PLA (polylactic acid if you want to get scientific) is one of the most popular 3D printing filaments out there. One of its lesser-known attributes is its natural transparency – which you can harness to 3D print clear objects with the same ease as using any other color.
PLA is a naturally derived filament, which means it’s made from plants. It most commonly comes from cornstarch but can also be spun from tapioca roots, sugarcane, or other fibrous growths. It comes out naturally colorless and transparent, but it’s not 100% crystal clear. It will always have a faint yellowish tinge from its natural origins, and the exact tint and intensity of this will vary from company to company depending on their different finishing methods.
That being said, PLA is the easiest and most versatile clear/transparent filament to use. It’s great for objects of all sizes, so you’ll definitely find a place for it no matter what you 3D print.
PLA is one of the most common 3D printing filaments because it’s so easy to work with, and a number of its best properties are enhanced when used in its clear/transparent version.
Despite all its great characteristics, PLA does have a few downsides, some of which are specific to its clear/transparent form and some that are magnified by it.
PLA is not a particularly fussy filament, even with its few eccentricities. Whether you’re just starting out with 3D printing or are coming to it with a seasoned hand, you’ll find it equally easy to spin into your creations. Here are a couple of tips to use it to its optimum ability:
You can use clear/transparent PLA filament for whatever you want to 3D print, but we’ve discovered a couple of projects that look especially cool or work especially well with it.
Pretty much any 3D printing retailer that offers PLA will have a natural or clear/transparent option since that’s technically the easiest kind of PLA to produce. But that doesn’t mean they’re all created equal. Here are our favorites that we’ve picked for their price points, clarity, and/or overall quality:
So go see what clear/transparent PLA 3D printing filament can do for you!
Feature image source: Ultimaker / YouTube
License: The text of "Clear/Transparent PLA Filament – All You Need to Know" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.