You’ve heard from PET, but there’s also PETG filament for 3D printing. But what are the advantages? Let’s take a look at the advantages of PETG 3D printer filament.
1. PET and PETG Explained
PET is a plastic resin. It is the most commonly used plastic in the world. You can find its fibers in clothes, containers for liquids, foods, thermoforming for manufacturing, and in combination with glass fiber for engineering resins. Thousands of consumer products, food and beverages are delivered and packaged within this material.
PETG (also called copolyester) is a modified version of PET. The modification is achieved by adding a second glycol during polymerization. The molecular structure is irregular; the resin is clear and amorphous with a glass transition temperature of 88 C (190 F). If you’re into chemistry, it’s known as Polyethylene Terephthalateco-1, 4-cylclohexylenedimethylene terephthalate.
2. PETG Filament: What are the benefits?
These are the general benefits:
- It’s more durable. Overheating regular PET makes it hazy and brittle. Not with PETG filament: The added glycol prevents the material from crystallizing and becoming breakable. The new material is also highly impact-resistant.
- Unlike PET, is it RF sealable.
- Professionally printed, it also can be sterilized.
These are the benefits of PETG filament for 3D printing:
- PETG filament has the reputation of combining the benefits of ABS (stronger, temperature resistant, more durable) and PLA (easy to print) in one material.
- The layer adhesion is usually excellent.
- You can expect less trouble with warping or shrinking of your prints.
- Also, you can have the material, prints and misprints recycled. This doesn’t mean you should start printing irresponsibly – sustainably speaking, it’s still plastic, which has to be recycled properly.
3. PETG Filament: Is it food safe?
Yes, it is considered to be food safe in nearly all countries. To be sure, please check the specifications of the manufacturer.
If you want to know how to find out if a 3D printing material is food safe, please read this article.
4. PETG Filament: What’s are the drawbacks?
There aren’t many. First of all, it’s more prone to scratches than PET. Also, it can be weakened by UV light. Some makers say it’s not the easiest material to print with, as you have to find its “sweet spot.” When printing it, you’ll have to experiment more with the 3D printing parameters.
5. PETG Filament: What’s the price for a spool?
In general, it comes at a higher price point than other materials – roughly, you pay $5 to $20 more per spool than for a comparable spool of PLA.
6. PETG Filament: What‘s the best temperature and speed for 3D printing?
Most manufacturers recommend a temperature of 220 to 250 C for the hotend. 230 to 240 C is a good place to start your first prints.
Take a good look at the first layers: If the material isn’t extruded somewhat sluggish, you want to raise the temperature a bit. Also, you should start with a low speed of just 15mm/s and work from there to find what works best with your material.
7. PETG Filament: Do I need a heated bed?
A heated bed is not a must, but it can be an advantage, especially when it comes to warping of bigger pieces. We have managed to 3D print PETG filament on an Ultimaker 2 Go without a heated bed – but it took a while to find the right settings.
Some makers claim the usual hairspray or blue tape tricks don‘t work with it.
Please use the specifications provided for the bed temperature – if there‘s none, try with 80 degrees Celsius and see if the first layer sticks to the bed.
8. PETG Filament: Can I have it in different colors?
Absolutely! You can have nearly the same variety of colors as you would have with PLA or ABS. We’ve spotted the most common shades of green, red, blue, orange, yellow – and even the translucent or translucent colored variants.
9. PETG Filament: How do I store it?
It should be stored in a dry environment. Air humidity may alter it, result in failed 3D prints and misprints. If you run into 3D printing problems often, please consult this article.
Fortunately, PET and PETG filament are nearly not affected by ambient air moisture. That makes the material much easier to print and store. But still, you should keep it as dry as possible by using silicate bags.
10. PETG Filament: Who is offering it?
There are three ways of getting your model 3D printed.
1. Buy a spool of PETG filament at Amazon
Most relevant manufacturers offer their spools directly at Amazon. Brands like Colorfabb, SainSmart, Taulman, eSun, Aptopro, extrudr, 3D Prima, Sunlu, advanc3dmaterials and 3DPSP are offering PETG filament for a reasonable price.
Note: If you search for “PETG filament” at Amazon you won’t find the big brands Colorfabb and Taulman 3D. Their brand names are Colorfabb XT and Taulman N-VENT. They consist of Amphora AM1800 from Eastman Chemicals Company. But in the end, it turns out that AM1800 is also PETG filament.
2. Buy directly from the manufacturer
If you already know what you want to buy, can get spools directly from these shops and manufacturers:
- ColorFabb (as brand name “Colorfabb XT”)
- Taulman 3D (as brand name “N-Vent”)
- 3DXtech (with added carbon fiber for extra strength)
- Formfutura (as brand name “HD Glass”)
- iGo3D (for Zortrax M200 3D printer)
- Triptech Plastics
If you‘re a manufacturer and want to have your brand added, please drop us a line in the comment section.
3. Buy a finished print from professional 3D printing services
What if you don‘t own a 3D printer? Then you can contact a local 3D printing service provider or a 3D printing network like 3D Hubs.
11. PETG Filament: PET / PETG versus PLA
PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a thermoplastic material, classified as a polyester plastic. It is the most common 3D printing material. PLA filament is easy to 3D print and biodegradable. It comes in in many colors and varieties, offered by many brands. Also, its properties allow the addition of other materials like metal powders and biological material such as hemp, coffee or wood.
So, how does PLA filament compare?
- PLA is easier to print and handle than PET / PETG. Also, PLA is more forgiving to 3D printing errors.
- Both materials show minor shrinkage during cooling.
- Both are considered to be food-safe.
- Also, both are strong, user-friendly, durable, and can handle impacts.
- PET / PETG is more prone to scratches than PLA.
- You don’t need a heated bed to print both materials, but it is easier to 3D print PETG filament on a heated bed.
- PET filaments are more expensive in general.
- PLA offers more way more variations than the PET filament family.
12. PETG Filament: How does it compare to ABS?
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is the second most popular 3D printer filament. This thermoplastic is cheap, durable, slightly flexible, lightweight, and it can be easily extruded — which makes it perfect for 3D printing. It is the same plastic used in LEGO bricks and bicycle helmets.
But there are disadvantages to using ABS filament. It requires a higher temperature to reach melting point, usually in the range of 210°C – 250°C. Moreover, a heated build platform is required. This prevents the first layers of the print from cooling too quickly, so the plastic doesn’t warp and contract before the fabrication of the object has completed. Another drawback of this 3D printer filament is the intense fumes that arise during printing. They can be dangerous for people (or pets) with breathing difficulties.
So, how does PLA filament compare to PET / PETG?
- Both materials are highly durable, offer good strength and impact resistance.
- Both materials can be recycled, but are not biodegradable.
- ABS is more flexible, with minor bending before snapping
- ABS is soluble in Acetone, PET / PETG filament isn’t.
- ABS is not food-safe. When handled properly, PET / PETG is.
- ABS needs a heated bed for 3D printing.
- Both materials show shrinkage during cooling.
License: The text of "PETG Filament for 3D Printing: Explained & Compared" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.