Both PETG and PLA filament belong to the polyester group of plastics. Like most FDM 3D printing filaments, both are also thermoplastics. That means they soften above a specific temperature, and become solid again once cooled down. In theory, this process can be repeated over and over again without degrading the material quality. Most PLA and many PETG filaments are available in both 1.75 mm diameter and 2.85 mm diameter.
So how do the two types of filament differ?
In short, if physical properties of the filament are a high priority for your 3D printing application, PETG would be the first to explore.
If, on the other hand, an exact and very good aesthetic is required for your project to hit the bullseye, you should probably go for PLA.
Even though there are similarities between the properties of an object 3D printed in PETG and PLA, each have their own unique properties:
Because most of us probably started out FDM 3D printing with PLA filament, here are some points to consider when moving on to PETG:
For PETG, it’s sometimes not that easy to know that the material you’ve found is actually PETG. The filament type goes under a variety of product names from different manufacturers. And it’s probably worth trying out different brands, as each manufacturer blends their PETG in unique ways to achieve specific material properties.
With PLA, product names often indicate the blended-in material or property. BronzeFill from Colorfabb contains bronze powder, while HTPLA from Proto-Pasta can be annealed to handle higher temperatures.
License: The text of "PETG vs PLA – 3D Printing Filaments Compared" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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