PET Filament: Waterproof and Food-Safe Material Plastic for 3D Printing

PET filament is a great filament to use for 3D printing. It has the same strength as ABS but it is as easy to use as PLA. It is waterproof and is safe to use for food.

3D printing is a fun activity where you can design different objects and then print them. It is now very accessible for many of us to do 3D printing at home because 3D printers are becoming widely available for hobbyists and professionals alike.

There are many types of 3D filaments for printing. One particular filament that performs well and prints excellently is the PET filament. Get to know its properties and features so that you will know if this is the filament you are looking for to use in your 3D printing projects.

What is PET Filament?

PET stands for PolyEthylene Terephthalate. It is a common material that is used to make plastic bottles. The original state of a PET filament is a crystal clear and colorless material. However, when PET filament is heated or cooled, its transparency changes.

When you cool down the material slowly after using it for 3D printing, it will have a structure that is more crystalline. PET filament is a shockproof and hard material. It is great to use for items that are lightweight.

PET has different version such as PETG and PETT. These are modifications of PET. PET filament is a clear thermoplastic. It is possible to thermoform as well as mold an item after it has been printed. Polishing the material is also possible through the use of flame. To have a material with better clarity, ensure that you get a layer height that is thicker.

Pros
  • Safe to use for food
  • Waterproof
  • Has a glass-like appearance
  • Does not produce odor or fumes while printing
Cons
  • May take some tweaking to find the right temperature for printing
  • Has a wide range of printing temperature
  • May be slow to print

PET Filament Temperature

In general, PET filament is an easy material to use for 3D printing. Its temperature range for the PET filament extruder is quite wide at 160°C to 210°C, and you won’t have any problem with it.

However, you have to remember to store the material in a container that is sealed. Place it in an area that is dry so that it won’t be able to absorb water from the air around it.

When using this material for 3D printing, you may find that it takes some tweaking before you get the right setting. If you are a beginner in 3D printing, it is best that you try other filaments first before experimenting with the PET filament so you can get a feel of the different settings. But if you think you are ready to play with PET filaments, then go ahead and try it out.

Uses of PET Prints

PET plastic can be tested or used either in your home or in your office. It is waterproof and also safe for food. You can use it to make boxes, bottles, vases, as well as other types of containers. It is recommended that you use a nozzle with a higher width diameter. Nonetheless, you can still print with PET filament with a nozzle that measures at 0.4 mm.

PET 3D Printing Filament Guide

Once you try out the PET filament, you will see that there won’t be any problem when it comes to warping. However, this filament does flow well so you may observe some oozing.

You may have some trouble printing materials that have a lot of retractions. But for objects such as vases and other containers, you will get better results. There is a slicer software where you can have the option to choose the vase mode so that the nozzle only moves in one direction.

The more you use PET filament, the more you will notice that thicker layers will make objects look more shiny and transparent. To make the final product look smoother, try to print with a 0.4 mm nozzle at a higher speed.

Facts about Filament PET

Here are some facts about PET:

  • Naturally, PET is transparent and colorless. But if you do want different colors, there are filaments of various colors available for 3D printing.
  • It is a material that is waterproof and safe to be used for food. It is a common material used in making food containers and water bottles.
  • PET is the base material used in making PETG and PETT among others.
  • PET is highly recyclable, and it is recycling is usually done on an industrial scale.
  • You have to take note though that PET may not be suitable for all types of printers because the high temperatures used in printing it can cause damage to the extruders.
📌It will be quite challenging to find a true PET filament because many of the PET filaments available in stores are actually copolymers. These are PET filaments that have an added molecule.

This included PETG which is a filament with industrial strength and also has many good features. However, there are brands that manufacture great PET filaments. We will cover that below.

PET Compared to Other Filaments

The quality of materials printed with PET 3D filament has the same durability and strength as that of ABS, and it is as easy to use as that of PLA. A great thing about PET is that not only is it a strong material, it is also FDA-approved for tools and containers that are used for food.

PET filament 3D printing does not easily warp, unlike ABS. It has no fumes or odors during the process of printing. This material may not be biodegradable, but it is 100% recyclable.

Read about PLA vs ABS filament comparison.

It is a popular material for 3D printing because it is great at bridging and it produces clear prints. Filament PET is available at 1.7mm and 3mm.

PET vs PETG Filament

You may know about PETG filaments and you may be wondering what the difference is between PET and PETG. They may seem identical because they have the same base material but PETG has an added component which is glycol. Having this addition changes the chemical composition of PETG completely, making it a whole different kind of plastic.

When glycol is added, it removes some effects that can be observed when printing with PET. This includes the hazing effect that you may have seen when PET is heated. It also prevents some of the crystallization effect that makes PET more prone to being brittle. It adds some features to PET which makes PETG also a good material for 3D printing.

Recycled PET Filament

While PET is not biodegradable it is a popular material because it can be recycled completely. It is being recycled at an industrial scale. There are plenty of stores that offer recycled PET filaments for those who want to use a material that is specifically recycled.

If you want to do your share in conserving the environment, you can find numerous stores online that sell recycled filament. This way, you can be proud of producing prints that are completely from recycled material.

Pet Filament Extruder

For those who want to recycle PET for themselves, it is very possible to do with the help of a PET filament extruder. There are plenty of extruders available on the market both for hobbyist and professionals.

You can extrude your own material into spools. You don’t have to throw out your misprints because you can recycle them back into reusable spools. This will also save you a lot of money in the long run.

Best Brands of PET Filament

Here are three of the best PET filament brands. Let’s take a look at their features and characteristics.

1. Verbatim PET Filament

PET filaments from Verbatim are very strong and are made from materials of the highest quality. Compared to other brands, Verbatim PET filaments have a level of transparency that is high, and the strength is superb.

You can expect an excellent layer adhesion from this filament, ensuring that you get a great surface finish. It is also designed to be compatible with many 3D printers.

You can also be sure of consistent and uniform feeding from the filaments as well as stable prints. When you receive your filaments, they are packed in a bag that is vacuum-sealed and has a desiccant, making sure that it will last long without any problem with moisture.

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2. MadeSolid PET Filament

Another high-quality PET filament is from MadeSolid. With this filament, you can expand your 3D printer’s versatility.

It is flexible, strong, and completely recyclable. You also won’t need a heated bed for this filament. You won’t have any problems with the smell during printing or warping and shrinking.

Compared to ABS or PLA filaments, PET filaments are much tougher and bends before it breaks. As for the extruder temperature, if you are used to using ABS, PET has almost the same range of temperature for printing.

You won’t be needing a cooling fan for this filament the way PLA does. PET filaments won’t dissolve or degrade in water, and you won’t have any problems with it being brittle.

Buy Madesolid PET Filament


3. Innofil PET Filament

PET filaments from Innofil have diameters that are consistent. When you buy filaments from Innofil, you can be sure that the products have been manufactured with excellent materials using the best machines.

There are no parts that are misshapen, so you don’t have to worry about having issues with your prints because the filament got stuck in your extruder. Innofil produces PET filaments of various colors. These colors remain vibrant and bright even when exposed to high temperatures.

Another great thing about this brand is that you can get a replacement if there are any defects from the product that you received. You can simply contact their customer service, and they will immediately replace your filaments free of charge.

Buy Innofil PET Filament


Specifications Verbatim MadeSolid Innofil
Star Rating 4.3/5 4.6/5 4.2/5
Price $40.16 $34.99 $33.99
Nozzle Temperature 210°C-230°C 250°C-270°C 215°C-220°C

Conclusion

Now that you know more about PET filaments for 3D printing, you will be more confident in using it. PET filaments may not be biodegradable, but they are highly recyclable. It would be great if you can use recycled PET filament so you can contribute to the conservation of the environment while producing great prints. PET plastic 3D printing is as strong as ABS filaments but is quite easy to use just like that of PLA filaments.

📌Have you tried printing with PET filaments? How was your experience with it? If you have any questions about this filament, don’t hesitate to ask us by posting it in the comments. We’ll get back to you soon.

Resources:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyethylene_terephthalate
www.kenplas.com/project/pet/
web.archive.org/web/20100309112752/http://wavepolymertechnology.com/PROCESSING.aspx
3dinsider.com/3d-printing-filaments/
www.allthat3d.com/nylon-filament/
www.allthat3d.com/pett-filament/