There is an unmet need in the additive manufacturing marketplace for the capability to print internally transparent parts affordably and with sufficient mechanical properties. Currently, transparent parts are available by material jetting and vat photo-polymerization; however, these processes are limited by cost, poor mechanical properties and long-term stability. Fused filament fabrication (FFF) is a more affordable and accessible prototyping technology. Unfortunately, FFF currently cannot produce transparent objects due to the interlayer voids created by this process. Herein we present a new acrylic material and processing strategies for printing optically transparent parts by fused filament fabrication (FFF). The proposed material maintains properties inherent to acrylic resins, such as weathering resistance, color retention and optical performance. In this presentation, we will introduce the parameters relevant to printing acrylic filament, discuss case studies involving printing and post-processing, and contrast the optical performance available by acrylic FFF to existing the properties available from existing technologies.
- Understand the overcome challenges (internal voids, surface roughness, time) related to printing transparent parts via FFF
- Understand the techniques (materials, processing, post-processing) used to overcome challenges related to printing transparent parts via FFF