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printing with PET - a first glance

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Tday we received a first batch of PET at the lab. Since we haven't been able to find much info on this new printing material we'll give you a quick review :





PET - the stuff plactic coke bottles is made of


The problem with materials like PET is that we have all handled it before and it's been perfected in the industry to create disposable consumer containers like bottles and crates. Since PET as a simple bottle is so perfect in strenght, clearness, weight & safety it was easy to get our hopes up high ..... waaay high ..... when we received our first spool of 2.85 mm. PET.


As fablab prototypers we know better though .... first see ... then believe ....


Cool but not impressive




Our first print with PET went as expected. Intuitively we set the temperature rather high for a new material and we hit the sweet spot around 232 degrees for printing PET.


Surface adhesion on standard blue tape worked well, similar to PLA, and printing was smooth and uneventful. PET is sold as clear / translucent material, and it is, but due to the printing proces we'll never be able to achieve window-pane like clear materials as the layering in our prints will always scatter the light. So ..... no see-through bottles ... not even with PET.


Our print came out clean and very smooth. Upon close inspection we must admit that the surface of the PET bottle was surprisingly smooth with light bumping. No signs of the usual layering (on the surface).




A simple break-test revealed that PET also simply snaps at the first weak layer, not unlike PLA, but further temperature test may still hold a secret strenght-sweetspot. We haven't found it (yet) so strenghtwise we rate it along the lines of PLA.


PET when printed is not brittle and hard, but somewhat silky and flexing. No flex like nylon, but it gives a bit and boinks right back.


short conclusion :


PET is still new and undiscoverd. Up till now we are unimpressed. Apart from the silky textured surface and potential resistance to certain acids/materials we have not seen anything that made our jaws drop. It's still expensive and we haven't found a specific use for it yet. At any rate, being able to add a new material to the filament list is always a good thing.


We'll move on to masonry style filaments next ... sounds more exciting ... stay tuned.



fablab013 - Tilburg


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There is no "ideal material". Each material has its pros and cons and one downside of PC is that it warps a bit. That's just how it is.


True, but then list both the pros and cons, or you will set false expectations.


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On 6/12/2013 at 7:51 PM, fablab013 said:

Hi I am almost a newbie to 3d printing and have more failures than successes with PLA. However I am doing a scooter up for my daughter and decided rather than buy a rear light I would print one so I am printing the PET for the lense as I type this, I started at 232C but slowly increased it as the print progressed and currently its sitting at 245C and the result is pretty good resionably clear.



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