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Jul 02, 2019, 05:17 AM
The blade numbers go up to 11
stumax's Avatar
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Discussion

3D printing truly transparent parts?


Hi guys, has anyone had any real success in 3D printing canopies yet? I have a few ideas but thought it best to ask the experienced guys here first. My thoughts are:

1. print using clear ABS then vapour polish with acetone. Probably not going to get rid of all the "lines" though.
2. coat the part with one of those transparent epoxy or polyurethane coatings made for pouring onto tabletops etc, such as this:

http://www.feastwatson.com.au/consum...t-details/1536 or that coating which is made for coating foam.

3. print the part quite a bit thicker than required then sand, sand, sand, sand until it is free from printing lines then polish like crazy. My experience polishing plastics is that you need a special type of polish or it will always look hazy. It must be possible to get good results, though, as glasses are made of plastic these days.

4. a combination of some/all of the above.

Any ideas?

Stu.
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Jul 02, 2019, 05:32 AM
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PaulB's Avatar
Someone posted about this before....

They used (as I recall), clear lacquer spray over ABS, pictures looked quite good.

Paul
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Jul 02, 2019, 06:25 AM
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Lynxman's Avatar
Hi, Stu.

This is my best result so far. It's good enough for me but it's not perfectly clear. Clear Prima Easyprint PLA printed single perimeter and 0,24 mm layer height with multiple coats of clearcoat spray on both sides:


Jul 02, 2019, 06:26 AM
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Lynxman's Avatar
When I printed my He-162 I used lower layer height (0,12 mm) and couldn't get the same clarity. It's the same material and paint:
Jul 02, 2019, 06:34 AM
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PaulB's Avatar
Sorry Mr. lynx,
just having a glass of lunch time Port with my boss (hic)... You beat me too it!

Here you go, Lynxman did it...

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...rising-results

Paul
Latest blog entry: Just To Say Hello.......
Jul 02, 2019, 06:38 AM
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Lynxman's Avatar
Looks like I managed to make a typo in that post. I think I used 0,24 mm layer height, not 0,4. Can't imagine it printing well with 0,4 mm layer height, but I'm not sure what I used now that I see that. Hmm.
Jul 02, 2019, 06:54 AM
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Breitlingwings's Avatar
I've not tried yet, but there is a special fillament called "Glace" from Smart Materials. Postprocessing with just alcohol it turns transparent (or almost).

https://www.smartmaterials3d.com/en/...158-glace.html

SmartFIl Glace (2 min 34 sec)
Jul 02, 2019, 11:17 PM
Registered User
Had come across some videos of folks experimenting with clear prints. This stuff is pvb I believe. Polysmooth by Polymaker and just spray the print with alcohol.

More Transparent 3D Print Tests (11 min 52 sec)
Jul 02, 2019, 11:22 PM
Registered User
750 grams for 40 bucks....it may be cheaper to just make a mold but not as much fun I suppose.

https://www.amazon.com/Polymaker-Pol...8-1-spons&th=1
Jul 02, 2019, 11:43 PM
If it flies, I can crash it.
rocketsled666's Avatar
People have been successful making serviceable lenses with SLA 3D printers like my Form2. The clear resin is actually pretty darn clear. And the resin printing method doesn't leave any air gaps like you can get with FDM. The optical quality is decent. I used clear for some parts at one point, but not because I wanted them to be clear, but because that's what I had for resin. Never tried to clean them up. So I can't attest to how good a result is possible. But even without trying to clean them up they had some regions that were clear as glass.
Jul 03, 2019, 09:01 AM
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Lynxman's Avatar
Vacuum forming isn't cheap. The mold may be inexpensive, but I'm never able to get the forming right on the first or even second try some times, and the plastic sheet is pretty expensive compared to filament, though the quality achieved is much better off course.
Jul 03, 2019, 09:21 AM
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Khan's Avatar
Here's another method with wooden plugs : http://www.jivaro-models.org/bouteil...moformees.html (It's in french, but with the pics, it's pretty straigthforward)
I wonder if it could work with PLA plugs, with enough wall thickness for thermal inertia ?
I'm afraid a PETG plug would stick to the PET bottle.
Jul 03, 2019, 09:42 AM
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Lynxman's Avatar
You'll want to fill, sand and paint the plug anyway if you print it so I don't think PETG would necessarily stick to PET sheet.
Jul 04, 2019, 02:56 AM
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PaulB's Avatar
I did a small (Cox's Micro Models) Spitfire canopy using the plug/ PTFE bottle method and used blue foam as a plug just because it was lying on the bench at the time. It was just be a sacrificial test with the idea of putting some glass and epoxy over it but to my surprise, although the foam shrunk back slightly, it worked find and I could even pull another one from the foam.

There is a great video from Rich Harris (SafeLandings) on the tube (can't find a link and YouTube is blocked here at work) about how to do it. The green canopy on my Spyro was done that way (with wood) :-

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...&postcount=535

Paul
Latest blog entry: Just To Say Hello.......
Jul 05, 2019, 05:46 AM
The blade numbers go up to 11
stumax's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks for the info, guys. Is the frosty appearance due to the raw material not being transparent enough or is it due to air being trapped during printing? I'm wondering if it might be necessary to use different speeds & temps to try and get better transparency. An option of course is to 3D print a pattern and vacform over it but it would be nice to be able to print an entire canopy & supporting structure as one piece, even if it takes longer to print than the rest of the aircraft.


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