3D Printing Clear Transparent Models

It all starts with the modelling material. Surprising as it may seem, not all and in fact very few 3D printers suitable for the office environment have the capability to produce clear or transparent parts. This is largely down to the limited development of clear materials by the 3D printer manufacturers and also whether or not the technology they use to create a model layer by layer lends itself to producing a good quality clear part.

For example, powder based systems such as the ZCorp or 3D Systems Projet do not have the materials or the technical capability to print clear models. These 3D printers use a fine gypsum based powder as the main modelling material, which is not available in a clear format.

Furthermore, very few Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printers have a viable solution for 3D printing clear parts. FDM technology uses a fine filament of modeling material (usually ABS or PC) which is then heated to a molten state and then extruded through a fine nozzle (typically 178 – 330 micron layer thickness). Although this technology does offer users a clear or transparent option, due to the relatively high layer thickness and construct of the models, the parts require a high degree of finishing by hand (sanding and filling) and getting a smooth surface finish can be very labour intensive.

You need to 3D print lenses, bottles, tubes, containers, enclosures, LCD panels, large components and small components, so what’s the answer?

Objet VeroClear material is one of a range of materials available from 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys, capable of producing clear parts both quickly, reliably and cost effectively, with the minimum of post processing.

Developed by world leading 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys Ltd, Objet VeroClear material can be used in a wide range of Objet 3D printers, including the Objet 30 Pro Desktop 3D printer, the Objet Eden range of design series 3D printers including the Objet Eden 260V, Objet Eden350V and Objet Eden 500V systems. Plus, the full range of Objet Connex multi-material 3D printers including the Objet260 Connex, Objet 350 Connex, Objet 500 Connex and Objet 1000.

All these 3D printers use patented Objet Polyjet 3D printing technology, the most efficient and reliable form of creating a 3D printed model from a liquid resin.

So what makes Polyjet print technology so much better than the others?

Stratasys Objet 3D printers have the capability to print parts in very fine layers, either 30 micron layers (High Speed mode)or 16 micron layers (High Quality mode). The materials are all photo-curable, using a UV bulb to change the printed material from a liquid state to a solid state. The material is UV cured during the printing process, and eliminates the need for any post curing in a UV chamber or oven after the print job is finished.

Finally, due to the very fine layering capability of the Objet printers, model surfaces are smooth and therefore require very little finishing or post processing. Models directly from the 3D printer have an excellent level of transparency, and with little effort can be polished to create an optically clear part

Objet VeroClear material can be bring great benefits to applications where clear transparency, accuracy and good dimensional stability are required, such a simulating PMMA LED lenses for the automotive lighting industry, or applications where visualisation is important, such as monitoring fluid flow within medical devices, sanitary ware and utility metering. Additionally, Objet VeroClear material can be put to great effect within the architectural, interior and exterior design, model making and special effects industries.



Source by Tim TJ Smith