How Clear are “Transparent” 3D Prints, Anyway?

With the release of Connex3 color 3D printing technology this week, we started thinking more about “transparent” 3D printing. Stratasys provides a transparent material for their Connex series of printers and it’s often mixed with other colors to produce hybrid objects. 
 
But exactly how “transparent” is Transparent? We did an experiment. 
 
Stratasys often 3D prints wearable glasses that can be worn. You can see through them, but they do not come out of the machine in that condition. The lenses require some polishing to smooth out the surfaces. 
 
We took two pictures of the same background, one through the lens and one without. You can see the difference above. (click for larger view)
 
So, are 3D printed transparent lenses sufficiently clear for real use? Although the lenses are obviously not perfect, they’re no worse than cheap sunglasses with tan lotion fingerprints on them.  
 
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