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Is PETG Sandable?

Is Petg Sandable? | 3D Printing Spot

Updated by

William Stone

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May 19, 2022

For 3D printing, PETG is one of the most commonly used and durable materials. But it requires smoothing causing people to ask if PETG is sandable or not.

Because PETG is so strong and easy to use, it is a popular 3D printing choice but the smoothing process can be quite difficult. Sanding the surface is one way to smooth the edges and remove layer lines too.

PETG can be sanded, but you should use a variety of grit sandpaper types to avoid damaging the material. As the surface gets sanded more, you can change the grit level to continue smoothing the surface properly. It is worth knowing that PETG is much more difficult to sand than other materials.

Sanding PETG can be challenging because it's not as flexible as some other plastics, which can make it more rugged and difficult to smooth out. It's also considered to be one of the most durable types of plastics on the market. This guide explains more about whether PETG is sandable too.

3D printing is quite complex and it takes expertise to understand how these materials work. We have tested the different smooth techniques like sanding on PETG to accurately inform you whether it can be done or not.

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Table of contents:

Is PETG Sandable?

PETG is a modified type of thermoplastic material that is used for the production of different items, but it is also commonly used in 3D printing. It is the filament of PET that is used and it is semi-rigid and comes with excellent durability and impact resistance.

This material is sandable because it is such a durable material. It is not a good idea to sand the PETG print in every instance, but it serves as a viable option most of the time.

The way PETG prints makes it critical that you spend time after the print is complete to smooth it down. We consider sanding one of the best ways to do this and since PETG is such a useful material, it is a common practice.

PETG will not scratch or chip as easily as other materials, which makes it a great choice for those who want its surface to last longer than other types of plastic. This is why sanding it down to get a smoother finish and more refined edges is smart.

What Should You Use To Sand PETG?

PETG is one of the most popular types of plastic in the industry. It has several benefits that make it more desirable than other plastics, but you need a unique set of tools to properly sand it.

The process of sanding PETG is a bit different than the process for other plastics. You should use medium grit sandpaper and run it along the surface in the opposite direction of the grain.

After that, you should use finer-grit sandpaper to remove any scratches or imperfections. You must use fine sandpaper to get this job done. It is also handy to have varying grit sizes for the different angles you will encounter.

Benefits Of Sanding PETG

Sanding is a process for smoothing the surface of an object by rubbing it with an abrasive material like sandpaper. It can be used to change the finish of PETG after the 3D printing process occurs.

Because of the way PETG prints, smoothing down the surface is necessary because of the rugged feel it presents. This makes it necessary to sand the surface to provide the following benefits for your 3D prints.

Reduce Layer Lines

PETG is a popular material used in 3D printing because it is durable and won't break down. However, it also has a downside to it - layer lines. They are visible when you have finished a 3D print with this material.

If you want to eliminate these layer lines, you need to sand the surface before printing. This can be done by using different grits and speeds depending on what type of finish you want to achieve on your print.

Eliminate Deformities

Another key benefit to sanding PETG is that it will reduce and eliminate the deformities that exist after your printing is finished. It is common to see minor ones form around the edges and at specific angles on PETG.

By sanding and smoothing the surface, you will get rid of these deformities to make a more precise object. This improves the quality of the PETG material and your overall 3D print afterward.

Enhanced Visual Appearance

Sanding your PETG will also give it an enhanced exterior and visual appearance to make a better 3D print. This process can help you create better looking designs, add detail to your 3D prints, and improve the surface quality of your objects.

It is worth noting that because PETG is so rugged, sanding is not easy. It requires precision or you could overdo the process and damage the exterior look instead.

Is PETG As Easy To Sand As PLA?

PETG is a thermoplastic, so it doesn't warp as much when printed overhangs are used. It also has a higher melting temperature than PLA, which means that it's easier to print with PETG than PLA.

However, the smoothing process is much more difficult because it is a durable and rugged material. While PETG can be used for more complex prints, sanding it down is much more difficult too.

You need to use extreme precision and caution when trying to smooth a PETG with sandpaper. It requires more force to get the edges cleaned and to smooth out the surface at key angles to make a difference.

The technique does remain the same though. You simply need a finer piece of sandpaper and more time to get the job done.

Is There A Better Method To Smooth PETG?

PETG has an excellent resistance to heat and impact making it necessary to smooth the surface after printing. The 3D prints with this material can be quite rough and unrefined without a smoothing step.

While many choose to use sanding as the smoothing method, the common question about which method is best is asked. We do recommend sanding often but you can also consider the following methods below too.

Polishing

If you want to try another method to smooth PETG, you can try polishing instead. This works for microscopic layer lines unlike sanding and it is ideal to include this in the smoothing process if you want to be more precise.

With polishing, you need a soft cloth and the right polishing compound. It is a less demanding process than sanding because you do not need to scrub the surface roughly to get the results you want.

Always remember to wear gloves and goggles when handling this polishing compound too as a safety precaution.

Painting

Paint is used to smooth out the PETG prints that are made by 3D printers. The paint is applied in layers and with each layer, it extends further into the print, giving it a smoother surface.

This method is used as a way to smooth PETG prints to cover up the deformities. It allows the surface to be more glossy and pleasant. However, it does leave the least long-term impact on the PETG material.

Heat Treatment

Heat treatment is a process that melts a thin layer on the surface of PETG prints to fill in all the gaps by any layer lines. The process is used to improve the print quality and eliminate any defects on the surface.

The heat treatment process can be done by using a heat gun with high-temperature capabilities. The heat resistance of PETG makes this method extremely effective too.

There are various benefits of heat treatment on PETG prints such as preventing pinholes, improving adhesion, and increasing stretchability. This is not necessary for all types of PETG prints but it can be considered as an alternative method for smoothing the print.

About THE AUTHOR

William Stone

William Stone

William has spent 20 plus years in the custom manufacturing industry as a COO, CEO and Owner of various custom product businesses. His experience has exposed him to all types of manufacturing from die cast, die struck, injection molding, CNC machining, laser etching, engraving and of course 3D printing.

Learn more about William Stone

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Is PETG Sandable?

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