Disruption. Tech bros swear by it; Luddites, not so much. Everyone involved for any time in 3D printing has found a go-to filament for their prints, so disruption can be a dirty word to them. Every filament, including PLA and PETG, has unique properties and characteristics that determine a printed object’s strength, durability, temperature operating range, and finish. Check out this overview of why you might consider a switch from PLA to PETG 3D printer filament. Disruption may not be so bad after all!
Advantages of PETG Filament Over PLA Filament
A prime advantage of PETG over PLA lies in its superior physical properties. PETG has a higher tensile strength than PLA, making it ideal for creating sturdy and long-lasting objects. It also withstands considerably higher temperatures without deforming, lending it excellent heat resistance. PETG offers chemical resistance, so it won’t easily degrade when exposed to various substances.
PETG is also more transparent than PLA, meaning it can be printed into objects that transmit light more readily and in more interesting patterns. Finally, PETG is naturally UV-resistant. Combined with that higher glass transition temperature, it is an all-around excellent outdoor-use filament.
Reduced Warping and Shrinkage
Warping and shrinkage can be significant concerns in 3D printing. However, PETG filament mitigates these issues because it has a lower shrinkage rate than other filaments. This results in little to no warping (under proper printing conditions) and strong adhesion to the print bed.
Cost is a factor when considering the transition from PLA to PETG. PETG filament tends to be more expensive than PLA because of the base components of the resin. It is these components that give it UV and temperature resistance. If your project needs these perks or chemical resistance, the choice is easy.
Dispelling Misinformation About PETG Filaments
Despite the many advantages of PETG filaments, misinformation prevents many people from understanding its use and benefits. We’ll debunk a few myths right now:
It Cannot Convey Fine Details
Some people assume PETG cannot print fine details, which is untrue. PETG can produce outstanding detail in 3D prints, even for complex designs.
PETG Is Difficult To Print
One myth to blow out of the water is that it’s difficult to print with PETG. Although this filament requires different printing conditions than PLA, it can be just as easy to print with some adjustments in printer settings.
Is PETG All Roses and Unicorns?
Nope. PETG is an excellent filament and alternative to PLA in many scenarios. However, everything comes with tradeoffs. Keep reading; you’ll see how they aren’t deal-killers.
The Main Challenges of Printing With PETG
Warping is a common tendency of PETG, especially on a cold surface. If you’re not keeping an eye on the printer temperature, you’re going to have trouble with your 3D object. PETG is, after all, a thermoplastic, so the temperatures must stay around 230–250° C. Additionally, it needs a bed temperature between 55° and 80° C to reduce warping and promote successful adhesion.
And then there’s moisture. If you are a PLA printer, you know that moisture absorption is rarely a consideration for that filament. PETG is rather like Nylon; it likes water, which means you must dry the filament before printing or keep it dry in storage (or both). This is not a problem, per se, but it is a requirement. Think of it as the cost of doing business with PETG.
Finally, you should consider print speed. Generally, 3D printing is a patient person’s game, and PETG is no exception. PLA printing will spoil you, but PETG will remind you that beauty is more than skin deep.
Is PETG Worth It?
PETG filament is uniquely positioned in the filament Pantheon because of its properties. Many of them are also available in filaments like Nylon, but printing with Nylon makes PETG look like child’s play at times. In other words, PETG is a bargain for what you get if you need it.
Versatility of PETG Filament
Another advantage that makes PETG favorable is its compatibility with various printers. You can use PETG in most 3D printers. It is a convenient choice for creators who want to experiment with different filaments without switching printers.
Suitable for Various Applications
PETG is more versatile than PLA. Its enhanced strength and flexibility make it ideal for functional prototypes that require durability. Additionally, PETG’s superior heat resistance makes it suitable for automotive components, electrical enclosures, and outdoor signage applications.
Whether you’re using it for mechanical parts, architectural models, or even food-safe containers, PETG delivers outstanding performance across various industries.
It’s best to be familiar with the environmental implications of 3D printing. PETG is a petroleum-based plastic, unlike PLA. That means it is not quite as environmentally friendly on the front end. On the back end, though, PETG is recyclable (just like PLA), meaning you can dispose of filament waste at a recycling center.
Considerations When Switching to PETG Filament
Switching to PETG for one job or every job is not as extreme as you might believe. No special nozzle is required (as with carbon fiber), but you should have a heated bed. After that, a dryer might be handy, though your printer can double as a filament dryer in a pinch.
Adjusting Printer Settings
To get the best results with PETG, you’ll likely need to tweak the settings on your 3D printer. Adjust the bed temperature, print speed, and cooling fan speed. Consult the manufacturer for recommendations, or experiment with the settings to find the ideal parameters for your prints.
Handling and Storage Requirements
Remember, PETG filament is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air. This may affect the print quality and lead to defects in the final product. Store PETG filaments in a cool, dry place or vacuum-sealed packaging to prevent moisture from altering the material. Or dry before using it.
For jobs requiring higher temperatures, UV resistance, chemical resistance, or food-safe plastic, PETG is a standout choice. Switching from PLA to PETG makes a lot of sense in these cases, and there are few reasons not to make the leap. At Filamatrix, we are committed to providing the highest quality PETG filament. Switch to Filamatrix PETG filament today and learn first-hand what all the fuss is about.
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