After working with 3D printing for 6 years, I’ve seen a lot of changes. A LOT of changes.

3D printed sculptures in PLA & PETG - Kevin CaronOne of the big changes is the availability of different types of filament for mere mortals like me (I’m not talking about scientists and high-end 3D printing). Early on, PLA and ABS were pretty much all there was.

ABS tends to be cleaner and is definitely longer lasting – being made of petrochemicals means it will probably outlast a landfill.

PLA is more prevalent, and I like the fact that it’s biodegradable.

Since those early days, though, I’ve enjoyed working with a wide range of filaments, from Silky Rainbow to bronze to rubber to heat- and color-changing and more. Lately, attracted by its durability and UV resistance, I’ve been playing – I mean working! – with PETG filament. PETG filament combines the functionality of ABS (stronger, temperature resistant, more durable) and the reliability of PLA (easy to print). It also has improved layer adhesion and reduced potential for warping or shrinking prints.

Cue the PETG! I ordered 2 5-pound spools of 3mm PETG filament for my 8-foot-tall Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer, but not entirely for fun or even for a sculpture (yet).

I printed the same sculpture design, albeit in 2 slightly different sizes, and printed one in PLA (red) and the other in PETG (green).

After I remove the stringing (yes, I’ll do a video), I’m going to add some paint, some with clear and some without, and ship both sculptures to my patron in New York, who has agreed to set them out in the elements. I want to see how each of these filaments does in cold, rain, snow and even sun, if they manage to get some before summer.

I can’t wait to see how they fare, and I’ll let you know, too!