Jan.1, 2012

Commercial 3D printers have been printing Polycarbonate for a while. But what about DIY 3D printers for hobbyist? Following an experiment from richrap.blogspot.com of 3D printing Polycarbonate with Prusa Mendel, Luke Chilson and Alex English from ProtoParadigm LLC have been testing polycrabonate on Makerbot and Ultimaker 3D printer. Polycarbonate is a very durable material with high optical clarity and high melting temperature(around 260C). It can be an ideal material for making "crystal" clear objects.

Luke and Alex split up the sample of the Polycarbonate - one was left in the dehydrator and another in the open air. This is to test how the moisture from the material could affect the 3D printing result. There is obviously a difference. Objects printed with the dried Polycarbonate are clear and smooth without hiccups; objects made from samples in the open air has occasionally voids and bubbles. Objects printed from undried filament has obviously a reduction in clarity and surface smooth.

Below is a video of clear polycarbonate 3D printed in a Makerbot Thing-O-Matic.

Posted in 3D printing materials


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Sage wrote at 9/12/2014 10:25:35 PM:

Thank you tim for your input. I'm looking at buying a 3d printer, but want to know if printing clear would be possible. That helped "clarify" some of my questions (haha).

tim wrote at 6/25/2013 2:42:40 AM:

hi i work for a plastic extrusion company and i make a lot of pipes from polycarb. just by looking at your photos it looks like you need to do a better job drying your material. if you want perfectly clear polycarb it needs to dry at 250 degrees F for 4 to 6 hours. you can achieve this by using an oven not a dehydrator

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