What’s the temperature resistance of annealed PLA, PETG and ABS?

What’s the temperature resistance of annealed PLA, PETG and ABS?

If you have ever wondered what the usable
temperature range of the 3 most commonly used 3D printing material is then stick around. I’ll show you how I CNC’d a simple jig
and tested PLA, PETG and ABS for their temperature resistance. I’ll also show you how you can use PLA parts
up to 160°C by annealing them. Guten Tag everybody my name is Stefan and
welcome to CNC Kitchen! In one of my previous videos I’ve already
showed you how I annealed my PLA garden clips to make them better suitable for outdoor use. In this video series I’ll want to explore
the temperature behavior of different 3D printing filaments with you. In this video I’ll test at which temperature
the different materials start to severely soften and then fail. I’ve chosen PLA, PETG and ABS for this test
as well as a high temperature PLA and a special heat resistant filament from 3dk.berlin which
was kindly provided by a viewer. It is commonly known that the temperature
resistance of PLA can be improved by annealing it. This means that you put it into an oven at
a temperature higher than its glass transition temperature usually at around 100°C, leave
it in there for an hour and then slowly cool it down. I also often get asked if this also works
for PETG or ABS. My research said that it actually shouldn’t
be possible due to their complex moleculare structure but I tried it out anyway. So for the tests I printed out two popsicle
stick shaped specimens for each material. They were 100mm long, 10mm wide and 3mm thick. One of these will be tested in its “as printed”
condition and one will be annealed. I measured the dimensions of all specimens
to see how much they change in dimension during the annealing process because this is a common
problem. Since I only had temperature recommendations
for the high temperature material I put all specimens in my circulating air oven at 110°C.
I prefer this method over a waterbath because the parts do not get in contact with water,
what could potentially degenerate the material and they don’t get deformed by the water
pressure. Since my parts were kind of small, holding
the temperature for 30 minutes should be more than sufficient. I switched the oven off and let them cool
down for some hours. So the tests I’m going to perform are in
a way similar to the test procedure of the so called “heat deflection temperature”
which is outlined in the ISO 75 or the ASTM D648. Since I use smaller weights my values are
probably a little bit higher but should still be fairly good. I wanted to have a nice jig for the following
tests, that enabled me to consistently test the parts in my oven. My idea was to place all the specimens over
an 80mm gap and slightly load them with a small metal nut. I used Fusion 360 to design a very simple
fixture in which I can consistently place 10 specimens at a time and mill the slot in
the middle to have a nice and constant 80mm gap in the middle. I know this is probably overkill, but I didn’t
use my CNC for a while and wanted to play around with Fusions CAM module to create the
toolpaths. And this was a nice opportunity for that. So I went into the CAM module and created
3 different operations. At first the slots for the specimens will
be machined with a 2D adaptive toolpath. In the second operation the slot will be roughly
milled, still leaving 0.5mm of material radially which will then be removed in the last smoothing
operation. So I bolted two pieces of one by two on a
piece a particle board that the amount of material I needed to machine was minimal. I fixed it to my CNC router with 3D printed
clamping claws and made sure that everything was kind of aligned. I used a 6mm two flute endmill from Bangood
which works so well for the price it costs! I set my zero position by touching the blank
with the endmill. Remember to properly set the increment while
doing that or you will crash once…öhh…twice as I did it. This would have probably been fatal for the
endmill if I would have machined metal. Since we have our zero position, let’s make
some chips! Okay, and there is our finished jig for the
test. Let’s take a look at our annealed specimens
at first because some of them changed their shape quite a bit. All of the specimens shrunk in length from
a negligible 0.2% for the high temperature PLA to almost 8% for the black PLA. They also shrunk in width and grew a little
in their thickness. This is exactly the problem why you cannot
just anneal all of your prints! They will change in shape and warp which screws
up all of your dimensions. There are some specially tailored materials
around where this effect is minimized but there will always be a smaller or larger change
in shape. There are two reasons for this: stress relief
and crystallization. Every part you print will have internal stresses
due to the temperature differences during the print. Everybody who has already printed a larger
part which warped will know that. These stresses are relieved during annealing
and lead to some warping. The second part, which is especially important
for PLA, is crystallization. When you heat your PLA over the melting temperature
the polymer structure will be mostly amorphous which means that the polymer chains are coiled
up, a little, entangled and will mostly stay in this form because the melt is rapidly cooled
when it comes out of the nozzle and is hit by the stream of cool air of the cooling fan. PLA has the property that it can form a semi
crystalline structure which means that the coils are forming partly regular structures. This needs three important factors: temperature,
time and nucleation starters. The temperature needs to be above the glass
transition temperature but below the melting point. The lower the temperature the more time the
crystallization needs. The nucleation starters are usually naturally
in the material and are things like impurities or pigments. But what causes the shrinkage? Imagine that your freshly 3D printed material
looks like your T-shirts which you are too lazy to fold. The T-Shirts, which represent the polymer
chains are wadded and don’t use the space very efficiently. If we now fold the shirts they can get regularly
ordered and take up way less space. This crystalline or ordered structure has
a higher density, your part shrinks which causes warping, but also changes the mechanical
properties. I’ll go into exactly these changes in a
future video. All right. Let’s proceed with the real tests. So I placed the first set of specimens in
the jig and heated up my circulating air oven. I also placed a BBQ thermometer next to the
specimens to get a live reading of the temperature and see how it differs to the set value. The first test features the high temp PLA,
PETG, another high temp filament, standard PLA and ABS. I always placed the “as printed” specimen
next to the annealed one, denoted with a T. So the first thing I noticed was that even
though my oven can hold a set temperature quite well the control algorithm leads to
quite significant overshoots during heat up, which I had to counteract with opening the
door from time to time to reduce the problem. I increased the temperature in 10°C steps
and always held it for 5 minutes. So the high temp PLA started softening at
first at 55°C. At 60°C the standard PLA followed. The tempered specimens on the other hand were
totally fine. At 80°C both PETG specimens started to soften
significantly as well as the unannealed high temperature filament from 3dk.berlin. At around 110°C both ABS specimens failed
as expected. Now it gets interesting. I further increased the temperature but nothing
happened until 160°C at which point the standard PLA started to soften. The high temperature PLA performed well until
180°C. I stopped the test at 190°C because the materials started to degenerate and fail. At this point the high temperature filament
still did not fatally soften. I touched it with a screw driver which showed
that it was softer, which is totally normal but it always snapped back to its initial
shape. Impressive! I redid the test for three more PLA filaments
from different manufacturers and with different colors. The results were very similar to the first
tests. The unannealed specimens softened at around
60°C whereas the annealed once did well up until 170°C.
So let’s summarize the results. As we probably all know, unannealed PLA is
not suitable for high temperatures and failed around 60°C. PETG got up to 80°C and ABS
up to 110°C. Annealing PETG and ABS does not change the temperature resistance of the
material. The special high temperature filaments also
don’t do well if they are unannealed though if you heat treat them and are able to cope
with the shrinkage they outperformed everything! The PLAs did not fail before 170°C and I
wasn’t able to get the 3dk high temp material to fail at all. Still you have to bear in mind that all the
materials will slowly get soft if you heat them up, but the annealed ones slower as the
“as printed” parts. So don’t expect the same properties of your
part at raised temperatures than at ambient temperature. Keep in mind that your parts will most likely
deform during the heat treatment process. You can minimize that by using specially tailored
filaments. I hope to get my hands on one of these soon,
to share the results with you. So I’ve been burning through quite a lot
of filament over the last months doing these tests and would really like to perform other
unbiased reviews of other interesting materials like for example the carbon fiber filled ones
and not depend on material provided by manufacturers . If you appreciate my work and want to support
me I would be very happy if you help me cover my running costs via PayPal donation or if
you use my Amazon Affiliate links down in the description. In one of the next videos I’ll take a look
at the change of the mechanical properties of annealed PLA and see what role the annealing
temperature has on the result. Give the video a thumbs up if you liked it
and learned something. Please consider subscribing if you want to
see more. Thanks for watching, auf wiedersehen and I’ll
see you next time!

100 thoughts on “What’s the temperature resistance of annealed PLA, PETG and ABS?

  1. What's you experience with using prints at higher temperatures and annealing PLA? If you have any suggestions please let me know down below!

  2. Stefan, you don't have to adjust your name for the English-speaking audience. Dealing with foreign or unusual names that don't look like they sound is just basic respect that we all have to extend towards others.

  3. If i ever get the owner of the company i work at to get the Markforged printer I'll send you a print that you used for Filament Oilers, see if we can break your tensile machine 🙂

  4. dankeschön ! Really very interesting ! Sadly my gas oven is unsuitable for this purpose, so thinking of other ideas – toaster oven + PLC maybe 🙂

  5. this is some good info, i am planning to print some things for inside my car, and was worried about what material to use that wouldn't melt when parked in the sun.

  6. Hey there,
    cool Video :]
    Loved the T-Shirt comparison 😀

    Keep creating cool content 🙂

    All the best,

    P.S. Actually, you could have gone up to 200-230°C with our 3dkTOP 😉

  7. Cool videos. Can I ask what its this blue thing you can see at 6:37 ? It seem like a protection for the nozzle… interesting.

  8. I haven't needed my prints to be above room temp 99.99% of the time, but its good to know for the 0.01% what works best.

  9. to make better annealing i think reducing contact surface may reduce the deformation, or maybe oling the surfce to prevent static friction.

  10. Just annealed some test strips of eSun PLA Pro and MatterHackers standard PLA yesterday. Putting them in my car today in hot California heat to see if they hold up — we will see !!!! As a side note you may want to leave your supports on parts for extra support when annealing My oven is set to 200Deg F using an oven thermometer, set for 30 minutes heat time and let room cool !

  11. Great movie btw. I would like to know if you know how to reduce the shrinkage of the filament during the printing. Secondly, i would like to know if you know any high-end filament in terms of mechanical properties which is suited for some aircraft models which I intend to print and fly with it. the model would have a wingspan of 2 meters. Please contact me if you have any information on my email:[email protected]

  12. What is the average shrinkage rate of PLA when annealing…this way either the print can be scaled up to allow for the shrinkage or designed oversized, then annealed?

  13. What about extreme cold? Like how brittle does this stuff get when frozen? How about freezing a 3D printed cup full of water

  14. Thank you for your thorough methodologies, controlled testing, graphs, and summary: many/most videos of this type are either incomplete, inaccurate, uncontrolled, or difficult to extract actionable data from. KUDOS!

  15. Interesting video on heat treatment. Shame on the high shrinkage. BTW… When programming/machining, write your G-Code for "climb" milling not "conventional". Less power usage, better surface finish. 😉

  16. Great video! For the high temp PLA filament, where did you source it? Looking at a near 240 F max temperature application to hold its dimensional properties. Thanks!

  17. I am very interested to see your test on annealing temperature on the results. More specifically if the deformation % changes with different temperatures. If you havent checked it out see the article by the Society of Plastics Engineers – Annealing conditions for injection-molded poly(lactic acid). I was thinking of making a temperature controlled water bath to anneal my parts.

  18. Umm I've annealed PLA in a souse vide bath, and had no issues. I put them in a bag, they never come in contact with water.

  19. You mentioned that for annealing PLA you needed to bring the PLA up to, or just above, it's glass transition temperature. I may be wrong, but is this not true as well for PETG and ABS? More specifically as their glass transition temperatures are higher than that necessary for PLA, shouldn't they be annealed separately (if annealing is going to work under those conditions at all?)

    A quick google search suggests that glass transition temperatures of 60-65 for pla, 88 for PETG and 105 for ABS, you've 'annealed' the PLA at 45-50 degrees above it's glass transition temp, about 22 degrees above the glass transition temp for PETG, and only about 5 degrees over the glass transition temp for ABS.

    I would expect that there would be differences in performance if they all did have the same offset requirements for annealing, and trying to anneal them all at the same temp would not give optimal results for each material.

  20. Tomorrow morning was the time I set aside to find out for myself if the high temp claims of Annealable PLA were true. You answered my question with evidence rather than repeating generalizations that everyone else just repeats.
    You also provide shrinkage rates and their direction so I have a starting point for my design work. Can I assume the shrinkage direction is along the direction in which the extruder was traveling as it laid down the layer? I think otherwise shrinkage would be even in all directions. Now I can spend the morning designing rather than cooking PLA.

    So look for another 15 US Dollars in your PayPal account. Same deal as last week on saving me from wasting time on designing threads in Fusion 360.

  21. Check your Amazon US link. It still takes me to German Amazon. Let me know because I'll help you when I buy from Amazon in the US.

  22. Thank you for video.one question though,how can you get htpla(in United Kingdom)?what's the name of manufacturer?or any information(to buy it on amazon)
    Thank you!

  23. You made your own CNC machine? Why did NASA ever let you go? (LOL)
    I think I need to move in next door to you. Any blueprints for your CNC? I would love to make one. I have more than enough components and spare electric drills that would be perfect for that role.
    Oh, and very informative video mate. I love how there is always someone with the answers to our questions (no matter how absurd they sound at first). I do not envision a time when I would need heat-proof printing, but it is certainly something for the knowledge bank. Sure as anything, one day this will be very important to me. I am taking notes. Thanks for going to all the effort. No doubt you have saved a lot of people a lot of time and a lot of tears. Well done.

  24. Hey I’m trying to find food safe material that can be heated to like between 120-150 degrees c without the Tg being an issue I’m trying to heat water in a cup

  25. Hey Stefan! Thanks for your interesting video! Do you think you can anneal 3D printed PP with a Tg of -29 degrees?

  26. Very interesting! I'm very surprised at the drastic difference between annealed and non annealed plastic for most of the test subjects

  27. Are those speciments printed at 100% infill?
    Trying to get an approximation for the tensile strength of the material at higher temperature.

  28. Does annealing affect strength? This was a great video but only discussed temperature resistance. I would like to know if the different materials have better layer adhesion, more or less elastic/plastic deformation and ultimately the effect on their breaking point. Also does annealing change the appearance of fine details or smooth outer surfaces.

  29. Stefan, thanks for your videos about testing 3D printed parts and filaments. All your testing machines are awesome!
    What about testing this filament: http://www.3ders.org//articles/20160309-extrudr-unveils-new-green-tec-3d-printer-filament-made-from-renewable-and-natural-materials.html
    It has very good temperature properties… I think I will buy some, in the next months. If you are interested, I can send some to you.

  30. I think there is a way to "anneal-print" I did some experiments with some PLA parts on annealing as I wanted to find out what dimensional changes will occur to adjust for that. Now I annealed some "fails" for that all fails of the non print variety (sometimes a part just does not look like or work like you expected so even though a perfect print – its a fail) I found some parts that did not change dimensions at all in any direction and also on a subsequent test when "poked" at 80 C with a screw driver did not dent whereas the other parts in the "poke test" deformed readily. Now the shrinking parts had all in common that they were printed on a makerbot replicator without a heated bed. The non shrinking where large parts (267mm x 54mm x 38mm ) imagine a block with lots of 14mm hex holes cut out of them) Now those were printed on my matterhackers PULSE (Prusa type printer) I tried to succeed to print it on my garolite build plate without tape when I upped the build plate temp to 80 C. Printer also has a crude enclosure. Now the trick when printing PLA with that high a bed temp is to not touch it until the bed is way back at room temp. So I guess they anneal printed as print time was about 10 hours plus about 30 min of cool down. Print came out nicely except aforementioned design fault) So my next test when I have free time will be to make a "mold" out of PLA by "anneal-Printing" it and then clamp a regular part printed on the makerbot in it and throw both of them in the convection oven – Maybe I make a video of it. Initial test of taking to annealed PLA plastic pieces and clamping an unannealed between it with a "C" clamp and cook it at 200 F – slightly over 90C showed the unannealed slightly deforming to the shape of the annealed pieces but more importantly at the end all 3 pieces came apart so even 90 C is not enough to "weld" a piece of non annealed PLA to a piece of annealed PLA. So maybe there is an all PLA way to maintain dimensional accuracy while annealing. Probably does not pay for 1 piece, but we will make 50 – 100 of those and another test probably would be how high a piece you can anneal-print on a pulse as the temperature definitely decreases the further away from the bed you get.

  31. Hi Stephan!
    I just received a spool of Greentec filament, from Extrudr company. This filament is supposed to be used up to 115°C, but I found it starts to loose its rigidity above 50°C. But even at 90°C, it can be used, under small loads.
    I suggested them to send you a spool, so you could make a temperature test on it. If they don't, feel free to contact me, I will send you some.
    It would be nice to measure the Bending module vs temperature, using your test jig.
    And thanks for all your great videos, they are very valuable!

  32. Loved your video. Learned alot. I'm needing to 3d print pieces of house guttering for curved section on our house. Does petg, or heat resistant pla put off bad fumes in printing like abs?

  33. aight ty, this video has been really helpful
    im currently making a clip for some Led chips and their heatsinks so this really comes in handy

  34. Exactly what I was looking for – incredibly useful video. I just subscribed thanks to this awesome and precise comparison video. Thank you SO much for doing it! Nice work!

  35. The graph at 9:42 is all we need.
    eSun ABS is the best for high temp if you don't want to deal with putting the print in an oven.

  36. I searched for Multec PLA HT but could not find a seller online. Any pointers? Has it been discontinued?

  37. I am pretty sure I can't really do this on functional parts. If, say, I print a Garmin mount for a bike, and anneal it, won't it distort to the point where the dimensions are no longer going to match the model that it was printed from? So in other words, this annealing is only useful for making things where the shape doesn't matter much.

  38. I went through some comments, but didn't see anything on it……have you done anything with TPU to show their heat characteristics?

  39. Great experience but perhaps location on the jig may be a factor due to the nature that air will flow around the outsides of the jig. I am going to do a variation of this for strength testing. Love your channel!

  40. It's worth mentioning that heat deflection temperature is also proportional to the induced stress in the material, which is why the test in ASTM D 648 has two loading conditions.
    This is important because a single point really doesn't tell you much about its useful temperature range.

  41. Hi 3D printing experts. Can you please recommend materials with high heat resistance to use for lighting fixtures.

  42. (the creator of this video):and that’s how i made this wooden board to i could test the plastics for temperature

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