise calibration and a smooth print base, and by easy-to-use slicer that has 3D printer users and even starters quickly and successfully finish slicing. An excellent FDM 3D printer is a huge contributor to perfect printing of transparent PLA filament. 

4. Post-process contributes to transparency

In addition, post-processing your prints (e.g. sanding, clear coating, etc.) can also help to achieve better results. Sand the object with a high grit sandpaper (1000+) until the layer lines are barely visible. Wipe off any dust from sanding with a damp paper towel or compressed air. For a glossy finish, apply 2-3 thin coats of clear nail polish, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. For a matte finish, apply a thin coat of spray-on or brush-on matte finish. Let the object dry completely before handling or displaying it.

clearest transparent pla

5. Good application scenes manifest clear filament’s transparency

Finally, remember to apply your printouts in most appropriate scenes to get the best possible clarity! It's easy to learn that when printing with transparent PLA filament an open model shows better clarity than an enclosed model. Open models like vase, enclosures and cases are made only with one shell. No infill and inside problems should be considered when printing those models, while enclosed models like garage kits or the like are somewhat solid hence doing bad for light penetration. Light is easy to go through only one shell and make them look more transparent! So, it's wise to make application of transparent filament in open molding. Flower pots, mobile phone case, game console enclosures and lamp covers are all good usage scenes to show off transparency effects of transparent filament!

All in all, by following these tips, you should be able to achieve much better clarity in your transparent PLA prints. 


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