How to Print with Clear Filaments

How to Print with Clear Filaments

A question often asked is: "how do I get the best results from clear or translucent filaments?"

We want our customers to get the best results possible, so here we offer some tips when using clear filament.

Clear PLA, ABS or indeed any of the filaments designed for 3D printing start out crystal clear on the reel. When they are printed however, that clarity fades to a slightly milky haze at best and a frosted look at worst.

The reasons are simple. 3D printing works by adding layer upon layer and building in very fine layers. When the plastic is extruded from the hot nozzle, it settles onto the previous layer but inevitably traps a little air in the process. The less air, the clearer the result and the more transparent your print.

It will never be like glass but it can be quite translucent.

The secret is to print big and hot. In other words, towards the high end of the temperature range for the filament you are using and the largest layer height you can live with. 0.2mm is probably the most common but certainly, the lower the height (0.1mm for instance) the less chance of keeping the part clear.

Give it a go and experiment with the settings to see just how good – or bad you can get the clarity of a clear print. The best results are often very thin parts with big layers. Thicker, solid prints will struggle to show real transparency with FDM 3D printing.

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