How to get clear PLA filament print more clearly?

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There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours on a clear PLA print, just to have it come out looking foggy or milky. How to get transparent / clear PLA filament to print more clearly? Before handing this issue it’s necessary to learn some truth about 3D print results of clear 3D printer filament. And then, there share tips and tricks that help you get the clearest prints possible. Let’s get started!


▲Clear pla filament 1.75mm of Flashforge

  1. Truth about 3D print results of clear PLA 

PLA filament is usually sold in various colors. Transparent / clear pla is one type of it. As clear it is called, we have to realize the fact that none plastic clear pla filament of any brands could reach the effects of glass clarity. The clear crystal-like object images you searched on internet that were self-claimed as 3D printouts of clear 3D printer filament are decently handled after printing finished, whether through photographic tactics or through post-processing skills after printing. 

If your goal is glass-like transparency, filament 3D printer may be not the best option. You’re suggested to try transparent resin printing using a resin 3D printer. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean the transparent effect of clear PLA filament should be defied. 


▲Flashforge clear PLA print: primitive with no post-process

We can reach better see-through effects of clear 3D printer filament than the above when using proper slicing and post-processing methods. Let’s head to the next section revealing how to do it.

  1. How to improve print results of clear PLA 

Except for a good selection of clear PLA product, good slicing setting and dedicated post-process contribute a lot in raising its clarity.

2.1 Finer slicing makes finer print results

When printing with clear PLA filament 1.75mm, a fine printout that is with no layer lines, no air bubbles, and well-textured eventually shows better transparency results. Eminent slicer setting helps a lot in reaching perfect print. 

Dispel layer lines

layer lines act just like lenses which bounce the light around inside the filament material. So, we need adjust slicing parameters that may have impacts on causing layer lines, like slowing print speed and lowering layer height, to weaken or even eliminate layer lines on the printing model. A flat surface bounces and reflects light ray evenly so as not to abate light-admitting quality of the clear PLA filament.

layer lines1

▲layer lines on printout

Get rid of air bubbles

The same light refraction principle as layer lines, air bubbles also gives an opportunity to bounce light around. Besides, when air bubbles poured in, the printed model would take on a heterogeneous surface texture, which is an deadly enemy of transparency.

air bubble

▲Filament air bubbles

Air bubbles inside the clear PLA filament, uneven extruding from printer’s nozzle, and insufficient flowing of filament, all may lead to air pocket problems. The slicing resolution is to increase the flow rate of the transparent PLA coming out of the nozzle. More material flowing out makes for less chance of air pockets, while for the former two problems, filaments of high-quality and printer extruder of high-configuration are good resolution.

Lower fill density

A printed object may be a solid one or a hollow one, which all depends on how and where we’ll apply the printed object. If we print a bottle or vase that is fully hollow and only a bottle shell is needed to print, infill is in no consideration. Whereas, if printing an enclosed model, such as a garage kit model that draw higher attention to good surface outlook than to good strength, we take “infill” into consideration. 

▲Slicer setting on Infill Density

we often don’t print an enclosed model that is so fully infilled (solid) as to save filament as well as speed up print speed. When inner density is lower than 100%, the model becomes hollow. That explains the fill density parameter in the slicer. Tracking back to clear PLA printing, what’s the point of adjusting fill density? Less infill density like 5% elicits improved transparency! 

2.2 Post-processing to reach glassy clarity

In the pictures below you can clearly see my fingers through the transparent PLA filament bottle. Actually this extent of transparency is already 90% success and capable of satisfying most users’ needs. 

clear pla bottle

▲Vase printed with clear / transparent pla 

Whereas, if you persist in affording excessive labor and endeavor in post-processing, you can approach glass-like clarity.

Using sandpaper or power tools to sand it 

Try to sand the surface of the print with a fine-grit sandpaper. Start with a coarse grit and work your way up to a finer one until the surface is smooth. Your end results will be a beautifully transparent object that allows you to see perfectly through it.

  1. Best Uses for Clear PLA Filaments 

Transparent PLA filaments are perfect for those who want to add a touch of transparency to their prints. And, good application of transparent PLA print makes their lucidity manifested adequately!

3.1 Transparent enclosures

If you’re looking to create a transparent enclosure for your electronics project, Clear 3D printer filament is a great option. You can use it to create a clear case for your Raspberry Pi, for your game consoles, or for your iPhone. Transparent case makes the circuit board, the console switch, or the iPhone Apple Logo visible!

3.2 Transparent bottles

Transparent vase, bottle, and flower pot is also adding fun to your daily life. Transparent bottles sets foundation for eye catching arrangement, definitely a unique gift idea in occasions showcasing flowers and bouquets. It’s quite easy to use transparent 3D printer filament to print transparent bottles, because you only print one shell count and no infill is needed when doing slicing setting. Transparent vase containers tremendously show off the clarity of the clear PLA filament!

pla flower pot

▲flower pot printed using clear pla filament 1.75mm 

3.3 Customized transparent gadgets

How about decorating your car with clear emblems? How about printing a clear jewelry prototype? How about decorate your house with clear accessories? Clear PLA 1.75mm is great for creating custom gadgets, like clear prototype and clear things for house ornament. 

clear gadget

▲Clear PLA gadgets

3.4 Transparent Light diffuser

A most wonderful use of clear 3D printing filament is for brilliant light effects! Transparent PLA is perfect for making transparent lampshades. From a simple lamp cover to a vibrant lighting fixture, LEDs provide an interesting way to use clear filaments.


▲Lamp covers printed with transparent pla

Final saying

All in all, this article clearly describes how good slicer setting, dedicated post-processing, and proper using scenes make the glamour of clear PLA filament clearly showcased. 

In addition to all that, we should have learned that premium clear PLA product, printing in a nice 3D printer is the very premise of getting clear effect. Good clear PLA filament that is extracted from high quality raw materials and with fine manufacturing formula can take on a color that is relatively more natural and clear. Good clear PLA material ensures no air bubbles or no uneven flow extruded when molding in the 3D printer, which furthermore guarantees uniform texture of the printouts and helps in reaching better transparent effect.

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