Bragging with many positives compared to other filament types, PETG’s popularity is on the rise.
This material is highly compatible with PEI beds, but what about glass?
To print PETG on an Ender 3 glass bed, heat the build plate to 65°C. Blue painter’s tape or hair spray can help prevent warping and reduce the risk of damaging the bed surface. For the best results, you should also set the nozzle temperature between 220°C and 235°C.
Can Ender 3 Print PETG?
Ender 3 Pro and V2 are two of the most common types of 3D printers used by hobbyists and startups. These machines are affordable and reliable, and come with a glass bed compatible with most filament types.
The main issue is that the upside surface of the build plate (aka, the side that you print on) is coated with inorganic carbon-silicone.
According to Creality, the coating doesn’t affect PETG adhesion negatively. In fact, this type of borosilicate glass plate is suitable to use with PETG material.
Users, however, may do so with mixed results – the filament may not adhere properly. Others complain about it sticking to the surface too hard. This can lead to warping and it could damage the bed surface, even when the plate is heated to the recommended 50°C to 70°C.
Can You Print PETG on Ender 3 Glass Bed?
The secret to successfully printing PETG on an Ender 3 glass bed is turning the build plate upside down.
While the upside surface is coated in silicone carbon, the downside is untreated. Apply a fine coat of hair spray or use blue painter’s tape to act as a release agent, and you can print without issues.
To remove the model after printing, wait until the material cools down completely, but don’t let it sit overnight. Once cool, the object should come right off without damaging the plate.
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Printing with PETG on the coated side of an Ender 3’s borosilicate plate is also possible. However, the filament could stick to the surface and damage the coating. Hairspray, blue tape, or glue could also damage the treated side.
Not using glue or hair spray may also lead to the filament not sticking properly.
Best PETG Settings For Ender 3 (Pro/V2)
Beyond flipping the glass bed on your Ender 3 V2 or Pro printer, you should also get the setting right.
Otherwise, printing might fail even if the material sticks to the build plate.
Initial Layer Height
Figuring out the initial layer height for PETG filament might be the trickiest part of printing with this material.
The problem is that many hobbyists and beginners believe that the first layer of PETG must be squished in the same way you squish a PLA or ABS first layer. However, PETG is a different material that doesn’t need squishing at all.
Thus, a thin initial height – usually between 0.1mm and 0.2mm – if often insufficient.
While most users claim that PETG’s sweet spot for the first layer is 0.28mm, the truth is that you must try and see which initial height works best with your Ender 3.
To find that sweet spot, start from a thinner layer (e.g. 0.1mm) and work your way up in 0.02mm increments until you get it just right.
Tip: You’re likely to have to relevel the bed often during this trial and error stage. If you haven’t bought your Ender 3 already, consider investing (or upgrading) into an Ender 3 with automatic bed leveling.
Once you’ve got the initial layer height right, it’s time to figure out the extrusion temperature.
Most PETG brands recommend an extrusion temperature between 210°C and 250°C. However, the range shrinks if you have an Ender 3 printer.
The main difference between Ender 3s and other 3D printers is the Bowden setup of the hot end. In this setup, the PTFE tube that holds the filament goes all the way to the tip of the nozzle.
This PTFE tube has a melting point of around 240°C; thus, it is crucial to keep the hot end temperature below that threshold.
For typical PETG, you should set the nozzle temperature of your Ender 3 between 220°C and 235°C. In this way, the prints will still turn out great and you won’t risk melting the PTFE.
A common advice that applies to any kind of 3D printer is that of setting the cooling fan speed as high as possible. Fast cooling increases the level of detail and limits stringing issues – PETG is notorious for stringing.
What most enthusiasts don’t tell, however, is that using the fan at full speed from the beginning can affect adhesion on a glass bed.
Thus, when printing with PETG on an Ender 3 printer, you should turn off the fan for the first couple of layers. The lack of cooling will allow the material to adhere to the build plate properly. Once the first layer is set, you can increase the speed to 100%.
Tip: Setting the cooling fan at 100% can limit stringing, but could lead to delamination if the PETG you’re using is not properly dried or if the filament is of poorer quality. To enhance adhesion, you should set the fan speed to 50% or lower. This increases stringing, but improves layer adhesion and model strength.
The retraction distance refers to the amount of material that is pulled back by the extruder. The greater the value, the more material will be pulled back.
For most filaments, the retraction distance rarely exceeds 0.5mm to 2mm. However, PETG is a stringy material and needs a higher retraction.
Like anything else, there is no absolute value here, but a retraction distance of 6mm seems to be preferred for Ender 3 printers.
Tip: While the 6mm retraction distance works for most users, you might find that your specific filament requires a slightly shorter or larger distance. If you can’t fine tune it by changing the distance alone, try varying the retraction speed. Generally, the retraction speed should be 40mm/second or under.
One thing to know before printing is that PETG is a more temperamental filament than others. According to Creality, you should maintain the print speed between 30 and 50mm/second.
This is about the same feed rate PLA requires, which is why PLA and PETG are two of the most popular filament types.
If you’re printing taller models and decide to set a lower cooling fan speed to enhance strength, you may find that your prints can collapse before PETG cools off.
To avoid this, you should use supports.
The main problem is that PETG often sticks to the supports once it cools down, making them hard to remove.
There is a secret to avoid this, though. All you have to do is dive into the more advanced features of your Ender 3 printer and adjust to a larger Z offset. Support Z Gap command in Cura can help achieve a similar purpose.
5 Tips To Get Perfect PETG Prints
Figuring out the perfect settings can sometimes help you achieve perfect prints effortlessly. Other times, you may have to fine-tune the commands. These tips can help improve the quality of your prints.
1. Fine-Tune Fan Speed
Getting the fan speed right is one of the most challenging parts of printing with PETG. This material is prone to stringing, and fast cooling usually aids with that.
Yet, fast cooling can decrease strength, and your models can crack easily.
The best fan speed to minimize cracking risk while keeping stringing under control is between 20% and 50%. You may be able to go higher than that, depending on filament quality.
Thus, you should start from a high speed and fine-tune little by little until you find the sweet spot.
2. Use Hair Spray or Glue
When printing with most filaments, the main problem is bed adhesion. PETG typically sticks without issues – which is why it doesn’t need squishing.
In fact, it may stick so well that you might struggle to take it off the build plate without damaging its surface.
This is where hair spray and glue sticks step in. These substances can act as release agents, helping you unstick the model.
It is also recommended to flip the Ender 3 bed upside down.
3. Keep Filament Dry
Because of their design, Ender 3 printers often require slightly different settings than other 3D printers when working with PETG.
If the filament is not perfectly dry, these settings can mess up your project even more.
There are various methods to dry PETG filament in the oven, food dehydrator, filament dryer, and even in the freezer. So, use your favorite one to dry filament properly before usage.
4. Try Different Brands
You may not give too much thought to the PETG brand you’re buying. But the truth is that some printers prefer a specific filament brand.
Polymaker PolyMax PETG is an excellent choice, but Hatchbox PETG also seems to rank high among Ender 3 users.
5. Don’t Underestimate Infill
Lastly, give a thought to the infill setting before hitting that Start Print button.
While the infill density might vary from model to model (you have to run some tests to see what works), an important choice is the pattern.
Due to the stringy nature of the material, Zig-Zag is the best infill pattern for PETG. That’s because this infill has the longest continuous line and can minimize stringing issues.
Pros And Cons Of Using PETG With Ender 3
PETG may be a fussy material, but it still is one of the most popular choices. Should you use it too? Check out these pros and cons to decide.
- PETG is naturally glossy and transparent. It can be colored in a variety of hues and produce beautiful, shiny objects.
- It can be less brittle than other materials and can hold up to repeated force if printed correctly.
- The material is recyclable.
- The raw material is less UV resistant than other filament types.
- PETG is highly hygroscopic and needs to be kept airtight. It also requires drying before usage.
- Obtaining a smooth finish in the post-processing can be challenging.
PETG may seem challenging to print on an Ender 3 Pro or V2, but the contrary is true. One of the secrets is using the uncoated side of the build plate and coating it in hairspray.
Setting the right bed and nozzle temperature, and fine tuning the fan and extrusion speed can also help improve your results.
We hope this guide can help you print with PETG on your Ender 3 without wasting too much time and energy.