PETG vs Nylon
Both PETG and Nylon are considered high-performance 3D printing filaments. Each one also comes with unique challenges. They are some of the best go-to materials if you need a 3D printed part to be durable and wear-resistant.
Choosing between PETG and Nylon depends on your specific application. Do you need the part to be flexible or chemically resistant? Do you have budget limitations?
In this article, we’re breaking down all the factors of difference between Nylon and PETG.
Both of them are polymers that are highly valued for their mechanical properties. These plastics are ubiquitous in commercial products and valuable in several industrial, scientific, and medical scenarios.
PETG is a glycol-enhanced version of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). As an FDA-compliant material for food storage, People always use PETG material for single-use and reusable water bottles and food containers. It is also perfect for medical tools and accessories, as PETG can withstand sterilization temperatures via autoclaving.
Nylon is the mainstream term for Polyamides (PA) and is currently one of the world’s most commercially valuable polymers. Nylon fibers are used practically everywhere – from clothes to tires, parachutes, and toothbrushes. With excellent heat stability, molded Nylon can use for internal car components or oven-safe food containers.
Making a wise choice between Nylon and PETG requires that we break both materials down into their benefits and drawbacks. They are both excellent materials, after all. However, there are certain areas where PETG is better than Nylon and vice-versa.
Here are some of the primary material properties comparison between PETG and Nylon.
It is best to assess the strength of a material in terms of tensile strength. It defines the maximum load that a material can support before breaking apart or deforming irreversibly. Based on this metric alone, PETG holds a slight advantage at 50 MPa versus Nylon, ranging from 40 to 45 MPa.
Take note that there are high-strength versions of both Nylon and PETG, modified for increased tensile strength. Thus, it is still possible for a high-strength Nylon filament to be stronger than standard PETG.
About the materials used in FDM 3d printing, most of them are standard types.
Generally speaking, Nylon is one of the most durable 3D printing materials. With its semi-crystalline structure, Nylon can withstand harsh conditions and repeated stress without breaking apart.
While PETG is also known as a durable material, it still does not compare to the toughness of Nylon. It can also withstand outdoor conditions but is not as resilient against mechanical stress.
The flexural modulus of PETG is about 300,000 psi. However, Nylon still beats it handily at 450,000 psi. It is hardly surprising considering how the malleability of Nylon has made it possible to create fabrics entirely out of Nylon fibers. This flexibility also gives Nylon superior impact strength.
While all 3D printing filaments are naturally hygroscopic, Nylon has gained a reputation for being one of the most sensitive to hygroscopicity. Nylon absorbs moisture extremely fast. When left in the open for 48 hours, Nylon can absorb enough water to lead to a ruined print.
PETG is also hygroscopic but is nowhere near as sensitive to moisture as Nylon. In any case, it is always good practice to store your filaments in airtight bags with some desiccant. Are drying your filament in an oven or a dedicated filament dryer before printing is also a good idea.
Despite the lack of odor, Nylon can release caprolactam when heated. Claims of caprolactam being carcinogenic have been disproven, but exposure to it can still cause headaches and irritation.
6. Ease of Use
You’ll likely have to bring out all your bed adhesion tools when working with Nylon – a heated bed, adhesives, and a print bed enclosure. You may even have to resort to printing with a brim or raft.
Nylon is generally resistant to alcohol and solvents. PETG is also resistant to alcohol but also resists reactions with acids, bases, and water. Neither holds the advantage in this category. Instead, it is only a matter of using the proper material for any application.
As mentioned, Nylon tends to produce caprolactam fumes that can be irritating after acute exposure. Although claims of caprolactam being carcinogenic have been disproven, venting the fumes is good practice regardless.
3D Printing Comparison
1. Printing Temperature
Nylon prints at slightly higher temperatures, It’s about2 40 to 260 °C. This temperature can be problematic for extruders with PTFE liners, as PTFE starts to break down at 250 °C. You will almost certainly need to get an all-metal hot end to print with Nylon.
A heated bed set at 60 to 80 °C is necessary when printing with Nylon. The heated bed is non-negotiable because of how heavily Nylon warps.
2. Bed Adhesion
Nylon is an entirely different matter. Even with a heated bed, Nylon also requires an adhesive to prevent warping. The cheapest option is to use any PVA-based glue. Some users have reported great success with a Gasoline build surface, a unique fiberglass surface coated with an epoxy resin.
The only downside of using HIPS is that you will need a limonene solvent stock for support removal. On the upside, limonene is quite common and provides an effortless way to remove support structures.
You can also choose not to use unique support material instead of printing the supports with Nylon or PETG. Support removal can be quite tedious with this method and may damage your final print if you’re not careful.
On the other hand, warping is one of the significant drawbacks of printing with Nylon. It makes Nylon a very challenging material to work with. Nylon is not the type of filament that we would recommend to beginners.
Retaining accurate dimensions and fine details is a lot easier with PETG. Not only does PETG not warp, but it has no problems with being cooled down quickly. It makes it easier to print outstanding details.
Heat treatment is another viable post-processing option. It involves using a heat gun to partially melt any imperfections on the surface of the finished print. This method can work with either PETG or Nylon, although it’s also easy to ruin a part with the improper technique.
Standard Nylon filament is already quite expensive – about $30 to $60 for a 1-kilogram spool. As with PETG, there are also unique Nylon blends that promise better performance and enhanced mechanical properties. The most expensive of these can cost up to $80 per spool.
Printing with Nylon is more challenging but will also yield a more heavy-duty product. Nylon is suitable for parts that need durable, heat-resistant, and abrasion-resistant.
With both filaments having merits and demerits, picking the best one depends on the application and experience.