Filament selection is a process that involves a wide variety of factors, with each one having a significant impact on both the printing process and the model you print.
A filament’s strength, stiffness, durability, density, melting point, and many more all go into consideration when it comes to finding the correct filament for your project, as the differences between these factors can easily make or break a 3D printed model.
One particular attribute we would like to talk about today is the density of PETG filament, as PETG is the go-to filament for most enthusiasts who would like to try something different than PLA, and density is something that we often overlook during filament selection.
So, what is the density of PETG, and how does it affect the print?
While it can show slight differences between different spools of filament, the density of PETG is usually around 1.23 and 1.27 g/cm^3, making it the densest filament type alongside PLA.
As density is a determining factor in the heaviness of an object, we can say that a model you print with PETG will be heavier than with any other filament except PLA, which has a similar density to PETG.
While density is a straightforward term for those familiar with physics, we will take a deeper look into the density of PETG and the concept of density in general in the next section to make things easier for everyone.
What Is the Density of PETG?
While the density of PETG, just as any other type of filament, can slightly vary due to differences in the manufacturing processes of different brands, most PETG filaments have similar densities that won’t make too big of a difference.
In a nutshell, we can assume that the density of any spool of PETG filament you buy will fall into the range of 1.23 to 1.27 g/cm^3, meaning that the difference between different filament brands, if any, would be minuscule.
This value makes PETG the densest filament available in the realm of 3D printing, allowing you to print the heaviest objects possible compared to every other filament.
Effects of Filament Density on 3D Printing
With that, let’s get down to the question of how a filament’s density affects the 3D printing process to find out whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that PETG is quite dense.
The density of a filament, combined with the volume of the model you print, decides the weight of your 3D printed object, allowing you to calculate how heavy the object will be before you even print it.
For instance, if you’re printing a model with a volume of 5 cm^3 by using a spool of PETG filament that has a density of 1.25g/cm^3, you can easily find out that the weight of your model will be 6.25 grams by multiplying the volume and density values.
While this may make it sound like the density of the filament decides how strong it is, this is actually far from the truth.
Just as a material can be very dense and weak, it can also be very light and strong, as strength depends on the chemical composition of the material rather than the density.
A great example of this would be polycarbonate, widely regarded as the strongest filament type.
Despite having an average density of 1.2g/cm^3, which is slightly lower than the density of PETG, polycarbonate is much stronger than PETG due to its chemical composition.
With everything in consideration, we can say that density only affects the object’s weight (or the volume if you have a fixed weight) and not much else.
Bottom line, it only makes sense to go for dense filament types such as PETG if you are looking for pure mass, whereas a filament type such as polycarbonate would work better if you need resistance.
Which One Is Stronger Between PETG and PLA?
PETG and PLA are two of the densest filament types with density values almost equal to one another, but what about strength?
Between PETG and PLA, PETG comes out on top as the stronger filament type, allowing it to handle greater loads than PLA.
The advantage of PETG mostly comes from the fact that it’s much more flexible than PLA, which allows it to bend under heavy loads instead of completely shattering into pieces as PLA does.
While neither is the best option if you’re looking for strength (polycarbonate would be a much better option), we highly recommend steering clear of using PLA for any project where the object will sustain a load, whereas PETG remains an acceptable choice for sustaining loads that aren’t too great.
Is PETG Heavier than ABS?
Since how heavy a model would become depends on the density of the filament, let’s quickly compare the densities of PETG and ABS.
- PETG – 1.23 to 1.27 g/cm^3
- ABS – 1.0 to 1.05 g/cm^3
From these values, we can see that a model printed with PETG would be heavier than a model printed with ABS due to the difference in density.
For instance, if we were to print the same object that has a volume of 10 cm^3 with both PETG and ABS, the weight values would be:
- PETG – 1.2 g/cm^3 * 10cm^3 = 12 grams
- ABS – 1.0 g/cm^3 * 10 cm^3 = 10 grams
As you can see, the model printed with PETG would be 2 grams heavier than the model printed with ABS.
Comparing PETG Density to Other Filament Types
While we already know PETG is the densest filament type available, let’s take a quick look at the density of other popular filament types to really see the difference.
- PETG – 1.23 to 1.27 g/cm^3
- PLA – ~1.25 g/cm^3
- ABS – 1.0 to 1.05 g/cm^3
- Nylon – ~1.14 g/cm^3
- Polycarbonate – ~1.2g/cm^3
- Carbon Fiber – 1.2 to 1.3 g/cm^3
With a density of 1.23 to 1.27 g/cm3, PETG shares the number one spot with PLA on the list of densest filaments, meaning that using PETG will allow you to print the heaviest objects possible.
That being said, as heaviness can either be a desirable or an undesirable trait depending on the use case, the choice often comes down to carefully analyzing the scenario and picking the filament with the correct density.
We hope that we have managed to shed some light on the density of PETG and how it affects your prints, and we will see you next time!
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.