The Digital Manufacturing Blog

Bringing you the latest trends and best practices in 3D printing and additive manufacturing, injection molding and CNC machining.

What’s the Difference in Clear 3D Printing Finishes?

When clear prototype parts are needed, one of the most popular methods is to print the parts in a clear SLA material.  SLA is one of the most used 3D printing processes because it offers the benefits of high-quality surface finishes, part accuracy, and quick turnaround.  You can receive your clear SLA prototypes from us in a matter of days.

Clear prototypes are needed for a variety of reasons.  Some of the main reasons are to mimic the production piece, diffuse light, or show the interior of a part during the product testing.  But did you know that there are different clear finishes?  And how do you know which one is right for you?  Knowing which finish is best for you can help you save time and money as well as receiving parts that meet your expectations.

A clear finish on a SLA prototype can be applied in two different ways.

Quick Clear

The first is what we call a “Quick Clear” finish.  This involved light sanding to be done to the part, and then a clear coat is applied.  The part will be clear, but build lines will still be visible.  This is beneficial if one is cost conscious since less labor is required for this finish.  A part with a quick clear finish can be beneficial for a variety of applications such as show models, design review, process application testing.


Supreme Clear

A “Supreme Clear” finish is similar to a Quick Clear finish, but all of the build lines are removed with a Supreme Clear finish.  The part will have more of a show quality finish, and will better mimic the production piece.  This type of finish is heavily used for trade show and sales presentation models, light diffusion testing, and design review.


Every day, we produce and finish parts to our customer’s precise specifications.  It is easy to get lost in the forest of part finishes, but this blog can serve as a guide for you and allow us to better understand and meet your needs.


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