One of the most common plastics we come in contact with everyday is PET. It is what they use to make plastic water and soda bottles from. PET is strong, food safe, and can be made optically clear. You can also print with it on your 3D printer to get some of those same characteristics. While there are many vendors selling PET for 3D printing now, one of the first (and still one of the best) is Taulman3D with their T-Glase filament.
I love printing in PET. Straight out of the extruder it gives you super strong, durable prints that have an almost crystalline look to them. The thicker the layer heights, the greater the optical transmission through the material. Coating them with a thin layer of epoxy can decrease the opacity of the prints to an almost glass-like state. If you print thinner layers, you can increase the inter-layer bonding and make even stronger parts. I did have some issues with overhangs while printing thick layer lines so it might not be the best for every model.
Beware printing in any PET material if you have a coated bed though. PET sticks to other plastics too well, and can damage your PEI bed on machines like Lulzbots and the Prusa i3 Mk2. To protect those beds, simply apply a thin layer of PVA glue (like Elmer’s glue stick) to your build surface and you will be good to go.
While Taulman3D’s base resin is FDA approved food safe, it is always a good idea to be careful when printing something you want to come in contact with food products. There is debate within the 3D printing community about whether or not the possible contaminants from the 3D printing process affects food safety.
If PET interests you, stay tuned. We have more PET options on the way for Filament Fridays and a lot more offerings from Taulman3D too.
Check back every Friday for weekly reviews on 3D printing filament.