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.

The following is brought to you by Stratasys.

  1. Step 1: Materials

    What you will need:

    VeroClear cartridge

    Cloth for cleaning the printhead, wiper and roller waste collector


    Media Blaster (optional)

    Duct Tape (for media blasting, optional)

    200-grit sandpaper

    400-grit sandpaper

    600-grit sandpaper

    1000-grit sandpaper

    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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.