How to 3D Print PETG on an Ender 3
PETG is a higher level material that can be tricky to 3D print, and people wonder how they can 3D print it on an Ender 3 properly. I decided to write this article detailing how to do this.
Keep on reading for more information about printing PETG on an Ender 3.
How to 3D Print PETG on an Ender 3
Here how to 3D print PETG on an Ender 3:
- Upgrade to a Capricorn PTFE Tube
- Use a PEI or tempered glass bed
- Dry the PETG filament
- Use proper filament storage
- Set a good printing temperature
- Set a good bed temperature
- Optimize print speed
- Dial in retraction settings
- Use adhesive products
- Use an enclosure
1. Upgrade to a Capricorn PTFE Tube
One of the first things you should do when 3D printing PETG on an Ender 3 is to upgrade your PTFE tube to a Capricorn PTFE Tube. The reason for this is the level of temperature resistance of the stock PTFE tube isn’t the best.
Capricorn PTFE Tubing has a higher heat resistance and can withstand those temperatures that are required to successfully 3D print PETG.
You can get yourself some Capricorn PTFE Tubing from Amazon for a good price.
One user said he’s printed with 260°C for short periods of time without any signs of it degrading. He prints at 240-250°C for long prints without issues. The original PTFE tube that came with his Ender 3 looked scorched just printing PETG at 240°C.
It comes with a nice cutter that cuts the PTFE tube at a nice sharp angle. When you use a blunt object to cut it, you can risk squeezing the tube and damaging it. Burning fumes from PTFE is pretty harmful, especially if you have pet birds.
Another user who bought this for 3D printing PETG said it even improved his print quality and reduced stringing on his models. Filaments should slide through easier with this upgrade and even looks nicer.
CHEP has a great video detailing how to upgrade an Ender 3 with Capricorn PTFE tube.
2. Use a PEI or Tempered Glass Bed
Another useful upgrade to do before printing PETG on the Ender 3 is using a PEI or Tempered Glass bed surface. Getting the first layer of PETG to stick to your bed surface is tricky, so having the right surface can make a big difference.
I’d recommend going with the HICTOP Flexible Steel Platform PEI Surface from Amazon. Many users who purchased this surface say that it works great with all types of filament, including PETG.
The best thing is how prints basically pop off the surface when you let it cool down. You don’t really need to use any adhesives on the bed such as glue, hairspray or tape.
You can also choose from a few options of having a double-sided textured bed, one smooth and one textured, or a textured one-sided PEI bed. I use the textured side myself and have great results with every filament type.
One user said she mainly prints with PETG and had issues with the stock Ender 5 Pro bed surface, needing to add glue and it still not being consistent. After upgrading to a textured PEI bed, she had zero issues with adhesion and taking the models off is easy.
Some people also have great results for printing PETG using a Creality Tempered Glass Bed from Amazon. The great thing about this bed type is how it leaves a really nice smooth surface at the bottom of your models.
You might have to raise up your bed temperature a few degrees since the glass is quite thick. One user said he had to set a bed temperature of 65°C to get a 60°C surface temperature.
Another user who only prints with PETG said he had issues getting it to stick, but after purchasing this bed, every print has adhered successfully. There are mentions of not printing PETG on glass beds since they can stick too well and cause damage, but many people don’t have this issue.
It might be down to letting the print cool completely before trying to remove it. Other users also report having success with PETG models on this bed, and it being easier to clean.
3. Dry the PETG Filament
It’s important to dry your PETG filament before printing with it because PETG is prone to absorbing moisture in the environment. The best prints you’ll get with PETG is after it has been properly dried, which should reduce the common stringing issues that PETG has.
Most people recommend using a professional filament dryer like the SUNLU Filament Dryer from Amazon. It has an adjustable temperature range of 35-55°C and time settings range from 0-24 hours.
A few users who dried their PETG filament with this said it greatly improved their PETG print quality and that it works great.
Check out the clear difference between the models below, before and after drying brand new PETG filament out of the bag. He used an oven at 60°C for 4 hours.
Do keep in mind though, many ovens aren’t calibrated very well at lower temperatures and might not maintain it well enough to dry filament with.
Before and after drying brand new out-of-the-sealed-bag PETG filament (4 hours in the oven at 60ºC) from 3Dprinting
I wrote an article called How to Dry Filament Like a Pro – PLA, ABS, PETG which you can check out for more information.
You can also check out this filament drying guide video.
4. Use Proper Filament Storage
PETG filament absorbs moisture from the air, so it is very important to keep it dry to prevent warping, stringing and other issues when 3D printing it. After you dry it and it’s not in use, make sure it’s properly stored.
One user recommends storing your PETG filament in a plastic sealed container with desiccant when not in use.
You can get a more professional solution like this eSUN Filament Vacuum Storage Kit from Amazon for storing your filaments when not in use.
This particular kit comes with 10 vacuum bags, a 15 humidity indicators, 15 packs of desiccant, a hand pump and two sealing clips.
For more information about filament storage, read this article I wrote called Easy Guide to 3D Printer Filament Storage & Humidity.
5. Set a Good Printing Temperature
Now let’s start getting into the actual settings for successfully printing PETG on an Ender 3, starting with printing temperature.
The recommended printing temperature for PETG falls within a range of 230-260°C, depending on the brand of PETG filament you want to use. You can check the recommended printing temperatures for your specific brand of filament on the packaging or the side of the spool.
Here are some recommended printing temperatures for a few brands of PETG:
- Atomic PETG 3D Printer Filament – 232-265°C
- HATCHBOX PETG 3D Printer Filament – 230-260°C
- Polymaker PETG Filament – 230-240°C
You want to get the optimal printing temperature to ensure you get the best printing results for your PETG. When you print at a temperature too low, you can get some bad adhesion between the layers, leading to less strength and breaking much easily.
Printing PETG at a temperature too high can cause drooping and sagging, especially with overhangs and bridges, leading to lesser quality models.
To get the ideal printing temperature, I always recommend printing a Temperature Tower. It’s basically a model that has multiple blocks, and you can insert a script to automatically change temperature in increments for each block.
This allows you to compare how good the print quality is for each temperature.
Check out the video below to see how to create a Temperature Tower directly in Cura.
You also have a setting called the Initial Layer Printing Temperature in Cura, which you can increase by 5-10°C if you are having adhesion troubles.
Another thing to note before printing with PETG is that the bed should be level so that the filament does not get smushed into the bed. It’s different to PLA which needs to be smushed into the bed, so make sure to slightly lower the bed for PETG.
6. Set a Good Bed Temperature
Selecting the correct bed temperature is very important to having successful PETG 3D prints on your Ender 3.
It’s recommended that you start off with the filament manufacturer’s recommended bed temperature. It is usually on the box or spool of filament, then you can do some testing to see what works for your 3D printer and setup.
The ideal bed temperatures for some actual filament brands are:
Here are some recommended bed temperatures for a few brands of PETG:
- Atomic PETG 3D Printer Filament – 70-80°C
- Polymaker PETG Filament – 70°C
- NovaMaker PETG 3D Printer Filament – 50-80°C
A lot of users have had good experiences printing PETG with the bed temperature at 70-80°C.
CNC kitchen has a great video about how the printing temperature affects the strength of PETG.
You also have a setting called the Build Plate Temperature Initial Layer in Cura, which you can increase by 5-10°C if you are having adhesion troubles.
7. Optimize Print Speed
It is important to test different print speeds in order to get the best result when 3D printing PETG on an Ender 3. Start off with the manufacturer’s recommended print speed, usually around 50mm/s, and adjust as necessary during printing.
Here are the recommended print speed of some filament brands:
- Polymaker PETG Filament – 60mm/s
- SUNLU PETG Filament – 50-100mm/s
Most people recommend using speeds of 40-60mm/s for PETG, while having it at 20-30mm/s for the first layer (Initial Layer Speed).
8. Dial in Retraction Settings
Finding the right retraction settings is necessary to get the most out of your PETG 3D prints on your Ender 3. Setting up both the retraction speed and distance will heavily influence the quality of your prints.
The optimal retraction speed for PETG is relatively low, around 35-40mm/s, for both Bowden and Direct Drive extruders. The optimal retraction distance is between 5-7mm for Bowden extruders and 2-4mm for direct-drive extruders. Good retraction settings can help to avoid stringing, nozzle clogs and jams, etc.
CHEP has a great video about how to calibrate perfect retraction settings using Cura 4.8 plug-in.
If you still get stringing issues, you can also adjust your jerk and acceleration settings. One user recommends adjusting the acceleration and jerk control if stringing occurs frequently.
Some settings that should work is to have acceleration control set at around 500mm/s² and jerk control set to 16mm/s.
9. Use Adhesive Products
Not everyone uses adhesive products for their bed, but it can be very beneficial for getting a higher success rate for your PETG 3D prints on an Ender 3. These are simple products like hairspray sprayed on the bed, or glue sticks gently rubbed across the bed.
Once you do this, it creates a sticky layer of material that the PETG can adhere to easier.
I’d highly recommend Elmer’s Purple Disappearing Glue Sticks from Amazon as an adhesive product if you are printing PETG on an Ender 3. It is non-toxic, acid-free, and it works well with filaments with bed adhesion issues such as PETG.
You can check out this CHEP’s video on how to print PETG on an Ender 3.
10. Use an Enclosure
Using an enclosure isn’t necessary to 3D print PETG, but you can benefit from it depending on the environment. One user mentioned that PETG doesn’t require an enclosure, but it might be a good idea if you are printing in a cold room because PETG prints better in a warmer room.
He said his PETG didn’t print well in a room at 64°C (17°C) and does better at 70-80°F (21-27°C).
If you are looking to get an enclosure, you can get something like the Comgrow 3D Printer Enclosure for Ender 3 from Amazon. It is suitable for filaments that need a high temperature, such as PETG.
It can be good in some cases because PETG doesn’t like cooling the same way as PLA, so if you have drafts then an enclosure can protect against that. PETG has a relatively high glass transition temperature (when it gets soft) so an enclosure wouldn’t get hot enough to affect it.