Glow in the dark filament is a great idea to add creativity to your 3D printing art; so many people wonder about how well it works. I decided to do a good amount of research and put together my thoughts for an in-depth glow in the dark filament guide, along with other useful information.
Glow in the dark filament has gained popularity as a 3D printing material, which can really expand your capabilities of creating cool prints. Once you dial in the right settings and choose a good glow in the dark filament, the possibilities are endless.
This article will aim to guide you through using glow in the dark filament, as well as detail some reviews and ideas that you can put to use so keep reading.
What is Glow in the Dark Filament?
Glow in the dark filament is made out of phosphorescent materials, mainly being strontium aluminates, but zinc sulfide and calcium sulfide are also used (weaker versions).
Now these ‘glowing’ materials are used in combination with PLA or ABS filament to create glow in the dark filament.
When you notice how other composite PLA or ABS filament is made, such as carbon fiber, wood or ceramic filament, they are made similarly which takes on extra properties.
These materials work by actually absorbing energy directly from energy sources, the strongest source being ultraviolet radiation from a black light. Direct sunlight is the next most powerful energy source, followed by fluorescent light then finally incandescent lights.
It glows for a relatively short period of time once ‘charged up’.
Glow in the dark is mostly green because the human eye is the most sensitive to green light, meaning green can glow brighter through our perceptions. This is also why you see night vision goggles in a greenish tint.
Glow in the dark filament doesn’t look very special at first, looking like standard filament, but after absorbing enough light it will showcase its awesome abilities.
You can get your own glow in the dark filament from Amazon for a great price. I’d recommend the MGChemicals PLA Glow in the Dark Filament, which has great ratings and good dimensional accuracy for smooth printing.
Beginners Guide to Printing Glow in the Dark Filament
If you want to know how to print with glow in the dark filament, I have some general settings and guidelines to try and follow.
|Material||Glow in the dark filament (PLA or ABS based)|
|Properties||– Fused with phosphorescent material, allowing prints to glow in the dark|
|Applications||– Indoor display and design items|
– Outdoor safety marks and signages
|Recommended Printing Temperature||– 180 to 220 °C for PLA-based filament|
– 210 to 240 °C for ABS-based filament
|Recommended Bed Temperature||– Heated bed not necessary for PLA-based filament, but a heated bed at 60 to 70 °C may be used|
– A heated bed at 100 to 110 °C to be used with ABS-based filament
|Bed Adhesion||– Standard blue painters’ tape when not using a heated bed|
– A layer of glue stick when using a heated bed
|Printing Speed||– Start at 50 to 60 mm/s and work your way up|
|Cooling||– No cooling when printing using ABS-based filament|
– A cooling fan may be used when printing with PLA-based filament
Temperature for Glow in the Dark Filament
ABS prints at 210 to 240°C. On the other hand, PLA prints at a lower temperature of 180 to 220°C.
If you decide to use a hardened nozzle to print with the glow in the dark filament, you should slightly increase your temperature, as it has less thermal conductivity than brass.
Printing Speed for Glow in the Dark Filament
Many users reported that the glow in the dark filaments work under the printing speeds as low as 15 mm/s to the highest speed of 100 mm/s.
So definitely, this is a very broad range, so you should set the speed of about 50 to 60 mm/s for better smoothness of prints. PLA-based glow in the dark filaments can provide high-quality print for you.
Heated Bed for Glow in the Dark Filament
I have found that the heated bed requires a set of 60 to 70°C. However, ABS based filament will have to be set with a heated bed at a temperature of around 100 to 110°C for getting good quality prints.
Use of Cooling Fan for Glow in the Dark Filament
ABS filament does not work well with a cooling fan, so I suggest not using a cooling fan with it. On the other hand, you have to use a cooling fan with PLA prints.
Infill Options and Other Factors
Increasing the wall thickness of prints may enhance the final prints and get your ‘glow’ to last longer. By decreasing the infill and increasing the shells, you can produce a good quality of glow in the dark prints.
Is There Glow in the Dark PETG?
Yes, PETG is a new kind of plastic 3D printing material. It has similarities with ABS and PLA printing. This PETG is transparent in light, but it glows in the dark. This is very popular in the market because it has the following benefits-
Benefits of PETG
- High-temperature resistance
- Very low warping
- Extra phosphor added for a super bright glow
- Stronger layer bonds
- Low odor
- Transparent color
- Great impact resistance
Specification of PETG Printing
- Heated bed temperature: 60 – 70°C
- Print nozzle temperature: 230 – 245°C
Is Glow in the Dark Filament Abrasive?
Yes, glow in the dark filaments is abrasive and sometimes hard to print with it.
A standard brass nozzle might not hold up so well against an abrasive glow in the dark filament, so it’s a good idea to swap out your nozzle for a hardened steel one.
It may be a good idea to also use a nozzle with a wider diameter to reduce overall abrasion. A good nozzle diameter to go with would be a 0.6mm nozzle, so you can still balance out print quality with less abrasion if you want.
Best Glow in the Dark Filament to Buy
As already mentioned, Hatchbox PLA Glow in the Dark Filament from Amazon is a great choice for your 3D printing desires. It’s a 1KG spool which prints smoothly and usually doesn’t require any setting changes compared to basic PLA.
MGChemicals also have a range of their Glow in the Dark Filament from Amazon, made from PLA and has reviews which mention just how bright this glow in the dark spool of filament is.
One user who has used the Hatchbox PLA filament as well as many others said this one is the best. Layer adhesion came out great, and they didn’t get any stringing in the printing process.
So if you are looking for the brightest glow in the dark filament, you have your answer.
The print temperature range is fairly large, so it will take some temperature testing to get it perfect, but once you get going you’ll love it.