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Printing with Transparent PLA

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  ced1106 1 month, 4 weeks ago.

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    CoG Member

    I have been printing the Shuttle from the Starship 3 kickstarter and I have reached the point where I need to print the cockpit window. I have some transparent PLA and have been working on getting it printed. The advice on the web seems to be print it as hot as the filament allows there seems to be a difference of option on some of the other setting, some say print in large layers and others as small as possible.

    Anyway the result of my first effort printed at 0.2mm was this:


    I then polished it using some 1500 grit sandpaper which I had, and it ended up looking like this:


    Does anyone know a way to get this to print clear? Any help would greatly appreciated, I am using a Prusa I3 mk2s if that is any help and slowed down the speed to 24mm/s and turned of the model cooling and had a 100% fill using the setting mainly from here (although not the layer height):

    3D Printing Transparent Parts Using FDM/FFF Printer

    Just in case you were wondering the full model looks like this (no engines or interior yet):



    CoG Member

    The clarity comes from smoothing out the surface and removing any imperfections which is why you need to work with different grades of sand paper. Start of with something really coarse like 600 grit to flatten the large bumps and work your way down to the finer 1500 grit and further if needed and this should give you the effect you’re after. You could even give it a wet sand ant the end to push the clarity even further 🙂


    CoG Member

    Thanks I’ll give that a go


    CoG Member

    That is all true, and more, PLA isn’t the best material for transparent prints.

    You may also want to watch this:


    CoG Member

    Thanks for the advice, I’ve tried to sand it smooth using different grits of sandpaper and although now quite smooth to the touch its still pretty opaque.


    Strangely while looking for the sandpaper I found a spool of PETG natural so I am going to try that. I haven’t tried anything other than PLA before so wish me luck.



    Might not be at that point yet, but I’ve used Tamiya clears on transparent miniatures to make them even moreso. The idea is that the clear paint fills in the non-visible scratches, which are diffusing the light. Maybe experiment on another printed piece with clear resin?? Dunno.

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