Enclosures have been a part of the 3D printing world for a while now, known for their purpose of providing an environment with consistent temperatures during the printing process to ensure that sudden temperature changes don’t damage the model.
While enclosures are not always a necessity, some filament types being more prone to issues such as warping that occur due to sudden shifts in temperature makes the requirement for an enclosure with different filament types is often a frequent point of discussion.
Today, we will be focusing on the relationship between enclosures and PETG filament in particular, which we believe will be helpful to resolve the many questions surrounding this topic in the 3D printing community.
So, do you need an enclosure to print PETG?
While an enclosure will, without a doubt, affect the printing process positively, enclosures are not a necessity to achieve a high print quality with PETG.
In most scenarios, solving cooling-related issues while printing with PETG is entirely possible by properly configuring parameters such as cooling speed, print temperature, and bed temperature.
Next up, we will discuss the requirement of an enclosure for printing PETG in more detail, look at the effects of using enclosures to print PETG, and find out the optimal scenarios to use an enclosure.
Do You Need an Enclosure to Print PETG?
The need for using an enclosure to print PETG is a topic that comes up quite often due to the common cooling-related issues such as warping that enthusiasts face with PETG filament.
While the benefits an enclosure brings to the table are unmistakable, you don’t need one to print PETG successfully and obtain high-quality models.
Even though we can consider PETG to be a type of filament that is prone to warping, unlike PLA, which doesn’t warp much, it’s possible to prevent the warping with carefully adjusted settings and print warp-free models without using an enclosure.
For the most part, an enclosure allows you to be more lenient with the configuration process due to the environmental stability it provides, reducing the chance of experiencing a cooling-related issue even when the configuration isn’t perfect.
Benefits of Using an Enclosure to Print PETG
Understanding the benefits of enclosures on the printing process while printing with PETG is the best way to decide whether you actually need an enclosure or not.
The primary benefit of using an enclosure is its ability to stabilize the printing environment by creating a contained environment where the model is shielded against drafts – and the ambient temperature stays consistent.
As the consistency of the temperature is vital to ensure that issues such as warping and shrinking due to rapid temperature fluctuations do not occur while printing with PETG, the benefit above is what makes most enthusiasts use enclosures.
While more minor compared to the primary goal of temperature stabilization, there are also a few added benefits you will receive from using enclosures:
- Reduced plastic smell – As the enclosure traps the fumes of the plastic, the smell won’t radiate to the room as much, providing a more comfortable 3D printing experience.
- Reduced noise – While the printer operates inside the enclosure, the enclosure reduces the noise that the printer causes during the printing process to an extent. Please note that as the primary task of the enclosure isn’t to reduce the noise, it won’t make your printer completely silent.
- Dust and grease protection – The enclosure protects your printer from dust accumulation and grease build-up on the build plate, reducing the necessity to clean your printer too frequently, which could come in especially handy if you live in a dusty area.
The bottom line is that while the primary purpose of an enclosure is to provide an environment for the printer where the temperature is stable, the added benefits of reduced smell, reduced noise, and dust and grease protection are also something to keep in mind.
When Should You Use an Enclosure to Print PETG?
Even though enclosures aren’t necessary to print PETG, there are cases where they can come in quite handy and improve your prints without the need for too much effort.
We primarily recommend using an enclosure to print PETG if you are experiencing warping despite fine-tuning all the cooling-related settings.
In some cases, it’s possible for the environment not to be suitable for printing PETG (such as being too drafty), where configuration alone won’t be enough to ensure that your printer produces a high-quality print.
As it could be a sizeable investment depending on the model you buy, we highly recommend ensuring that you have configured your slicer settings correctly and finding alternative ways to make the environment more suitable before spending the money on an enclosure.
What Is the Optimal Enclosure Temperature for PETG?
While enclosures are straightforward to use, for the most part, it’s vital to ensure that the temperature of the enclosure is optimal while printing with PETG to avoid issues.
We recommend keeping the enclosure temperature around 30 to 40 degrees Celsius while printing PETG, which provides a balanced environment where the plastic won’t cool down too quickly but won’t stay too hot either.
Since a too high temperature will prevent PETG from hardening, and a too low temperature will cause it to cool down way too quickly, balance is paramount.
If you have built your own enclosure, we highly recommend measuring the temperature inside and adding the necessary components (such as fans and vents) to bring the enclosure temperature to the recommended levels.
While there is no denying that enclosures can improve the printing process and the quality of the final product considerably, they aren’t entirely necessary in each case.
To quickly recap, using an enclosure is not necessary to print with PETG, as correctly configured slicer settings are more than enough in most cases to ensure that you don’t face any cooling-related issues and obtain a high-quality print.
On the other hand, as using an enclosure will benefit the printing process by offering a more consistent environment, you are free to use it with PETG if you don’t mind investing in one.