Finding the best print surface for PETG 3D prints can be tough at first, but after you get the right information, you can make your 3D printing experience a lot smoother. This article will help you choose the best print surfaces for your PETG models.
The best surface for PETG prints are PEI, BuildTak & Glass. PETG prints work very well with these surfaces and are usually easy to remove once the bed cools down to around 40°C. You can also use Blue Painter’s Tape or a glue stick on top of these surfaces as an extra measure for adhesion.
This is the basic answer but there’s more useful information that you’ll want to know, so keep on reading.
What is the Best Bed Surface for 3D Printing PETG?
One of the best bed surfaces for 3D printing PETG is a PEI surface. It provides a durable and flexible print surface that PETG can adhere to nicely. I personally use this surface on my 3D printer and it works very well for my PETG prints, as well as all the other materials I use.
One user who has tried several surfaces such as glass, Blue Painter’s Tape, and other adhesives mentioned that this specific type of surface is the best, and for many reasons. Even using high temperatures like a 90°C bed, thy haven’t yet experienced warping or layer separation.
The surface finish that he gets on the bottom surface looks much better than his previous surfaces, since they leave a more crude looking surface. PEI beds have a lovely textured surface that leaves a product worth finish.
This user 3D prints many automotive parts so having a good bottom finish was an important factor. They loved this bed surface so much that they ended up ordering 10 of them and will order more in the future.
Another user who did a lot of reading about PEI beds decided to purchase this bed and found it to be their best and only build plate that they now use.
The HICTOP Flexible Steel Platform with PEI Surface from Amazon is a popular choice for getting this bed surface.
It has a range of sizes including:
- 235 x 235mm
- 250 x 250mm
- 310 x 310mm
- 310 x 320mm
It also has two different types:
- Textured One Sided PEI
- Smooth/Textured Double Sided PEI
Pros of the PEI Sheet
- Easy to flex and remove prints
- More reliable for prints with a larger surface area
- Prints are easy to adhere
- Prints remove easily when cooled down to room temperature
- Less sensitive to the distance between nozzle and the surface
Cons of the PEI Sheet
- More critical to level the bed
- Warps easily when placed on a warped aluminum bed
- Can easily get damaged when forcing a print to remove
Another great build plate that you can use for PETG is the BuildTak bed surface. It’s also a flexible print surface, and it allows for temperatures up to 120°C which can easily handle any PETG 3D prints.
It has a specially textured plastic and a heat-resistant adhesive backing that adheres to different build platforms.
You can find the BuildTak 8″ x 8″ Square, Black (Pack of 3) on Amazon for a competitive price. It has a rating of 4.3/5.0 from over 600 users at time of writing.
It’s a good idea to also use an intermediate layer of glue stick or hairspray when printing with PETG to prevent it sticking too firmly to the surface. This has been reported to happen specifically with PETG due to its physical properties.
The first layer for PETG filament shouldn’t be squished too much into the build plate because it can create a very strong bond to the surface. In some instances, build surfaces have been ripped apart when trying to remove models.
This usually happens when you try to remove PETG prints without letting it cool down, or if it has been cooled down for too long. To remove PETG models, you want to have the plate slightly warm at around 40-50°C, then try to flex the plate to remove the model.
Make sure your first layers are calibrated properly through your Z-offset setting.
One user had adhesion issues with the build surface that came with their 3D printer, even while using products like glue sticks. After purchasing the BuildTak surface, they prints started sticking properly, but too well in some cases.
After they calibrated their Z-offset, it resolved that issue so now prints stick without needing any other products.
Another user who tried a few types found that they didn’t work well, but after using a BuildTak surface and leveling it with a business card, prints stuck much better.
Check out the video below by Teaching Tech on the BuildTak flex plate.
Pros of the BuildTak Bed Surface
- It is flexible and makes it a lot easier to remove the prints on the bed
- Adhesive removes prints clean with no residue
- Allows a bed heat of up to 120°C
- Prints without a heated bed
- Easy to install BuildTak flex plate
- Adheres well to print bed on its own, without other adhesives
- Installs with fewer bubbles than tape or films
- Offers a superior alternative to using masking tape or heat-resistant films
Cons of the BuildTak Bed Surface
- The bed takes a long time to heat up
- A little more expensive than other options such as the Wham Bam flex plate.
- Often needs replacement due to wear and tear if not used correctly
Blue Painter’s Tape on Existing Surface
Blue Painter’s Tape is an effective surface that works well with PETG 3D prints. You can simply stick down the tape on your existing 3D printer surface, whether it’s a glass bed or magnetic bed.
It helps to get PETG to adhere, as well as prolongs the life of your bed surface since it’s not being directly printed on. Make sure the tape is stuck down evenly. Some people choose to even use glue stick on top of the tape as an extra measure for better adhesion.
Are Glass Beds Good for 3D Printing PETG?
Yes, glass beds can work well for 3D printing PETG such as the carborundum glass bed that comes with the Ender 3 V2, along with borosilicate glass and garolite glass. Many users have had years of success 3D printing PETG on glass surfaces, though there have been cases where it adheres too well and causes damage.
PETG doesn’t need as much contact area to adhere to the bed, this makes it work well with glass beds.
When printing PETG on the glass surface, it is a good idea to apply a glue stick or hairspray to avoid PETG welding itself to the glass.
Before printing PETG on the glass surface, make sure to level your bed and have the nozzle far enough where the filament is not squishing too much into the glass bed.
The video below talks about 3D printing PETG on a PEI sheet and a glass bed.
Pros of a Glass Bed
- Less sensitive to human error and can survive being hit by the nozzle during leveling
- Easy to remove prints when it cools with no need for a scraper
- Prints remove with a glossy underside finish
Cons of a Glass Bed
- Not ideal if you want to remove parts immediately to start the next print
- PETG prints often come out with chunks of glass