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Benchmark on Clear 3D Print Materials

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Benchmark Transparent and Optical 3D Printing Resins

Following the earlier launch of a clear 3D print materials comparison, Dutch Luximprint, the global service provider in 3D printing of optics and optically clear components, launched a next in-depth benchmark on transparent 3D printing materials to help designers and engineers understand the possibilities with clear plastics for various applications.

3D Printing of Optical Quality Parts

Meanwhile, there is a variety of 3D printing technologies available on the market that can print transparent parts. However, using them to create parts with optical functionality, such as lenses and light guides, seems to be a very limited option.

Clear 3D print materials comparison by Luxexcel including a variet of available 3D printing technologies.
Clear 3D print materials comparison including a variety of available 3D printing technologies.

Clear 3D Print Materials Benchmark

Back in 2015, a research conducted on 3D printed clear parts using different 3D printing technologies was published. Most of these technologies can be used to create transparent parts, it is clear however that functional optical parts as used in illumination and increasingly imaging applications, can only be realized today by Additive Optics Manufacturing technology. Using this ‘droplets-on-demand’ build process, smooth surfaces can be achieved straight from the printer with no need for post-processing, such as polishing or grinding.

3DPrinting.Lighting_Luxexcel clear 3D print materials benchmark_5_Total Light TransmissionMaterial Properties and Functions

For all the parts, the optical properties of the materials samples were measured, as well as the total and diffusive light transmission. When creating parts with optical functionality, a maximum efficiency and minimum haze values are important.

3DPrinting.Lighting_Luxexcel clear 3D print materials benchmark_5_Diffusive Light TransmissionMaterial Yellowing by UV-curing

The yellowness index of the different clear 3D print materials, as caused by the UV-curing the materials during the printing process to bring it from a liquid into a solid state is another interesting topic to have a look at. Generally, plastic materials age faster when exposed to an extraordinary amount of UV-light. Influences on the optical behavior are limited, it may, however, influence the color temperature of the emitted light rays.

Comparison of the total and diffusive light transmission for each of the evaluated materials.Whitepaper ‘Clear 3D Print Materials’

A whitepaper containing the full benchmark, backgrounds and further explanations is available on request, please contact the companies’ sales engineers to learn about the availability.

Pictures in this post are courtesy of Luxexcel / Luximprint.

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