Making Transparent/Clear objects

Discussion in 'Technologies and Hardware' started by OrbRacing, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. OrbRacing
    OrbRacing New Member
    Hi everyone,

    I have plans to get my first object 3D printed. The preference is to have the object completely clear, but at least transparent.

    There are 3 options for a transparent finish: Frosted Detail, Frosted Ultra Detail and Transparent Detail as options for this.

    I was wondering which one of them offers the best transparency (at 1-2mm thick), and I was wondering if the transparency can be enhanced by wet sanding and polishing the object?

    Many Thanks for your help,

    PS: I was also wondering if the materials mentioned above can be painted, and if so, with what kind of paint?
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
  2. pfeifferstylez
    pfeifferstylez New Member
    I received an Alpha 3 class space patrol ship, printed in Transparent Detail, two weeks ago. It looks quite similiar to the one in this thread. (The one on the right, ignore the misprint on the left. ^^)

    The Aerofoil Tower in this thread was printed in Frosted Detail, with 0,5mm wall thickness.

    But stop4stuff was very succesful with polishing Frosted Ultra Detail.

    I prefer waterbased acrylic colors (brands like Citadel and Vallejo).

    paulburkittgray is working on a 1:76 Austin Maestro printed in Frosted Detail, and succesfully used Halfords car spray paints.

    And there a lots of threads about painting in the "Post Production Techniques" forums. ;)
  3. OrbRacing
    OrbRacing New Member
    Thanks for your quick reply :) The polished Frosted Detail looks really good!

    I've noticed though that the stock finish of 'Transparent detail' seems to be more transparent, albeit with a warm tone to it. (Link)

    It also has a shorter time to be delivered after the order (which is very important for me, I need to have the parts by the 18th of January), is slightly stronger, and has a lower starting fee. So I guess this is a better option for me considering that I need to make 3 parts (that are 2-8cm^3 each). If the Transparent detail can also be painted and polished successfully then that's the right material to go for!
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
  4. Kasss_Gnarl
    Kasss_Gnarl New Member
    Hi Origineelreclamebord,

    I have ordered several pieces in transparent detail, and as far as the 'clearness' goes it all seems to come down to print orientation. From what I can see on my pieces, the sides of the model that touch the support material during printing become cloudy, whereas the other sides are very clear. Even after wet sanding there is a significant difference, tho I have not tried to polish them.
  5. OrbRacing
    OrbRacing New Member
    Thanks for letting me know - it definetely makes it worth reconsidering the material choice.

    It seems it can be polished very well (Link), but I do have my worries about it's heat resistance. If it would be standing indoors in the summer with the sun shining on it, it would be enough to damage the object? :confused

    PS: How do you know where the support material will be added during printing?
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2011
  6. pfeifferstylez
    pfeifferstylez New Member
    This polished Transparent Detail item looks very well, too. :)

    Transparent Detail is heatproof up to 48° C - for comparison, the usual threshold of pain is 44° C.

    We don't. ^^
    First of all, we have no control about the print direction.
    Secondly there's always a chance that there is another item above your item in the printer.
  7. VeryWetPaint
    VeryWetPaint New Member
    Here's another resource for polishing instructions:

    It's important to note that "Transparent Detail" is a thermosetting resin so it cannot be melted. (That's also why it can't be flame polished or vapor polished.) Sunlight shouldn't generate enough heat to cause any deterioration.
  8. OrbRacing
    OrbRacing New Member
    Nice, thanks :) I have ordered the parts right now - due to a miscalculation things were more expensive than I expected :rolleyes: So after converting it to 70% of the original scale and making the wall thicknesses a lot smaller (about half of what it was before), it was affordable again.

    The wall thickness was too small for transparent detail though - so I in the end had to go for Frosted Detail. Now I just have to wait and hope the various parts fit in and on each other, and that it arrives before the 18th of January!
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  9. OrbRacing
    OrbRacing New Member
    And before the 18th of January it is! I already got the parts, that was VERY quick (ordered the 26th of December, got them the 5th of January)!






    I'm surprised by the accuracy and quality of the parts - There's an embossed logo on the cup and a few grooves that are barely 0.3mm in size, and they came out beautifully! The twist-cap works (it turns out I could've used even smaller tolerances) and the frame inside it fits nicely.

    Speaking of the frame, there is a small issue with it - no surprise really. Some of the rings have warped slightly because of the lack of support and the low wall thickness. The vertical ribs are also slightly off but it still easily fits inside the cup.

    In short, for a first 3D printed part I am really pleased with the way it turned out. I have my doubts whether I'll be able to polish it due to the small corners, but more importantly, the inside walls and low wall thickness (0.98mm in the CAD model).
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012