Simulating Glass: How to 3D Print Clear Materials

3rd November 2020

What is VeroUltraClear?

VeroUltraClear is a PolyJet material that offers an excellent simulation of PMMA, with all the benefits that 3D printing brings.

Why use clear material?

When looking at adding a 3D printer to your design arsenal, you might wonder where the limits of 3D printing lie. For product designers, it’s often the case that a prototype needs to include a clear component – be it glass or otherwise – and this may pose a problem.

Clear materials might well be taken for granted in the end product, but when the subject of prototyping with transparent materials arises it quickly becomes clear how widespread and essential they really are.

Where prototypes utilise clear features – such as in lenses, screens, lighting components or to aid visualisations of internal workings – it is challenging to accurately represent a final production material. 

A strong, transparent alternative to glass, PMMA (commonly known as acrylic) is an excellent material choice but is tricky to work with. Traditional production methods such as CNC machining and injection moulding require a significant up-front machine cost as well as engineering expertise. 

When their facilities lack the capability to work with PMMA, designers are forced to either outsource the production of the prototype (at great expense) or omit the clear component entirely, to the detriment of the design process.

It can be time and cost-intensive to fine-tune and perfect products that have clear features, with multiple design iterations required. When under pressure to bring a product to market, having to wait on third parties to create and deliver prototypes is a significant stumbling block, cascading into longer lead times.

Outsource no more

But now there’s a simpler, easier alternative. VeroUltraClear(S) is a PolyJet material that offers an excellent simulation of PMMA, with all the benefits that 3D printing brings. There’s no need for outsourcing of prototype manufacture with a printer like the Stratasys J55, as multi-material parts can be printed overnight, in one fell swoop.

VeroUltraClear(S) has excellent transparency, with 85-92% light transmittance and a yellow index of 0.6-1.2. This means excellent performance combined with the convenience of 3D printing. 

Gone are the days of waiting weeks for a high-quality prototype. The popular J55 offers office-friendly 3D printing at an affordable price. It can print up to five different materials simultaneously, while only making the same amount of noise as a household refrigerator (53 dB). 

With a J55 in your office, creating multi-material parts with clear components has never been easier. High-resolution, Pantone-verified colour prints can be in the hands of your clients in a matter of hours, as ideas become reality with minimum fuss.

Request a sample

As all product designers well know, there’s no substitute for having a physical model in your hands. For that reason, we urge you to request a free sample part. See for yourself how impressive VeroUltraClear(S) really is.

VeroUltraClear is a PolyJet material that offers an excellent simulation of PMMA, with all the benefits that 3D printing brings.

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