PLA Opacity Tool
by schlem, published
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Finding truly opaque PLA for photographic / camera applications has proven difficult. Many black PLA formulations are translucent at best, even when printed at 100% infill.
The sample photographs were fogged by translucent PLA, and light shining through the shutter (typically the thinnest part of the camera).
In a quest to find the best (and most affordable) opaque black PLA, I offer this simple tool.
Print at 0.25 mm layer height. Each layer from the center outwards increases from 0.25 to 1.25mm thickness. I have found for 3D printing cameras a minimum opacity through 1mm thickness in required.
This tool is designed to be held up to a standard incandescent 60W lightbulb. Don't let it touch! -- It will likely stick and melt.
I use a 70 lumen LED flashlight as my standard light source. My benchmark is ZERO light transmission.
I have had good results with Shaxon and Makergeeks black PLAs (Opaque at 1mm), but lately their pigment content seems to have decreased and these filaments have not been opaque enough for photographic applications.
MatterHackers Pro Gun Metal Grey PLA Mixed results by batch
Rigid.Ink Black PLA Mixed results by batch
JustPLA Black PLA Mixed results by batch
Verbatim Black PLA OPAQUE!, but ~2.78mm diameter. Doesn't infill fully.
Additionally, it has been reported by a Flickr user that these filaments are opaque at 1mm or less:
eSun Black PETG from HobbyKing (not opaque for me)
eSun Black PLA from HobbyKing (PASSES OPACITY TEST!)
Metal composite PLA from HobbyKing
Shaxon Black PLA Formerly opaque; NO LONGER
MakerGeeks Dark As Night PLA Formerly opaque; NO LONGER
Inventables Black PLA Not opaque
Lulzbot Black PLA Not opaque
Hatchbox Black PLA Borderline, but super-shitty quality
MatterHackers Pro Black PLA Not opaque
MatterHackers Pro Midnight Blue PLA Not opaque
Ultimachine Black PLA Not opaque
Atomic Deep Black PLA Not opaque
Laywood-Flex Not opaque
FilamentONE PLA Extrafill Vertigo Grey Not opaque (Thanks @tbuser!)
If you test a filament and find a TRULY OPAQUE BLACK PLA, please post in the comments.
Less than 10 minutes printing time. Thanks for helping!
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PLA Opacity Tool by schlem is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution - Share Alike license.
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- You must attribute (give credit) to the creator of this Thing.
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