What would be the best way to make a transparent printed part?

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So I’m going to be making a fightstick, and one of the ideas I had was to make it completely transparent minus a potential steel plate at the bottom, with a laser cut plexiglass top plate. The main frame which the PCB will sit on is a 3D object with some small hollows to fit switches:

My original idea was to 3D print this, but making that transparent would be quite tough? What would be the best approach for this? I’ll also have to insert some standoffs for the screws to hold it all together, thus the small corner holes which I thought I could heat up slightly to expand, fit standoff in, then let it cool around it.

Thanks for the help!

Ive never tried it and cant imagine the clarity is very high but you can get Transparent PETG for the X1 - https://store.bambulab.com/products/petg-basic?variant=40854935404659

The other option is using Resin but again its not going to be clear like glass and it depends on the size.

If you want it really clear it will be tricky, I assume it would require a lot of sanding and polishing.

Have you considered using the Laser to cut it out of Acrylic instead? You’d have to modify the design but it would be much easier to get good results.

You can get some transparent resins for the resin printer if the build plate is big enough for the part.

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Might need a bit of redesigning, but you could certainly use a sheet of lasercut acrylic. I suspect a 3d printed lid like that would have a lot of flex in it which you may not want for a game controller

If you want blind holes you could always use the mini mill in the metalwork area or the cnc.

If you’re willing to put in some elbow grease, you can sand transparent PLA or PET until it’s clear. Use wet’n’dry paper, start with about 120 grit, then 240, 300, 400, 600, 1000, 2000 and 3000. I normally find that after I’ve done the 600 or 1000 step I can see what I missed on the 120 step and can go back and fix it.

Only thing is that the above is tedious, and you should consider acrylic, as Sean says.

I don’t think the flex would be much of a problem, since it’s a controller that’s fairly small (215mm x 125mm), with a three layers of acrylic (top one isn’t pictured) , a PCB and the aforementioned frame that it’ll all sit in:

It’s also meant to sit on your lap, not really held in your hands. I could certainly use acrylic, would be fun to learn how to use the CNC for it…

@realGarethEvans I naively thought I could just spray some stuff on resin and have it magically be clear, but I realise that resin prints still have tiny layer lines that would need to be sanded down. Ugh.

Maybe I should come around to an electronics night for some design ideas!

Ah yes, some people say you can ‘just’ spray on clear filler, but I’ve never had any real success with that.

If you’re around at the space some time, I could bring some transparent PLA and some wet’n’dry paper, and you could print out a little section of your print and see how you get on. I’ll be around tonight for the open evening if that’s any help.

Funny, I’m reparing my brother’s fight stick :smiley:

Honestly, the best solution would be to switch to acrylic and laser it out, additive manufacturing it’s not the right solution to give you transparency, the transparent resin will become yellow with time, FDM would be better but you need to print slow to keep the geometry consistent across the layers

I can do tomorrow around 19:00 ish for the electronics night for some transparent PLA testing if you’re free?

Suppose you could also do spray plus sanding with something like a dremel tool with a wide sanding attachment, if the elbow grease is a bit much, no?

@emuboy Always nice to meet a fellow enthusiast :stuck_out_tongue: Is it just him or do you play as well? I always thought that the acrylic over the top would help block out the UV rays thus preventing yellowing, is this a quirk of the material itself?

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I’m afraid I’m elsewhere tomorrow, and next Thursday too. Free pretty much any other evening (and most daytimes) in the next couple of weeks. Or if that doesn’t work, I can bring in the plastic and some sandpaper and leave it somewhere where you can find it.

I play too, I’m one of the retro gaming enthusiast around

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CNC Kitchen on Youtube has a couple of videos on created 3d printed FDM parts.
The mostly he compared transparent PETG, resin, and CNC’d acrylic - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5b2JURmNTA
I think there’s another video where he talks in more depth about print settings to achieve better results with transparent filament. If that’s the path you want to go down

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Cheers Gareth, I can do Sunday, or any other evening during the week really (but I’d be getting there at 7pm ish during the week). Would be cool to play with, though I am leaning towards the CNC option or will see what I can redesign for straight acrylic.

Thanks @Hugo_Sharman-Firth, that really makes me want to get inducted on the mini CNC…

I can come down on Sunday afternoon, but would need to be gone by about 5:30. Otherwise, this Friday, Saturday, Monday, Wednesday (though it would be a bit later) or Friday. Any of those is as good for me as the others, so take your pick.

Sorry, change of plan because I’ve just received an invitation for Sunday lunch. All those other days are available though.