3D Printer Schlieren Video

This is an example of Schlieren photography which is a kind of photography that enhances visibility of small differences in the index of refraction (of air in this case though it can be applied to other fluids). The heated platform and heated extruder are providing the heat which is further stirred by the air from a cooling fan, causing a complex pattern showing lots of disturbances in the whole build platform/extruder region.
This particular printer is an UP! printer from PP3DP.com

I’m using a single 4 inch telescope mirror here. Setup is not particularly hard but is a little tricky mostly in terms of getting the alignment just right. There are also 2 mirror setups that can be used. Here’s a picture of my mirror mounted behind my printer.


4 inch telescope mirror

Here’s a quick link describing the technique in more detail.


Here’s another example I did using a simple power resistor as the heat source:


I’ve been wanting to try this for awhile on a 3D print in progress. Getting a good angle is a little tough because the camera has to be pointed right at the mirror in order to pick up the differences in refractive index present in the air being stirred around.

Sometimes you can get a good deal on ebay for a telescope mirror, which is where I got this one. At 4 inches, it’s a bit small but still allows the principal of Schlieren photography to be demonstrated.


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