Transparent PETG Basic - Any tips?

I didn’t think to post process the printed objects but it looks like something I might have to include later down the road. I cannot believe how much clearer the object becomes just with a coat of that polyurethane paint.

I’m astonished and very happy you had good success with the profile even if it was a baseline to start with im happy you’re able to achieve good results. Thank you for sharing (I knew I’d have a book to read when you responded) :crazy_face: In a good way!

I do hope more people try it out and let me know their thoughts, I don’t really have a way to spread the word so I’ll just hope people find it. :ice_cube:

Well I would call this profile a success. I have been trying for quite a while now searching for a recipe that will produce optical clarity. The CNC Kitchen video had me skeptical because truth be told, his results aren’t that impressive.

This is what I was able to achieve last night during an 8 hour print. I used Sequence by Object print function so that each of the two objects were printed in sequence thus ensuring minimum head pickup. The first object was a 25mm cubed primitive, the second was a 5mm thick by 60mm diameter disc primitive.

I cheated a bit in that I sanded both using graduated wet sanding starting at 240 grit and worked up to 1500 grit. Then after I removed as much of the layer lines that I could, I then hit it with a polyurethane clear coat spray paint. Again, what I was trying to achieve was optical clarity through the media itself, I can always do some type of vapor smoothing if need be but I wanted to try mechanical means first.

You be the judge. Would you categorize these as optically clear?

Now I still have not been able to get the nozzle lines out of the print but in fairness, I haven’t really optimized for that yet. What I was trying to prove was, is it possible to get optical clarity using transparent media.

This is what they looked like before they were taken off the plate. The plate was a smooth High Temp Bambu plate with two coats of Aquanet mainly to act as a smoothing and release agent.

You can see that the although both the cube and the disk were using the same profile, the disk took on a milky appearance that I was not have to get out.

Which surprised me to tell the truth. I say that because I produced a similar 30mm disc, in fact it was the same disc in the same profile just scaled. Yet that smaller disk was totally transparent after just a modest amount of sanding and polyurethane.

I will repeat this process with the disk only but I want to first dry the filament overnight just to make sure that moisture isn’t contributing and then I want to print it using concentric fill pattern. My hopes are that this might force the nozzle to behave more like spiral vase mode.


Hey, can you please upload the profile? I think I missed it?

Its on MakerWorld How To Print Ice 🧊 by ExtremeElementz - MakerWorld


This is something I got interested in, as well. Very cool results and experimentation here!
One thing I’m curious about is if anyone has tried achieving this kind of clarity with the “Glass” colored PLA filaments such as the Inland/Micro Center branded ones? I own a few of those, such as a glass purple, glass yellow and glass watermelon pink. When I first bought them, I was new to 3D printing and assumed they’d just look like glass with standard printing. (Spoiler: Nope!)

Hi Twyrick, looking at those filaments you mentioned I don’t think they were designed to be transparent but I do not have experience with them. I would not use the print profile I created to print PLA as the temps are too high but if you do experiment with transparent PETG with this profile I’d love to see what you come up with! Those glass filaments from Inland sure do look cool, might have to eventually give them a try.

I have already optimized for this scenario as well, in case anyone cares… here are makerworld and links:

Note that the pictures here are before any post-processing or coatings. I assume sanding and coatings can improve matters further.

Hi @Arlock we all care, it’s great that you are sharing your maker world and printables links for the community. Giving people choice and allowing us to learn from one another is huge.

Even if I am a little bias on printing :ice_cube: :wink:

This process takes a long time and testing each value with attempt in creating great profiles is a slow process, especially since we both know that changing variables one at a time and recording our findings is the best method. Glad to have you part of the community and thanks again for sharing!

The whole entire point of this forum is to share and share alike. The only sin would have been to keep it to yourself.

Totally agree :clap:Which is why the saying “Many hands make light work” applies in full force here.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow find a way to calculate all the possible permutations of a print profile let’s say, and then for those who are interested in loaning their machine-time, the process would delegate one aspect of the variables and then the user would take photos of the output. Then the process would take those photos and the setting and place them in a searchable library. But that is just not practical as it would be impossible to enforce false data as well as the cyber security concerns.

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Hey everyone, thanks for all the helpful info you’ve shared here. Quick question - have you determined whether chamber temp has a noticeable effect on the clarity of your parts? Should I leave the door open on my printer or close it for higher temps? Thanks!

I can answer what I discovered. Temperature had no impact on the samples I ran. Speed was the most impactful item followed by layer height.

I can also now report my findings with SunLu filament and to put it bluntly, they have no business calling this transparent. You can see for yourself.

$21/spool Sunlu on the right. And $15/Spool CC3D(aka HZS3D) on the left. Both printed back to back with Sunlu having the “dried-before-use advantage”. The Sunlu filament had 20g of humidity taken out of a out-of-box spool.

I also ran this test at the optimal temp tower temperature as well as the extreme top and bottom temps for their respective temp tower calibration tests. There was no difference in clarity between tests.

If you want to duplicate my tests. Simply use ExtremeElementz Makeworld IceCube Profile Then simply make a cube primitive but change the height to 6mm. Then run with defaults on.

The next step is to take both test samples and sand them using wet sandpaper. I started at 220 grit and worked up to 600 grit. Then I did a final polish at 1500 grit and finished it off with a single light coat of polyurethane paint. I did a quick wet test before the paint just to see what the clarity would look like wet. There was no difference. The polyurethane did not react with either surface material. The purpose of this phase is simply to measure the optical clarity of the internal material without influence of nozzle strokes or bed texture.

Do I feel ripped off? You bet I do. I spent $6 or 40% more for a POS filament that supposedly tells us they are superior. So whenever I see someone try to convince me that company [Fill-in-the-blank] is superior, I’ll ask them to prove it in a bake-off like this one.

To say that I am BllSht on these manufacturer hype and claims would be an understatement. I am p*ssed-off.

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That’s not my profile lol but it’s ok! Also to note I will be adding a 4mm cube and cylinder primitive for easier testing hopefully tonight. :wink:

Thank you again Olias for being a voice to recommend my profile and to add your stellar post processing recommendation. :pray:t4:

My bad. I right-clicked on the wrong one. I edited and fixed it. Gotta give credit where credit is due. :+1:

Your results are great to see if that was my profile + your post processing. I have never used CC3D filament before but now I’m compelled to try some out but I’m curious about their transparent colors now. It’s too bad they don’t have a blue it would really go great with this profile.

I’m back to messing with the profile again hoping to add some new “Sculptures” and update the listing and profile hopefully soon. Trying to find the best way to post change-log updates without plastering it all over the page. I tried exporting the excel document but Maker World doesn’t support that and even if it did, it appears my actual info was attached to the document so I need to look into that too…

This is a super interesting project, I have been trying to figure out how best to approach making transparent prints.

I think the textured bed I am using is really hurting my results have any of you messed with the G10 beds? I’m thinking about buying the one from lightyear.

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Finally got photo access. These are probably my best results so far, would love some feedback on them.

Left is 0.6 mm nozzle. I heard that bigger nozzles are better for transparent filament.

Nice work. :+1:

They look good but it’s hard to tell from the photos what we are looking at in order to give you specific feedback.

What is the material thickness? That will give us a hint as to the optical clarity you actually achieved. Also, if you haven’t already done so, print a thick piece so that you can stand it up on end and take a downward view shot. This too will help gauge the optical clarity you achieved.

Also, is this right from the printer? Did you do any post processing work? Can you take an angle shot so we can see the surface features?

I for one will be very interested since I haven’t seen a 0.6 mm nozzle piece yet and I would love to see a side by side comparison.

Material Thickness is 2.5mm, I’ll try to make a thicker piece and stand it on it’s side. This is right from the printer no post processing, I’ll include an angled shot.

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Very nice. I might suggest a 6mm to 10mm piece since that will be easy to stand up on its edge.

Based on the top down view, I think you nailed it on the subject of layer adhesion. I’m not seeing any filament separation. Now what you’re looking for next is to see what the properties of the actual filament material is with respect to optical clarity. Don’t be surprised if you see some slight lines or bubbles in the material, it’s unavoidable.

For post processing, you could use sanding and then clear coat paint but for a temporary affect, just wet the sides when taking the pic, that should be enough to achieve a neutral change in the index of refraction between the surface and the air thus giving it a more glass-like property albeit temporarily until the surface dries. BTW: If you don’t want to hassle with paint, clear nail polish also works.

Also, don’t forget to mention the filament brand you used.

And to answer your question above. I’ve used smooth surface build plates as well as ironing on the surface. I probably performed over 20 tests over the last month and I can’t say that any smooth surface plate was better than the other. I have three of them. Also, I found Aquanet hair spray over the high temp plate sprayed like spray paint to achieve a specular finish and allowed to dry, was among the most optical clarity I could achieve before post processing. You have to remember to wash off the hairspray off the piece though.

I’m curious if you used any adhesive on your build plate. I found PETG to be destructive when I did not use adhesive of some kind, whether it be solid glue stick, Bambu liquid glue or Aquanet hair spray.

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The prints turned out great, it appears you’re using a textured bed which gives the pieces a frosted bottom appearance so a smooth plate will definitely improve the clarity further. :wink: But your prints still turned out great! I will be hopefully ordering .6 and .8 nozzles in the future for testing and profile creation. :ice_cube: Thank you for trying out the profile!