SuperSize, a large format, lighted, 3D printed fine art sculpture - Kevin CaronAfter 8 years of using 3D printing to create my sculpture, I’ve seen a tremendous growth in the field. Hardware and software have made huge leaps forward. So has filament.

Of course, there are all sorts of specialty filaments like bronze, aluminum, stainless steel, “wood” and others. My favorite filament, though, is translucent because I love how light plays with and through it, whether it’s lighted from inside like SuperSize or lighted from the outside by the sun.

But for me, the holy grail has been a translucent that can go outside. Most translucent filaments are PLA, which isn’t UV safe. That means the sun softens the material. This isn’t just theory, BTW. I’ve seen a PLA Farkle board turn to putty in the sun. (The good news: it went back into shape once it was in the shade.)

Debutante, a nearly 6-foot-tall translucent indoor or outdoor sculpture - Kevin CaronI’ve never had a problem putting a PLA sculpture in a window inside, but it may depend on how your windows are treated.

I have figured out that I can paint 3D-printed sculpture, like I did with Cleft and Trigon, so it can go outside.

Now, however, there’s Ryno. That’s a professional grade filament from Matterhackers that is translucent and UV safe!

It also prints like a dream. I used it to create Debutante, a 6-foot-tall sculpture printed in 2 parts simultaneously over 64 hours, and it printed like a breeze.

Currently, the downside to Ryno: there are only a few colors: white, black, gray and “clear” (Debutante is printed in clear).

And did I mention it’s expensive? A regular 10-pound spool of 3 millimeter PLA filament is about $100, while I paid $245 for the same size spool of Ryno.

But like most things, Ryno should get better. I’ll be looking for more translucent color options and the price to come down in the time to come….