Mar. 6, 2015 | By Alec

Creating truly transparent objects with 3D printing technology remains something truly difficult, as transparent polymers are simply just very difficult to extrude. While several 3D printing technologies have been developed in recent years that are getting very close – such as the stereolithography (or SLA) 3D printers like the Form1+ - perhaps the best results have been produced by the Dutch start-up LUXeXceL Group. But as labels about ‘the best’ and so on can only truly be based on comparative studies, LUXeXceL recently performed a series of tests to truly capture differences between technologies.

For those of you who’ve never heard of LUXeXceL Group, they are the pioneers of very new 3D printing technology they call ‘Printoptical 3D printing technology.’ Based in Goes, the Netherlands, they launched a new additive manufacturing platform and a new clear material "LUX-Opticlear" last year, allowing high quality optics manufacturing up to 20mm in height.

Printoptical 3D printing is essentially a one-step ‘CAD-to-Optic’ technology that prints optical components without the need for post-processing like polishing, grinding and coloring after printing. Their technique is based on proven wide-format industrial inkjet printing equipment. Transparent droplets of a UV-curable polymer are jetted (rather than layered) and then cured by strong UV-lamps which are integrated onto the print head. The results? Geometric freeform shapes that may include transparent prisms or lenses, as well as full color 3D graphics and textures.

One of these does not look like the others.

Printoptical 3D printing has proven so effective that LUXeXceL recently opened a 3D printing service for customers, where you can simply upload your designs to their online platform and receive the Printoptical results within just ten days. Read more about that service here.

What is truly transparent?

But since then, the question of ‘which technology is better?’ has continued to gone unanswered. LUXeXceL therefore put together a little experiment involving SLA, Multi Jet Modeling (or MJM, which is similar to SLA technology but requires wax support structures) and Polyjet 3D printers, as well as their own printoptical technology, to see which was better. While all four of them are capable of producing excellent-quality results (above), the printoptical results look less like plastic and more like glass. While depending on the project (and budget) you’re working on, I can definitely see the added value of that quality. What do you think?


Posted in 3D Printing Technology


Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive