How to Get Better 3D Printed Transparent Parts
Printing with VeroClear model material makes translucent both possible and practical. With a little post-processing, you can control the degree of model transparency. The clarity of VeroClear parts will improve after one to two days in an office environment due to the exposure of white light.
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Step 1: Materials
What you will need:
Cloth for cleaning the printhead, wiper and roller waste collector
Media Blaster (optional)
Duct Tape (for media blasting, optional)
Soapy water/Mineral oil/Vegetable oil
3M plastic polish
Buffing wheel/Polishing tool
Soft cloth/Clean buffing pad
Optional sanding materials:
1,500-grit micro-mesh sandpaper
1800-grit micro-mesh sandpaper
2,400-grit micro-mesh sandpaper
3,600 grit micro-mesh sandpaper
4000-grit micro-mesh sandpaper
Step 2: Printer Set-Up
Traces of previous materials affect the clarity of VeroClear parts. To prepare the printer for VeroClear printing, replace at least one of the currently installed cartridges with VeroClear.
Then, run the Material Replacement Wizard and select the flushing option appropriate for your print job.
Finally, clean the printhead, wiper and roller waste collector thoroughly.
Step 3: Adjust Printer Settings
Properly adjusting print settings helps to increase model clarify and reduce post-processing.
Let’s review these adjustments. Orient the model so that the critical surface faces upwards.
For maximum clarify, choose the glossy surface finish.
Over exposure of VeroClear parts to UV light results in a yellow-ish tint. To reduce the number of printed and UV lamp passes, use the high speed printing mode if available.
If the parts on the train are different sizes, try to orient them so that their z-height is as similar as possible. This is to reduce overexposure of the clear material which can cause yellow discoloration.
Step 4: Post-Processing
Once printed, you can enhance the transparency of models using the following procedure: For most models, the most efficient way to remove support material is to use a cleaning unit that employs high pressure water jetting. Be careful not to damage delicate models when cleaning with a WaterJet.
Media blasting is not generally recommended because it can create small pivots in the model's surface. However, for a frosted surface finish, mask the parts of the model you do not want to look frosted and then media blast the unprotected area.
To remove surface imperfections and unwanted layering, make sure that the model is completely dry and lightly sand all surfaces with 200-Grit sandpaper.
Dry sanding may leave scratches on the model. To remove them, lightly wet sand the model with 400-grit, then 600-Grit, and finally 1000-grit sandpaper. Rinse the model between each sanding to remove any dust or residue.
To lubricate the model's surface while wet sanding, use soapy water, mineral oil, or vegetable oil.
Step 5: Optional Sanding
For an exceptional finish, sand the model with 1,500-grit micro-mesh sandpaper. You can continue sanding with 1800-grit, 2,400-grit, 3,600 grit and 4000-grit micro-mesh sandpaper. Rinse the model between each sanding to remove dust and residue.
Step 6: Buffing
Finally, apply a polishing compound such as 3M plastic polish with buffing wheel or a polishing tool.
Work the polishing compound onto all surfaces of the model then buff off the compound with a soft cloth or clean buffing pad.
Step 7: Conclusion
By following the best practices for printer adjustment and post-processing, you can achieve the best possible result when printing transparent parts using VeroClear.