PETG vs Nylon: What to Choose and When?

This article will highlight the main differences between two of the most popular printing filaments, PETG and nylon.
By
reviewed
Reviewed by
Last updatedLast updated: June 23, 2022
For 3D Print is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

3D printing is rapidly gaining popularity among the hobbyist community, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a great way to bring your projects to life. Found a sculpture that you love? Print it! Looking for an exciting way to spend the holidays with your loved ones? Introduce them to 3D printing! There’s so much you can do with a 3D printer, and now that there are affordable models in the market, the only thing left to do is look for the perfect filament.

Petg vs. nylon are 2 of the most popular choices. They’re both high performance and widely used, but they each have their distinct benefits and drawbacks. In this guide, we will look at how each filament works, its properties, and its pros & cons. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll be better placed to buy the most suitable filament based on your intended use.

Nylon

PETG vs Nylon: What to Choose and When?

While you can’t print a house with nylon filament, it’s strong and flexible, making it perfect for projects that are likely to be exposed to wear and tear.

The 3D printing industry is evolving, and according to a BBC Trusted Source The world's first family to live in a 3D-printed home A family in France has become the first in the world to move into a 3D-printed house. The four-bedroom property is a prototype for bigger projects aiming to make housebuilding quicker and cheaper. Could it cause a shift in the building industry? With curved walls designed to reduce the effects of humidity and digital controls for disabled people, this house could be an expensive realisation of an architect’s vision. www.bbc.com news article, a family in France recently moved into a 3D printed home. Nylon is a PA or polyamide and belongs to the polymers group and was first used in 1935. It was developed by a chemist that worked for DuPont, known as W. Carothers, and it first hit the market in the form of a toothbrush. It was later adopted in the textile industry due to its high resistance while still retaining its flexibility. You probably know it from women’s tights seeing as it’s been the main material used to make pantyhose for more than 80 years.

Nylon has also been used in the automotive industry due to its functional qualities.

One of the reasons why it’s popular in 3D printing is due to its material qualities. As a printer, you already know that the requirements for filaments are high, as any glitch can ruin your entire project. Filaments are also the base of multiple projects and should be of the best quality. Nylon is most preferred due to its durability, flexibility, and strength. There’s also the fact that it can be dyed either before or after printing and is usually colored.

Even though some nylon filaments vary slightly from each other, you can always expect them to display:

  • Partial flexibility
  • High durability
  • Average strength
  • Stability even in tough printing conditions

Nylon has a wide scope of use, and currently, you can find it everywhere from tires, clothes, parachutes, toothbrushes, etc. Since it has excellent heavy stability, it’s also used for oven-safe food containers and some internal car components.

Properties

Before we dive into the properties in detail, here’s a quick overview of nylon’s main features.

  • Extruder temperature: 220-270 °C
  • Operating Temperature: 90 °C
  • Printing bed temperature: 70-90 °C
  • Printing bed adhesion: PEI, Glue stick
  • Density: 1,1 g/cm³
  • Waterproof?: No
  • Impact-resistant?: Yes
  • UV resistant?: No
  • Chemically resistant?: No
  • Food safe?: Yes

In addition to its strength, flexibility, and durability, nylon has more properties that make it a great 3D filament material. Here are its main properties:

  1. Degree of difficulty: it’s in the middle range, and you should ideally use nylon within a temperature range of 220-270 °C. The printing bed’s temperature should be no more than 100°C. Since nylon warps heavily, you’ll need to use a heated print bed. You’ll also have to get an all-metal-hot end for your printing needs.
  2. Support: there’s no specific support material recommended for nylon filament, but HIPS is a great option as it’s within nylon’s printing temperature range. You’ll, however, have to use limonene solvent stock to remove the support structures.
  3. Bed Adhesion: with nylon, you’ll have to use an adhesive for warping prevention. The most affordable option is a PVA-based glue, but some printers recommended a fiberglass surface that has been coated with epoxy resin or a gasoline build surface.
  4. Dimension accuracy: since nylon is prone to warping and shrinking, its performance in dimension accuracy is unimpressive. Don’t worry if your final model shrinks. This is a normal reaction caused by the Nylon cooling down too fast.
  5. Warping: Nylon is prone to warping, and this is one of the major drawbacks of working with this material. Warping only makes this filament difficult to work with, which is why it’s not recommended for beginners.
  6. Surface finish: when it comes to the finishing process, solvent-based materials never work on nylon. The only option is to smooth down your project by polishing or sanding it.
PETG vs Nylon: What to Choose and When?

You should, however, note that since nylon is abrasion-resistant, the surface finish process will be a bit challenging.

Nylon filaments are relatively expensive, and a 1kg spool goes for around $30 to $60. There are, however, some unique blends that have enhanced mechanical properties and guarantee better performance, and they can go for up to $8-0 per spool.

Pros and cons

Pros

There are four main advantages of working with nylon filament:

  1. Lack of odor: Nylon has no noticeable odor, which is why it’s mostly preferred by people that print at home, as it’s rarely a cause of irritation. It’s also a great option if you have to be close to your 3D printer while the project is ongoing or often have to undertake long printing sessions. It’s, however, never a good idea to stay close to melting plastics.
  2. Flexibility: Nylon has a slightly flexible finish that allows it to retain its shape without reducing its strength. This feature is especially noticeable on edges or small components. Other plastics often break, but nylon usually bends. This quality makes it great for prints that require movements such as spindles and spinning gears. It’s also great for prints that require intricate details or rounded parts.
  3. High durability: to some people, the high melting point of nylon is a disadvantage, but this also results in one of its greatest features; high resistance to wear and tear. It achieves high levels of hardness which allows nylon objects to be used regularly without impacting their structural integrity. Nylon also has high abrasion resistance.
  4. Relative strength: Nylon may not be the strongest printing material, but it does have above-average strength. The strength of your filament will be largely determined by the type you use, but it can support the weight of a small material ratio.

Cons

Before settling on a printing filament, it’s important that you also consider the downside. They could be the dealbreaker when it comes to your choice of prints. There are 2 main drawbacks of using nylon:

  1. Very pricey: compared to other printing materials, nylon has a very high price point. Some spools can cost up to $80, and while the benefits of nylon are worth the price, if you’re only buying a filament for home printing, you may have to look for cheaper alternatives.
  2. Hygroscopicity: this is the term used to refer to the water absorption properties of printing material. Nylon is not water-resistant, and it easily absorbs moisture from surrounding materials and environments. This is why it’s not a great filament option if you live in humid areas. Nylon’s hygroscopicity also impacts your project after you’re done printing. If you leave an object out, it can absorb moisture, affecting its appearance. If your filament also absorbs moisture before printing, it could cause the material to wrap as it prints, fail to stick to the printing bed, and become stuck in the nozzle.

PETG

PETG vs Nylon: What to Choose and When?

PETG or polyethylene terephthalate glycol is an excellent 3D printing material, especially if you’re planning on printing near chemicals or water.

This material is FDA compliant when it comes to making food storage materials and is a great option for medical tools and accessories since it can withstand the high temperatures needed for sterilization through autoclaving.

PETG is simply PET that has been glycol-modified. This makes it less brittle and more clear, making it a great printing alternative.

Properties

There are various properties that make PETG a great printing filament, but first, here’s a simple overview of its features.

  • Extruder temperature: 230-250 °C
  • Operating Temperature: 70 °C
  • Printing bed temperature: 75-90 °C
  • Printing bed adhesion: Glue Stick, Blue Tape
  • Density: 1,2 g/cm³
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Impact-resistant?: No
  • UV resistant?: No
  • Chemically resistant?: Yes
  • Food safe?: Yes

Here are the main properties of PETG filament:

  1. Degree of difficulty: PETG has a lower range of printing difficulties which is why it’s highly preferred by beginners. Its printing temperature range is anywhere between 230-250 °C, and since PETG is not prone to warping, you won’t need a heated print bed. You’ll, however, benefit from having one, especially within the 75-90 °C temperature range.
  2. Support: there’s no specific recommended support material for PETG filament, but you can use HIPS which has a temperature range of 220 to 240 °C. This is very close to that of PETG’s printing temperature. You will, however, need to use a limonene solvent stock to remove the support, but the best part is that this material makes support removal effortless.
  3. Bed adhesion: irrespective of whether you’re using a heated print bed or not, blue painter’s tape and glue stick are always great adhesives for PETG filament. They are foolproof and reduce the risk of bed adhesion problems.
  4. Dimension accuracy: compared to Nylon and ABS, it’s much easier to retain the fine details and accurate dimensions. This is because this printing material doesn’t warp, and it doesn’t cool down quickly, allowing you to print amazing details.
  5. Warping: This is one of the main benefits of PETG over nylon filaments. It doesn’t warp, which has given it a massive popularity boost.
  6. Surface finish: as is with nylon, solvent-based finishing processes never work with PETG filaments. The best way to make your finished projects smooth is by polishing and sanding them down. You can also use a heat gun to melt down the surface imperfections, but you need to be very careful as you risk ruining your entire project if you use an improper technique.
PETG vs Nylon: What to Choose and When?

Some more expensive blends can retail for up to $30, but this is still way lower than the cost of nylon.

Since PETG is more forgiving, it’s the most popular beginner-friendly option compared to other filaments. It’s also significantly cheaper, with a 1kg spool going for around $20.

According to multiple reviews, the HATCHBOX PETG 3D Printer Filament is one of the best in the market.  It’s available in 6 colors: bronze, copper, dark yellow, electric lime, light orange, and lime green. This 1kg spool also has a filament diameter of 1.75mm and has been vacuumed sealed with desiccant. It’s recommended that you use a nozzle temperature of 230°C – 260°C for the best result.

The ANYCUBIC PETG filament also comes highly recommended. It’s available in 4 colors; white, transparent orange, transparent blue, and black. This filament is odorless, environmentally friendly, and recyclable. It also has low shrinkage qualities and has been vacuumed sealed with desiccant.

Pros and cons

Pros

There are three main benefits of using PETG filament:

  1. Strength and rigidity: flexibility is a great quality, but sometimes you need rigid material, especially when printing solid and large chunks of plastic. PETG strikes the ideal balance between rigidity and brittleness. It’s not too brittle that it breaks, making it great for a wide range of projects.
  2. Water and chemical resistance: this quality makes it the best option for people that live in humid areas. Unlike nylon that absorbs moisture, PETG can be used in almost all types of environments.
  3. Smooth finish: PETG prints do not become cloudy like nylon. They are smooth, retain color and remain clear for large periods of time.

Cons

The main downsides of PETG filaments include:

  • Low durability: PETG prints don’t last for long and are vulnerable to wear and tear.
  • Material stringing: strings are easy to clean off, but they can be frustrating.

Final thoughts

The scope of 3D printing is increasing, and according to The Guardian Trusted Source Building by numbers: how 3D printing is shaking up the construction industry | Guardian sustainable business | The Guardian Robotics and prefabrication could see more 3D printers deployed on building sites but quality control remains a problem. www.theguardian.com , it’s shaking up the construction industry. If you enjoy bringing your projects to life with a 3D printer, then one of the most important decisions you have to make is choosing the right printing filament. The chances are that you’ve come across petg vs. nylon. Both materials are great, but nylon is more durable and strong. It’s also highly flexible. PETG, on the other hand, has moisture and chemical resistance qualities making it great for humid areas. You should, however, make your purchasing decision based on your printing needs.

References

1.
The world's first family to live in a 3D-printed home
A family in France has become the first in the world to move into a 3D-printed house. The four-bedroom property is a prototype for bigger projects aiming to make housebuilding quicker and cheaper. Could it cause a shift in the building industry? With curved walls designed to reduce the effects of humidity and digital controls for disabled people, this house could be an expensive realisation of an architect’s vision.
2.
Building by numbers: how 3D printing is shaking up the construction industry | Guardian sustainable business | The Guardian
Robotics and prefabrication could see more 3D printers deployed on building sites but quality control remains a problem.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.