When printing a transparent material using a Stratasys PolyJet 3D printer, any surface where support material touches the model will result in a matte surface that doesn’t transmit light which can stand in contrast with any glossy surfaces. The part can be post-processed to achieve a higher level of light transmission with an even and glossy surface. In this article, we look at a quick and relatively low-effort method for giving a part an even, smooth and transparent finish.
For this process, I used a satin clear enamel paint to coat the part. This paint works well because it is safe to handle after only thirty minutes and can be recoated quickly. For this model, I applied the clear coat in thin, even layers, giving the model between thirty and forty-five minutes between applications to dry.
Using a turntable to manually move the part, I applied the clear coat evenly across the model, taking care not to dwell in any one area. After five coats, the model was showing a high level of transparency and I was satisfied with the result. Applying the coat took between one and three minutes per application, with thirty to forty-five minutes between coats to dry.
After the final coat had finished drying, I held up the model to check the light transmission in the part. The model was highly transparent and had a water clear finish that allowed me to clearly see the inner white material through the outer clear material.
This process is not meant to be a definitive method for achieving a crystal-clear finish on a PolyJet part; it is instead a rapid method that allows a part to be brought to a uniform finish with a low amount of effort. By applying the clear coat evenly in thin layers, the model is given a uniform finish with no manual polishing required. If you are interested in achieving an even higher level of finish, check back for our upcoming blog post on polishing PolyJet parts which goes into more detail on the polishing process.
Watch the video where I walk through the steps to clear coat this PolyJet printed part.
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