If you’re looking to start 3D printing with transparent and clear filaments but are unsure which one to buy, I decided to write this article to help you choose between the best transparent filaments available, be them PLA, PETG or ABS.
Most transparent filaments won’t come out 100% clear due to the nature of 3D printing with the layers and infill, but there are ways to post-process to make them clearer.
Check out the rest of the article to understand and learn more about the transparent and clear filaments available today.
Best Transparent PLA Filament
These are the best options for transparent PLA filament on the market:
- Sunlu Clear PLA Filament
- Geeetech Transparent Filament
One of the best options when it comes to transparent PLA filaments is the Sunlu Clear PLA Filament. It has an excellent self-developed neat winding device that ensures no tangles and no clogs.
Manufacturers state it’s also bubble-free and has great layer adhesion. There is a dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.2mm which is great for 1.75mm filaments.
It has a recommended printing temperature of 200-230°C and bed temperature of 50-65°C.
One user said he’s been having issues with clear PETG filament so he decided to try out this clear PLA filament. He said that this PLA prints very easily and adheres well to the bed and layers. He highly recommends going with this for transparent filaments.
Another user who 3D prints with the Snapmaker 2.0 A250 said he’s bought this 3 times and has been satisfied each time. It’s not a glassy clear model, unless you have some good solid layers, but it has an appealing transparency and works well for LED backlit parts.
You can get yourself some Sunlu Clear PLA Filament from Amazon.
Another great transparent filament that users love is the Geeetech filament from Amazon. It has strict tolerances of +/- 0.03mm which is slightly lower than SUNLU, but still pretty good.
It works with most common 1.75mm filament 3D prints and is easy to use. The manufacturers state that it is clog-free and bubble free for ideal printing. They have a recommended printing temperature of 185-215°C and bed temperature of 25-60°C.
There is a vacuum sealed packaging with desiccants to maintain that low level of moisture to print cleanly. They also offer an extra sealed bag to store the filament.
One user who loves printing with transparent filament said this one has decent transparency, similar to others he has used. He had no issues with tangles and said the dimensional accuracy was pretty good, giving him consistent extrusion throughout his 3D prints.
Another user said he loves everything about this filament and that it prints very easily and well. They said the transparency is good and print quality is smooth without stringing.
You can get yourself some Geeetech Transparent Filament from Amazon.
Best Clear PETG Filament
These are the best options for clear PETG filaments available today:
- SUNLU PETG Transparent 3D Printer Filament
- Polymaker PETG Clear Filament
- OVERTURE Clear PETG Filament
The Sunlu PETG Transparent 3D Printer Filament is a great option if you’re looking to get some clear PETG filament to print with.
PETG basically combines the advantages of both PLA and ABS filament in terms of strength, durability, and ease of printing. This filament has a great dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.2mm and works great with most FDM 3D prints.
It has a recommended printing temperature of 220-250°C and bed temperature of 75-85°C. For the print speed, they recommend anywhere from 50-100mm/s depending on how well your 3D printer can handle speed.
One user said this PETG catches light really nicely and does a good job for low-poly prints that have many angles. He said you won’t be getting a clear as glass model but it does less a decent amount of light through. For ideal transparency, you’ll want to print models with zero infill.
Another user said you can see the transparency through the top and bottom 3 layers of a model into the infill clearly. They mentioned that if they were using thicker layers, it would probably be more optically clear.
He said the material is slightly more brittle than other brands of PETG he’s tried, but it’s still a strong filament.
You can get yourself some Sunlu PETG Transparent 3D Printer Filament from Amazon.
Another great option on the market for clear PETG filaments is the Polymaker PETG Clear Filament, which features heat resistance and more strength than most normal filaments.
It has a recommended printing temperature of 235°C and bed temperature of 70°C
This filament also comes in a fully recycled cardboard spool and features great layer adhesion and has a very consistent color.
One user who recommends this filament said that you may need to tweak around your settings to get things right. Another user who loves this filament thinks the price for it is a bit high, but overall, it gave them great print results.
A user said this was a very strong filament but it strings and blobs before dialing in your settings. It isn’t crystal clear but definitely lets light in so you have to print something that does that well.
You can get yourself some Polymaker PETG Clear Filament from Amazon.
A great option when it comes to clear PETG filaments is the Overture Clear PETG filament.
This filament was designed with a clog-free patent that assures you to get the smoothest prints possible. It features great layer adhesion as well as good light diffusion and is an excellent choice to print any kind of object.
It has a printing temperature of 190-220°C and a bed temperature of 80°C.
Here are some details about the Overture Clear PETG Filament:
- Recommended Nozzle Temperature: 190 – 220°C
- Recommended Bed Temperature: 80°C
One user said that Overture PETG is always of great quality and they love this clear transparent filament since it’s slightly more transparent than other clear PETG filaments.
Users consider this a really cheap and excellent option as it generates great results with good layer adhesion and very smooth prints.
Another user stated you may need to change your settings a bit, but after finding the correct ones, his prints with the Overture Clear PETG Filament turned out perfect.
Check out the video below to find out more about printing transparent PETG prints.
You can get yourself some Overture Clear PETG Filament from Amazon.
Best Clear ABS Filament
These are the best options for Clear ABS filaments available today:
- Hatchbox ABS Transparent White Filament
- HATCHBOX ABS 3D Printer Transparent Black Filament
A great option available in case you’re looking for clear ABS filaments is the HATCHBOX ABS 3D Printer Transparent White Filament. This filament is impact resistance and highly durable.
It has a recommended printing temperature of 210-240°C and bed temperature of 100°C. It is a multi use filament which can withstand a lot of heat, so you can print a lot of different parts with different applications.
One user said that the filament says it’s transparent white, but the filament itself was almost completely clear, though when 3D printing, it doesn’t make it as clear. He said you’ll get as close to clear as you can without using clear polycarbonate filament.
After printing several parts with this filament, he said he was more than satisfied with the results. He made some model lids which previously didn’t show the LEDs on the board, but with this filament, it was a lot easier to see.
Another user said it’s a good idea to use thicker layers to make your prints look more transparent.
One user who owns a Prusa i3 was really impressed with how clear and strong this filament prints, resulting in great final objects. Other 3D printing hobbyists were also equally impressed with the clear and transparent results that this filament achieves.
You can get yourself some HATCHBOX ABS Transparent White Filament from Amazon.
The HATCHBOX ABS 3D Printer Transparent Black Filament is also a great option in case you are searching for clear ABS filaments.#
It has a high tensile strength, which means it can make really sturdy objects. It is a very strong filament with a lot of flexibility, especially when compared to normal PLA.
It has a recommended printing temperature of 210-240°C and bed temperature of 90°C. Remember to always keep ABS filaments in cool, dry places, as ABS can create bubbles if exposed to moisture.
One user said this isn’t really a black color but more of a silver. His first print turned out quite warped and a dull light gray, but at PLA temperatures. He then turned up the printing temperature and it created a lovely glossy 3D print.
Another user was really satisfied with the result of his prints. He says the filament has very little moisture, so there are no bubbles or any popping when printing.
If you want more information about how to print transparent filaments and get the best results, then check out the video below.
You can get yourself some Hatchbox ABS Transparent Black Filament from Amazon.
Best Things to 3D Print with Clear Filament
There are a lot of options of cool things to 3D print with clear filament, in case you need some ideas, I selected a few of them to show.
These are some of the best things to 3D print with clear filament:
- Folded Lamp Shade
- Twisted 6-sided Vase
- Crystal LED Lamp
- LED-lit Christmas Star
- Stacking Boxes
This folded lamp shade is a great option to print with a transparent filament. It is available for free on Thingiverse and was created by user Hakalan.
The folded lamp shade is inspired in folded paper lamp shades and fits perfectly with an E14/E27 LED bulb, which are eco-friendly and have great performance.
You should only use low power LED bulbs, as PLA can catch fire if you’re using normal lightbulbs or high power LEDs, as stated on the printing instructions.
If you want, you can try printing the same model with transparent ABS or PETG, which are filaments that support high temperatures.
Another very cool object to print with the clear filament of your choice is this twisted 6-sided vase. It looks really cool and will be a great decorative item when matched with a transparent filament.
If the model is too tall to fit on your printer, just rescale it on your build plate. This model is also available to be downloaded for free on Thingiverse.
The crystal LED lamp is another really cool object when printed with a clear filament. Also, available for free on Thingiverse, this lamp is a remix of the Giant Crystal model that uses a LED to generate a nice effect.
Many users commented how cool they think this model is, and thanked the designer for making it. You can see some cool “Makes” from real users that have lights shining through the model if you check out the Thingiverse page.
Check out this video of the crystal LED lamp working.
Another interesting option to print with a transparent filament, such as PLA, is the LED-lit Christmas Star, which was made in honor of the 2014 Nobel Prize Winners.
It is a modular star made of five identical parts and all the instructions to mount it are on Thingiverse, with the free .STL file available for download. One user said he has this star in his light display, and it works great.
Another cool model option to print with a clear filament is this decorative Jellyfish. It was designed by Thingiverse user skriver, and it looks really fun when printed with a transparent filament.
It is a great decorative touch to put on a children’s room or a creative area of your house. This shows how transparent filaments work for all sorts of objects, and not just lamps.
The last model in this list are these stacking boxes that you can create with transparent filament, whether PLA, ABS or PETG. You can 3D print as many of these boxes as you want and stack them up nicely for storage purposes, or any other uses you can think of.
The geometry of these models are really simple, so they are easier to print.
The designer recommends to 3D print these with larger nozzles like a 1mm nozzle with a 0.8mm layer height for nice thick layers.One user said he 3D printed these at a 10% infill with a 0.4mm nozzle, and they came out great.
Another user said he has 3D printed a bunch of these with success, but recommended not to scale them down too much since the bottom can break. I’d recommend increasing the bottom thickness to prevent this happening.
Best Infill for Transparent Filament
The infill is the inside of the model and different infill patterns mean different model densities, there are several options available on slicers such as Cura.
There are two main aspects to consider when talking about the best infill in 3D printing:
- Infill Pattern
- Infill Percentage
The best infill pattern for transparent and clear filaments seems to be the Gyroid infill. The Gyroid infill looks great, especially with light shining through it, since it has a unique curvy structure.
The Gyroid infill also allows users to print with a low infill percentage and still generate a really strong object. One user who printed with the Gyroid infill using the SUNLU Transparent PLA Filament was really impressed with how stable this infill is.
Check out this cool video about 3D printing with a Gyroid infill.
For the infill percentage, users recommend either setting to 100% or to 0%. The reason for that is with infill at 0% the object will be as hollow as it can and that may help with its transparency.
With the infill at 100%, it is fully filled by the pattern of your choice. Some patterns help to dissipate light, so filling it completely helps the final object achieve more clearness.
When doing 0%, just remember to add more walls to restore some strength, otherwise your object may end up too weak.
With 100% infill, print with the largest layer height, and a slow print speed. Check out this really cool transparent dice that one user printed using 100% infill with the OVERTURE Clear PETG Filament, which we covered in this article.
For people struggling with various 3D printing issues, you might want have wanted more guidance towards getting ideal 3D printing results. I created a full course that's available to purchase called Filament Printing 101: Beginner's Guide to Filament Printing that takes you through some of the best 3D printing practices early on, so you can avoid those beginner mistakes.