Transparent vs. Semi-transparent PLA for lighting effects

  • I want to print some items that will utilize LED lighting inside without openings or ports for the actual lights. The effect I'm going for is a diffused lighting where you cannot see the "guts" of the print. I don't want the individual LEDs or wires visible from the outside or at least would like to reduce that as much as I can. Is there a filament recommendation for this sort of printing?

    I watched a few videos that recommended printing on a tape bed instead of a glass bed to help create a cloudy surface but I don't know why that would work over filament choice. Anyone else have any advice or experience with this?

  • MatterHackers

    @smma The filament materials that have the best luminosity are ABS and T-Glase. Even with its transparent/semi-transparent features, PLA has a tendency to produce "cloudy" or "milky" sections on the print when illuminated. Try a test with Transparent and Semi-transparent PLA and take pics of your illuminated prints. I would be interested in seeing the results.

  • @scott-cahoon Thanks for your comment. I will check out the filament recommendations. I am trying to shoot for the cloudy look because I think it will look nicer in the project I'm looking at so maybe PLA is the right choice. I'll experiment and post results. Thanks.

  • I also tried less infill %, but you'd see these lines more across the print. Depending on the model, you can also try with the vase (no infill), then sand it down a ton without applying a liquid finish like xtc-3d to negate that sanding effect.

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