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I am doing a quad-copter now.

I am not sure what color is the best to use for outdoor durability, especially in sunlight.

They say PETg is the most durable material amongst cheap ones.

But what color to choose: white or transparent? Or it does not matter?

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  • $\begingroup$ The best color for what characteristic? Durability, visibility, or something else? $\endgroup$
    – Davo
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Davo, I need quad-copter to be durable at first place. I've read earlier plastics are somewhat vulnerable to sunlight. $\endgroup$
    – Qeeet
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know why one color would be more durable than another... although white would probably be the most reflective, and have the slowest degradation from sunlight. $\endgroup$
    – Davo
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Davo, how about transparent? I guess it's UV light that degrades plastic? $\endgroup$
    – Qeeet
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ Unless you plan to use your copter outside Earth atmosphere or expected lifetime is more than tenths of years, UV degradation should not be a problem for PETG. Yet if there are any concerns about this, lacquer car paint can help to absorb unwanted radiation. $\endgroup$
    – Mikhail Z
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 10:49

2 Answers 2

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Unless you plan to use your copter outside Earth atmosphere or expected lifetime is more than tenths of years, UV degradation should not be a problem for PETG. Some of the net sources indicate the possibility of degradation after significant time of constant exposure to outdoor conditions (mostly color change), which sounds mostly like absence of practical experience.

Yet if there are any concerns about losing mechanical properties from the sunlight, any opaque lacquer car paint can help to absorb unwanted radiation and add some nicer view to the model. Acrylic paint will also work (tried this once myself) but it may not be suitable for outdoor.

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PETG might not be the best for long term UV exposure.

According to Midland Plastics, PETG doesn't hold up well in outdoor applications, and is susceptible to UV degradation. Unless you have an outdoor or UV rated PETG product which will have additional chemicals added to it, it may breakdown more quickly than you would expect. (the link I used was : http://www.midlandplastics.com/srtd_petg.htm)

Polycarbonate on the other hand does hold up better in outdoor applications and is better suited for long term exposure to UV light. Most quads and RC products you see that have a nice slick looking shell on them, are made from Polycarbonate. That stuff is usually vacuum formed sheets. It does still breakdown but it is a much stronger material. The downside is that PC requires a higher nozzle temperature, than PETG. (The reprap wiki has more info: http://reprap.org/wiki/Polycarbonate)

That being said PETG is not going to dissolve in sunlight. It will likely last upto a year if not longer depending on usage. If this is your first quad you're making, then odds are you'll have a crash due to hardware failure before excessive UV degradation (at least thats been my experience with prototype aircraft).

Good luck!

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