3D Printing with PETG: Tips and Tricks

day oneTis the season to be jolly, join the Wolfpack in a fun 25 Days of Materials 3D printing countdown to Christmas and learn about 25 different materials and their unique properties! The objects to be 3D printed are part of the Advent Calendar/Christmas Tree designed by pleppik.  Everyday we will be unveiling a new part of the Advent Calendar and talking about a different special 3D printing material.

Day 5: Toy Train. 3D Printing with PETG

Toy Train 3D Printed in PETGPETG filament is an extra tough 3D print material. This is an extreme high strength filament and can achieve very sturdy and strong prints. It has very low shrinkage, making this perfect for larger flat surfaces. PETG is a perfect alternative to ABS and PLA, offering higher strength, lower shrinkage, and a smoother finish.

Some interesting facts about PETG:

  • PETG is short for polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified, and is a transparent type of Copolyester.
  • There is frequently some confusion on the difference between PETG and T-Glase. Technically-speaking both products are PETG, but the difference is tantamount to say, find out more here: http://airwolf3d.com/2015/02/25/t-glase-and-petg/
  • PETG is the perfect filament to combine strength and flexibility, which is why it’s used in so many mechanical parts or robotics.
  • It has great chemical resistance with good acidic and alkalic resistance.
  • The filament is environmentally friendly and recyclable. PETG is known for it’s transparency and clarity.
  • PETG is also very nice to make artistic prints like bracelet, rings, collars etc.. You get a nice shiny transparent/see thru look which reflects the light nicely.

3D Printing with PETG: Tips and Tricks

  • PETG has a higher melt temperature due to the high strength so we recommend setting you hot end temperature around 230 to 260°C.
  • Set your bed temperature at 90°C when 3D printing with PETG.
  • Apply one coat of Wolfbite by painting on cold glass with long strokes, covering theWolfbite Wolfbite is a solution specially engineered to bond PETG and ABS plastic parts directly to a heated glass 3D printing surface without lifting. Once the 3D printed parts have cooled, they will dismount from the printing surface with minimal effort, leaving a clean and smooth bottom surface.

Common applications of PETG

PETG is used in a variety of signage, packaging, industrial and medical applications:

  • Medical braces.
  • Electronics.
  • Guards.
  • Glazing.
  • Covers.
  • Point-of-purchase and graphic displays.
Did you know?

PETG is FDA compliant, so it can be used in medical and food applications. In medical applications, it stands up to radiation and chemical sterilization techniques without changing color.

Are you ready to start 3D Printing with PETG? Awesome! You can buy some PETG filament here http://airwolf3d.com/shop/petg-filament.

More Materias To Follow!

Below is a chart to list a few of the 3D printing filaments that we will be discussing over the next 25 Days of Materials.

25 Days of Materials.
Day 1: Nylon.
Day 2: HIPS.
Day 3: Stainless Steel PLA.
Day 4: PC-ABS.

Melting Points for 3D Printing Materials

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3D Printing Tips and Tricks: Keeping Your Electronics Cool

Keeping the parts in your 3D Printer cool

 

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The electronics that control a 3D printer are not that much different than those that are inside a modern PC, and as such, keeping those components cool is paramount to keeping the 3D printer running efficiently. In this installment of 3D Printing Tips and Tricks, I am going to show you a quick and easy way to keep your printer’s electronics cool.

 

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Before I begin, I would like to thank Silverstone and Lulzbot for providing the hardware for this installment of 3D Printing Tips and Tricks. Lulzbot donated the printer used in this tutorial, and Silverstone donated the cooling fan. I have uploaded the design file for the mount used in this tutorial to my Thingiverse profile for anyone interested in printing it themselves.

 

Parts Needed

 

  • One 80mm PC Fan
  • One Custom Mounting Bracket

 

Tools Needed

 

  • One Phillips Screwdriver

 

Before we begin, let’s take a moment to discuss what components get the hottest and what happens when your 3D printer’s electronics overheat. Most of the 3D printers on the market today run a version of the RAMPS electronics, but a few run custom solutions such as RAMBO or SANGUINOLOLU boards. Depending on your printer’s age and manufacturer, it could be running one of about 30 different controller boards, but fortunately, all of these boards have one piece of hardware in common. I am talking about the stepper motor driver chips, and these little black squares are the culprit of most of the heat produced on the board.

 

If the stepper motor drivers are not kept within their operating temperature range, they can cause missed steps, dodgy movement, or even burn out altogether. For boards such as RAMPS, this is not a major issue as replacing the burnt out driver is cheap and easy. For other boards, it could mean replacing the entire piece of hardware. This is why cooling is so important on every board.

 

Take for example the AO-100 from Lulzbot. In my opinion, this printer is one of the best ever made (after some tweaking), but its RAMPS electronics are only passively cooled. With the massive ball of wires covering the top of the board, hardly any ambient airflow makes it to the driver chips. To combat this, I have designed an easy-to-print fan mount that utilizes a common 80mm PC fan as the cooling solution. The video below showcases this mount being printed on my new Lulzbot Taz 3.

 

 

I printed the fan mount at about 80mm/sec, which seems to be the perfect balance between perfect layers and speed for my Taz 3. Unfortunately, I still need to dial in the retraction settings as I did notice a few blobs occurring during the print. The screw holes were right on their specified dimensions, though, which means that the Taz 3 is dialed in very well.

 

With the fan’s mount now printed, we can get started mounting it to the fan and then mounting the assembly to the AO-100’s chassis. To do this, I will utilize one of the AO-100’s existing screws. The fan I am using is the Suscool 81 from Silverstone Technology. The fan includes a thermal probe that adjusts the fan’s speed based on temperature. I am going to be placing this probe on top of one of the driver chips.

 

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First, we simply need to mount the fan to the mount using the supplied mounting screws. This can be a little tricky as the fan screws will need to cut threads into the fan’s housing. Take this step slowly and use a properly sized screwdriver to avoid damage to the screw heads.

 

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With the fan and the mount now one solid piece, let’s unscrew one of the wire hold-down screws and add in the mounting bracket for the fan. This turned out to be a good spot to mate the mount to the chassis, but if you happen to have some spare t-slot nuts around, it may be better to attach the mount to the printer’s chassis.

 

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With everything wired up, we connect the fan to the 12V line leading into RAMPS from the PSU. This causes the fan to run anytime power is connected to the printer, but I find this not to be an issue since I always turn the surge protector the PSU is connected to off when I am finished printing. There are a few other options for connecting the fan, but this would require a lower voltage fan and some custom G-Code. If there is enough demand, I will write a separate tutorial on that later.

 

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With the fan now installed, overheating issues will be a thing of the past. While your 3D printer may never actually overheat without a cooling fan, having one installed gives you peace of mind that everything will stay within its operating temperature. I recently had a print go bad that caused the X-Axis to bind. This caused the stepper motor to stall, and the result was a burnt out Pololu stepper driver. I had a few extra on hand, but it still caused unnecessary downtime.

 

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For those of you who are worried about additional noise, the Suscool 81 only emits about 18db at 60C, and just over 19db at full speed. In my testing, this fan is inaudible over the printer’s ambient noise during printing. Silverstone’s Suscool line of PC fans is one of the quietest PC fan lines on the market today, and I use them exclusively in my file server because of this.

 

During the next installment of 3D Printing Tips and Tricks, we are going to talk about portable tool kits and what are the necessities when you want to take your 3D printer on the road. I have perfected this kit over the past several months while moving my AO-100 to my Makerspace and back every weekend. Stay tuned for that and much more here at TweakTown!