3D printing materials suitable for optical components

Hi all,

Does anyone have recommendations on what materials to use/avoid for 3D printing of optomechanical components (lens mounts, cage components, etc.)?
I am looking for something that is sturdy and durable, but also opaque and matte, so as to not reflect a lot of light. I heard ABS plastic is a good option, but not all 3D printing companies have it available (at least couldn’t find an obvious substitute from shapeways). Can anyone suggest other a tried and tested alternative?
Apologies if this was already discussed elsewhere - I had a look around but couldn’t find a clear answer.
Any advice or suggestions are very welcome!

Thank you!


Avoid anything printed with UV-cured resins, they tend to autofluoresce, I have used regular matte black PLA for lens mounts and other microscope components. If you are extra cautious you can (carefully) cover the parts in candle soot if they are not touching anything important.

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I suggest you should watch some videos to check the results differences between resin and filament. Difference is astonishing

Production with resins is more tedious and toxic. And post production is also tedious You will need gloves, mask and open the window. However, these inconveniences vanish when you see the results. Precision makes resins a much better option to print microscope pieces.

Light properties of resins can vary depending of materials, There are many. Ask a good manofacturer.
I don’t know about problems with black matte resins. Although in case of problems probably I would try some anti-reflective painting for optics materials, which are cheap. In example:


I fear the results with filament could disappoint you because the poor precision. Better spending some time watching videos in youtube to find the best option for your needs.

On my humble view, for somebody expecting only an eventual production of little pieces with higher needs of precision, any cheap model of resin printer (Elegoo, Anycubic…) is enough . Resin is the best option without any doubt in that space. check some videos in internet and you will see by yourself.

For technical questions about some resin adequate to your needs maybe you can ask a good manofacturer like Formlabs, 3DM… There are many.

Good luck

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I’d say it depends. Sometimes you just need a weirdly shaped adapter - then you should be good with PLA. The sturdiness depends on the design, fill level etc. But the precision isn’t great.

And regarding resin printing - is it better than good old aluminum?

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