PETG filament is becoming increasingly popular in the world of 3D printing due to its unique properties and versatility. PETG, which stands for polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified, is a thermoplastic polymer that combines the strength and durability of ABS filament with the ease of use and safety of PLA filament. It is known for its excellent layer adhesion, impact resistance, and clarity. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced 3D printing enthusiast, this ultimate guide to PETG filament will provide you with everything you need to know to successfully use this material in your projects. From its properties and applications to tips and tricks for achieving the best results, this guide has got you covered. So grab your 3D printer and let's dive into the exciting world of PETG filament!
What is PETG
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) was first patented in 1941 by British chemists John Rex Whinfield and James Tennant Dickson, who worked for the Calico Printers' Association textile company in Manchester, England. The American chemical company DuPont later trademarked the name "Mylar" for PET film in 1951 and registered it in 1952. For more detail information about the molecular structure of PETG, you can read this post-What is PETG filament and why it can not replace PLA filament.
The main properties of PETG
To fully utilize PETG and its advantages, it's important to have a comprehensive understanding of its key properties and characteristics. Here are some of the main properties of PETG filament used in 3D printing:
Impact resistant - PETG is a tough, durable plastic that can withstand drops and impacts without shattering. It has good impact strength.
Food-safe - PETG is considered food-safe and can be used to make containers and products that come in contact with food. It does not contain BPA.
Temperature resistance - PETG can withstand temperatures up to 70-80°C before softening. It has a higher heat deflection temperature than many other 3D printing filaments.
UV resistant - PETG has good UV light resistance and does not degrade or discolor easily in sunlight. It is more UV stable than ABS.
Low odor - PETG emits very little odor when printing, producing less fumes than other plastics like ABS.
Recyclable - PETG can be recycled and re-used in 3D printing or other applications. It is considered an environmentally friendly option.
Good interlayer adhesion - Layers of printed PETG bond together well, reducing the risk of delamination or splitting.
Clear transparency - Natural PETG filament is crystal clear, allowing it to be used for transparent or translucent prints.PETG is slightly more hygroscopic (moisture-absorbing) than similar materials like ABS.
The applications of PETG filament
The excellent properties of PETG allow it to be used in a wide range of applications in many areas.
Automotive parts - PETG's impact resistance is advantageous for printing durable interior and exterior automotive components.
Household items - For home goods like storage boxes, organizers, desk accessories, PETG works well.
Ductwork and plumbing - PETG's thermal resistance and watertight properties are useful for printing ducts, funnels, pipes and fittings.
Cosplay and costume props - PETG's glossy finish helps it achieve a "real" look for costume parts printed with 3D scanning or modeling.
Retail displays and signage - PETG allows lightweight, durable and professionally finished retail displays, signs, name badges and branding.
Drone and RC parts - Light yet strong PETG drone frames, landing gear, and other components are popular in RC hobbies.
Window replacements - PETG can substitute for glass when printed thin, providing see-through windshields, lenses or custom windows.
Is PETG better than PLA?
One question that often comes up when comparing different 3D printing filaments is whether PETG is better than PLA. While both filaments have their own advantages and disadvantages, the answer to this question ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.
Firstly, PETG offers superior strength and durability compared to PLA. It has a higher melting point, making it more resistant to heat and deformation. This makes PETG a great choice for functional parts that require higher strength and impact resistance, such as mechanical components or prototypes.
On the other hand, PLA has its own unique benefits. It is easier to print with and has a lower printing temperature, making it more beginner-friendly. PLA is also biodegradable and derived from renewable resources, making it an environmentally friendly choice.
Ultimately, the decision between PETG and PLA will depend on the specific requirements of your project. Consider factors such as the desired strength, heat resistance, and ease of use when making your decision. Whichever filament you choose, make sure to properly calibrate your 3D printer and experiment with different settings to achieve the best results.
Why is PETG so hard to print?
While PETG offers superior strength and durability compared to PLA, it can be more challenging to print with. One reason for this is its higher melting point, which means that it requires a hotter nozzle temperature and heated bed. If your printer is not properly calibrated or equipped with these features, you may encounter issues such as poor layer adhesion, warping, or stringing.
Another factor that contributes to the difficulty of printing with PETG is its tendency to ooze and create stringy, wispy bits during printing. This can be especially problematic when printing intricate or complex designs, as the stringing can bridge gaps and ruin details.
To overcome these challenges, it is essential to take the time to properly calibrate your printer, including adjusting temperatures, nozzle height, and print speed. Additionally, using a cooling fan to minimize overheating and experimenting with different retraction settings can help reduce stringing.
Ultimately, while PETG may require a bit more effort and fine-tuning, its superior strength and durability make it a worthwhile filament choice for projects that require those qualities.
Does PETG give off fumes?
One important consideration when working with PETG filament is whether it gives off fumes during printing. Unlike ABS filament, which emits potentially harmful fumes, PETG is generally considered to be safe for indoor use. However, it is always a good idea to ensure proper ventilation when printing with any type of filament.
PETG is known for its low shrinkage and minimal warping, which means that it releases fewer fumes compared to other filaments. This makes it a popular choice for enclosed 3D printers or printers in smaller spaces. However, it is still recommended to use a well-ventilated area or a ventilation system to remove any potential fumes or odors from the printing process.
In general, it is important to prioritize your safety when working with any filament. Consult the manufacturer's guidelines for specific recommendations on ventilation and safety precautions to ensure a healthy printing environment.
What are the downsides to PETG?
While PETG filament has many advantageous qualities, it is important to acknowledge that there are a few downsides to using it as well. One of the main drawbacks of PETG is its susceptibility to moisture absorption.
Unlike other filaments, PETG tends to absorb moisture from the air, which can lead to decreased print quality and filament degradation. To mitigate this issue, it is crucial to store PETG filament in a dry environment, preferably in an airtight container with desiccant.
Another downside to PETG is its lower temperature resistance compared to other filaments, such as ABS. While PETG can withstand higher temperatures than PLA, it is not as heat-resistant as ABS. This means that if you plan on using your 3D-printed objects in high-temperature environments or for applications that require increased heat resistance, PETG might not be the best choice.
Additionally, PETG tends to be slightly more difficult to print with than PLA. It requires a higher printing temperature and slower printing speeds, which can result in longer print times. Furthermore, PETG has a unique cooling characteristic that requires adequate cooling between layers to prevent warping or stringing. Proper printer calibration and fine-tuning of print settings are crucial for achieving optimal results with PETG.
Despite these downsides, PETG remains a popular choice for many 3D printing enthusiasts due to its excellent strength, flexibility, and overall printability. With proper handling and consideration of its limitations, PETG can produce high-quality prints for a wide range of applications.
PETG filament offers a unique combination of properties that make it an appealing option for many 3D printing applications. Its high impact resistance allows it to be used for durable functional parts, while its food-safety and low odor facilitate home and classroom use. PETG's layer adhesion and UV resistance enable it to be utilized for long-lasting outdoor components. At the same time, its clear transparency creates possibilities for translucent prints.
However, PETG does come with some downsides to be aware of. Its tendency to absorb moisture means proper storage is essential, and its high printing temperature may limit compatibility with some 3D printers. While not as difficult to print as some other technical filaments, PETG does require more calibration and tuning to get optimal results. Proper cooling is critical to prevent stringing and other print defects.
Overall, PETG provides an appealing balance of strength, flexibility, and ease of use. When the benefits and limitations are properly understood, PETG can produce professional quality prints across a wide array of applications, from decorative objects to functional prototypes. As with any filament, taking the time to calibrate settings and understand PETG's unique quirks is the key to unlocking its full potential. With experimentation and fine-tuning, 3D printing enthusiasts can capitalize on this versatile thermoplastic.