Achieving the Perfect Finish with PETG

There’s more than one way to achieve a smooth finish, but what about a perfect one? Certain smoothing techniques can almost completely eliminate layer lines and miniscule deformities on a print.

This article focuses on smoothing PETG, a popular filament in the 3D printing community. What separates PETG from the rest, is an ingredient called glycol. This ingredient allows the 3D print to be less brittle and develop wonderful prints.

What makes PETG great, is also the reason traditional smoothing approaches used for ABS and PLA filaments, just don’t work for PETG. The thing about PETG, is that due to its chemical composition, it requires some atypical smoothing methods. But that is okay, because here are some great ways to get the job done.

  • Sanding: This is a great method if you have some time on your hands. Known for being a versatile and reliable approach, however it isn’t a quick process.
  • Polishing: Note that polishing should only occur after the sanding process is complete. If sanding isn’t done, the polish will not stick to your part.
  • Coating: This can be done with epoxy resin and is one of the smoothing techniques that can also be used with ABS and PLA.
  • Heat Treatment: Heat treating works by melting an extremely thin layer of the 3D print’s outermost surface. In order to carry out this process, you will need a heat gun that allows you to control the temperature. The sweet spot is usually around the melting point of the PETG filament, but this varies depending on the brand.
  • Dissolving: Dichloromethane, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), toluene, and cyclohexanone are the solvents recommended to use with PETG, as the more common solvent, acetone, is not compatible with this type of filament (only ABS and PLA).

Please note that some of the products discussed above are dangerous and should only be used by experts, professionals and those who have significant experience with the materials.

If you are interested in learning more about the application methods of each smoothing technique, grab the full article here.


Categories: Design & Process