PCTG Filament: Everything You Need to Know

3DJAKE PCTG Filament

PCTG Filament in 3D printing, offering superior impact strength, chemical resistance, and a guide to leveraging its benefits for demanding projects.


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Introduction

Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol-modified Copolyester, abbreviated as PCTG Filament, is an advanced 3D printing material that blends the ease of use found in its cousin, PETG, with enhanced properties such as increased impact strength, higher temperature resistance, and improved chemical resistance. This filament is designed for users who require the practicality of PETG but need their prints to withstand more demanding applications. PCTG is characterized by its clarity, toughness, and resistance to chemicals, making it a prime choice for creating durable, functional parts and products that are exposed to harsh environments.

One of the most notable advantages of PCTG is its resistance to stress cracking under exposure to a wide range of chemicals, extending its utility in industrial, automotive, and even food contact applications. Additionally, its ability to maintain strength and clarity after sterilization processes makes it particularly appealing for medical applications. For enthusiasts and professionals looking for an upgrade from PETG without the processing challenges associated with materials like Polycarbonate (PC), PCTG offers a compelling balance of performance and usability.

About PCTG Filament

PCTG filament stands out for its excellent durability and flexibility, which surpass that of PETG, providing a higher impact strength that is crucial for parts exposed to mechanical stress or potential impacts. Furthermore, PCTG’s higher heat resistance allows it to function in environments where temperatures might degrade lesser materials. Its chemical resistance makes it suitable for applications involving exposure to greases, oils, and aromatic hydrocarbons, broadening its use cases substantially.

Despite these strengths, PCTG maintains a relatively low absorption rate for moisture, contributing to its ease of storage and longevity as a filament. Printing with PCTG generally follows guidelines similar to those for PETG, requiring moderate temperatures and a heated bed, but without the need for a specialized printing environment or equipment.

Possible Applications of PCTG Filament

Industrial Tooling and Machinery

PCTG’s resistance to impact and various chemicals makes it suitable for creating parts such as machine guards, fixtures, and functional prototypes used in manufacturing environments.

Medical Devices and Equipment

Its chemical resistance and ability to be sterilized enable the safe use of PCTG for medical devices, surgical tools, and containers that require repeated cleaning and sterilization.

Automotive Components

Components within the automotive sector that demand chemical and heat resistance, like under-the-hood parts or fuel system components, can benefit significantly from PCTG’s properties.

Food Storage and Packaging

PCTG is also a safe choice for food contact applications, as certain grades are FDA compliant, making it ideal for reusable food containers, water bottles, and other food-related items requiring durability and clarity.

Pros and Cons of PCTG Filament

Pros:

  • Enhanced Impact Strength: PCTG offers superior durability, making it ideal for mechanical parts or items prone to dropping or collision.
  • Chemical Resistance: It withstands exposure to many chemicals, extending its utility across various industrial applications.
  • Temperature Resistance: With a higher heat resistance than PETG, PCTG components can operate effectively in more demanding thermal conditions.
  • Ease of Printing: Despite its advanced properties, PCTG can be printed on most standard 3D printers without extensive modifications.

Cons:

  • Cost: PCTG generally comes at a higher price point compared to more basic filaments like PLA or even PETG, reflecting its enhanced performance characteristics.
  • Stringing: Like PETG, PCTG can exhibit stringing or oozing if not printed with optimal retraction settings, necessitating fine-tuning.
  • Limited Range of Colors and Finishes: The availability of different colors and finishes may be more restricted compared to more commonly used filaments.
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Material Settings of PCTG Filament

SettingValue
Print Temperature [°C]250 – 270
Build Plate Temperature [°C]85 – 110
Print Speed [mm/s]40 – 60
Cooling Fan [%]0 – 30
Enclosed Build ChamberNot Required
Air ManagementRecommended
Min Active Heated Build Chamber Temperature [°C]Not Required
DryingRecommended
AnnealingRecommended

For best results with PCTG, adhering to the recommended print settings helps mitigate issues such as warping or stringing. Pre-drying the filament can also enhance print quality by removing any absorbed moisture.

Mechanical Properties of PCTG Filament

PropertyValue
Shore HardnessD70 – D80
Specific Gravity [g/cc]1.21 – 1.23
Tensile Strength at Break [Mpa]45 – 50
Elongation at Break [%]24 – 220
Flexural Strength [Mpa]55 – 65
Flexural Modulus [Mpa]1600 – 1650
Impact Strength Charpy 23˚C [kJ/m²]40 – No Break
HDT B [°C]70 – 76
Tg [°C]88

PCTG’s mechanical properties highlight its capacity for producing parts that need to endure mechanical stress, higher temperatures, and exposure to chemicals without compromise.

Material Comparison

MaterialPETGPCTGPC
Print Temperature [°C]220 – 260250 – 280260 – 310
DurabilityHighHigherHighest
Ease of PrintingModerateModerateDifficult
UV ResistanceHighHighModerate
Heat ResistanceModerateModerateHigh

PCTG bridges the gap between PETG and PC, offering improved toughness and chemical resistance over PETG while being easier to print than PC, making it a versatile option for users looking to elevate the durability and performance of their 3D printed parts beyond what PETG can offer.

FAQ´s about PCTG Filament

How does PCTG differ from PETG?

PCTG offers enhanced impact resistance, chemical resistance, and higher temperature tolerances compared to PETG, making it suitable for more demanding applications.

Is PCTG safe for medical tools or food containers?

Certain grades of PCTG are suitable for these applications due to their chemical resistance and ability to be sterilized, though users should always ensure the specific filament complies with necessary regulations.

Can PCTG be recycled?

Like PETG and other thermoplastics, PCTG can be recycled, though the recycling process should be handled through proper channels to ensure it is done safely and effectively.

How to minimize stringing when printing with PCTG?

Optimizing retraction settings and experimenting with print temperatures can significantly reduce stringing, enhancing print quality.

What applications are best suited for PCTG?

PCTG is ideal for applications requiring a balance of mechanical properties, chemical resistance, and temperature stability, such as industrial components, medical devices, automotive parts, and food-safe containers.

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