Clear 3D Printing:
PLA, or Polylactic Acid, is a thermoplastic derived from renewable resources like corn starch. PLA filament is the most popular 3D printer filaments in the hobby and is typically easier to worth with compared to ABS filament. PLA is perfect for a wide range of applications, is affordable, and produces high quality prints. Being easy to work with, PLA filament has a wide variety of creative color options on the market, including Natural PLA filament.
Natural / Clear PLA filament is a translucent filament, allowing some light to pass through. This unique quality gives your prints a beautiful, glass-like appearance. Natural PLA is perfect for creating decorative objects, ornaments, jewelry, and other prints.
You can shop now for Natural / Clear 3D printing filament at the link below. We manufacture our filaments in Canada and take pride in doing so. We offer free shipping and quality and consistency are cornerstones of our company, you can be assured that you will receive the best. Thank you for choosing us as your source for Clear / Natural PLA filament.
What is Clear / Natural PLA filament?
Clear/Natural PLA is filament made without any colors, making it translucent. Clear / Natural PLA filament is typically made in the same way as any other commonly used filament, although different manufacturing processes may take place to achieve better results.
The difference is that no colorants are added in the manufacturing process. Although no colors are added, this does not mean that the PLA filament is transparent. Naturally, clear filament will have a yellow hue to it. Although we all want true transparent filament, good results can still be achieved via preparation and post processing.
True transparent objects achieved through transparent 3d printing are impossible. Unfortunately, the technology to print transparent is not there. In order to be truly transparent, the filament and printed object would need to be fully see-through, such as glass or a window. Natural PLA has the potential to become one of your more commonly used filaments if used correctly, as it can give great translucent results.
Applications And Use Cases
As with any 3D printing filament, your opportunities and creative output are endless. Although, being able to create a printed object that is not bound to a color opens up many avenues of what you can do.
One example could be to create a clear object and then add an LED light inside of it. This is a great way to get creative for decorations, lighting fixtures, and more. The translucent nature of the filament allows for a glow effect to be created, which is awesome in itself. When using clear filament with a lighting feature, it is important to consider the proper settings to ensure the most amount of lighting passing through.
Another example is to take advantage of the clear color and make items that would look great see-through. Examples of this could be phone cases, eyeglass frames, ornaments, and so on.
Out of sight, out of mind. For some functional use cases, such as screws, it is often desirable to reduce the appearance of them. An optically transparent print can be overlooked by the eye giving you the ability to conceal certain aspects or the entirety of your print.
Another example is that you can use a clear filament to make a print that would normally be quite fragile, such as glass. Although not completely unbreakable, the increased strength of the PLA over glass increases its durability. This could also lead to creating other items that are stronger than they appear. This is often done with vases with clear filament. With the proper preparation and post-processing, a 3D printed vase with clear filament can be just as beautiful as a vase with glass. You are also able to add your creativity and personalization to the design.
One final example of a use case for natural/clear 3D printing filament is the ability to paint on them. While painting is possible on all colors and can look great with the appropriate technique, clear filament allows for your paint to not be obstructed by darker or stronger colors in the process.
How To Get The Best Results: Techniques And Settings
Clear 3D Printing
Infill patterns are the structure and pattern inside of your 3d prints, they provide durability, strength, and weight to your prints. High and low infill can both be beneficial in their respective use cases, although while printing with natural PLA filament, it is oftentimes recommended and best to use a lower infill.
With the filament being translucent, if you use a high amount of infill, you would be able to see the infill pattern on the inside. Alongside being able to see the pattern, it would further the cloudy and yellow hue effect because you are layering more filaments together. Depending on the print and its use case, we recommend between 0-5% infill on your 3D prints. Typically, decorative 3D prints do not need as much as functional prints.
Furthermore, layer height is a factor you should consider. You would want larger layers, to minimize the number of layers there is on the print. Fewer layers will provide more transparency. A larger nozzle can help with this as well. A .40 to a .80 nozzle diameter will yield you a better and bigger layer height compared to a .20 nozzle.
A smaller nozzle and layer height will lead to a less transparent and more yellow object due to the higher number of layers being printed. Less layer height will require more time to print but will result in a more clear object.
When printing with Natural PLA, it is recommended to use a temperature that is in the higher end of the recommended range. Our filament works best at 200-220°C, it may take some tinkering to find the perfect temperature for your 3D printer. An appropriate temperature for Clear PLA filament will allow for excellent layer adhesion and a smooth finish.
Printing at a higher temperature and bigger layers should also be done with a slow print speed. Slower print speeds allow for more time for the layers to fuse effectively, and allow for higher accuracy. Print below 60mm/s for best results. A slow printing speed, higher temperature, and bigger layer heights all complement each other in creating a successful print.
While Clear / Natural PLA filament is not fully transparent, due to the nature of PLA, it is still possible to get great results. From decoration to function and without being bound to a certain color, Natural PLA filament allows for your creativity to run free and have a unique filament for all your use-cases. With the proper settings, you can achieve great results and aesthetics from Natural / Clear PLA filament.
At Clavius3D, we take pride in our Canadian manufactured high-quality 3D printing filament. You can take a look at our selection here*.
As always, be sure to experiment with settings to find what works best for you and your printer. Happy Printing!