3D Printing – Personal and Mechanical Versatility When Changing Material

Like most who start printing, I’ve started with PLA filament and love how easy it is to print with. Recently I’ve moved to printing with PETG and tried ABS. PETG is almost just like PLA, but with a stronger structural integrity. But the average print temp is 240 degree Celsius, and bed temp 80 degrees Celsius. For most printers that starts to push the machine to its limits and can overload it, or fry something important. ABS has a printing temp of 240 degrees Celsius and a bed temp of at least 60 degrees Celsius. This makes ABS a bit more eligible for most printers, but when the filament is heated it puts off a toxic fume. With that, and the printing set up I have currently; its not worth my time to use it.

Moving to PETG from PLA is a huge difference for durability. This allows the part to withstand more stress than expected without needing a high temperature material. But you need to know the limits of your printer, as the Ender 3 is being pushed almost to its max to print the PEGT I have currently. In order to relieve as much stress as I could I have the printer at the middle range of printing temp to allow the material to flow easily, taking tension off the Extruder motor. This material already stripped my original stepper motor that had 500 hours on it. So the stress shows in the quickest way by burning out the weakest main function of the machine.

I’ve also increased the nozzle size from .4 mm to .6 mm relieving the stress off the Extruder even more. Changing small cheap parts like the boden tube and the nozzle could not only help with any normal issues while printing, but also while transitioning between materials. DISCLAIMER: I would not recommend pushing your machine to near limits unless you have thermal run away in the operating system. This keeps the printer from pushing high voltages through the hot end if a wire or connection burns out, preventing a dangerous fire.

Now for the slicing! Changing the temps you print with is number one! If you moved to a larger nozzle make sure you do that also. When putting the nozzle size in the slicer, the shell width needs to be a multiple of the nozzle. Nozzle size being .6mm the shell needs to be .6mm (one shell), 1.2mm (two shells), or 1.8mm (three shells), cont. The strength of the material in combination with the nozzle difference, allows for a lower shell count and a lighter infill. Changing the small things helps on durability and printing time! Don’t think it will? My new extruder motor will increase my print time by at least 10%. And with larger Prints that number is huge!

If your machine has a high capacity for the temps needed to print this material, then print away! The PETG seems to offer a wide range of print capabilities and mechanical durability! Once I figure out the necessary configuration to print comfortably on the Ender 3, it’s going to be my go to material. Other then the machine restrictions PETG Prints just like PLA, making it not to difficult to transition.

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