Which is more durable to sunlight/weather - PLA, ABS or PETG

  • The backstory: I'm installing a pigeon net in my home. Because of the shape of the opening I'm installing the net in and the material on the sides it's difficult to anchor the net using the normal means but I can print clips that will hold the net in place.



    The clips will be outside and will be exposed to the weather and direct sunlight, the weather here is relatively hot (up to 30C) with a lot of sun most of the year and rain in the winter.



    I only have PLA, ABS and PETG available, anything else will take too long to arrive.



    I don't care about the parts changing color and mostly I don't care about them deforming a little bit - only about breaking.



    If the parts have to be replaced after a year I'm ok with it, less then that will be annoying, longer will be better.



    So, under those conditions, which of the 3 materials is more durable?


  • Nir

    Nir Correct answer

    3 years ago

    Ok, I tried all 3 materials.



    PLA failed after less then one day, I believe it deformed from the constant pressure and fell out (I didn't find the part but I didn't really search for it, there's some tall grass below the window)



    ABS lasted about a year, it fell strait down and I found the part, it looks ok if probably deformed by just a few mm so it doesn't pressure fit anymore.



    PETG still going strong as I write this


    PLA is not ice to desappear in one day, I have parts printed two years ago an still is working in good shape. Also "nice" testing if you loose one testing part and don't try to find it, what kind of proof is that?

    @FernandoBaltazar - those parts are pressure-fit on the outside of a ledge on the 3rd floor and hold a tight pigeon net, the most likely failure mode is that the part deforms just enough to not hold the ledge any more and is then shot into the street below by the tension of the net. it makes sense PLA does not work for this specific case because it involves constant pressure and PLA is known for deforming under pressure, the direct sun and heat probably doesn't help - this isn't proof that PLA isn't good for outdoor use but it does show PLA doesn't work for my specific use

    Well, all depends on kind of testing and robustness of the parts involved. I have parts as supports for antenna for repetiers directly to sun exposed with no shadow during the whole day. Of course some parts need to be for stronger material like ABS and some polycarbonates, but as a hobbie we will use the material available on the market.

    Very interesting that PETG outperformed ABS, as ABS has a higher Tg temperature. I'm curious what filament colors you used? That might have made a difference.

    @Blossoming_Flower - Both ABS and PETG are completely solid at any outdoor temperature anywhere on earth, so the Tg temperature is kind of irrelevant here. I used cheap Chinese "natural" PETG (also, natural ABS from the same supplier)

    @Nir then any clue why the ABS deformed and the PETG didn't?

    @Blossoming_Flower - I don't know, all I know it was pressure-fit into place outside and it fell down after about a year, it didn't break and without measuring it looked like it kept it's shape, I assume it deformed because otherwise it didn't have a reason for falling, it could be any combination of UV from the sun, water from rain, temperature changes, wind, or anything else, for all I know a bird might have pulled it our intentionally. I'm not a material scientist, chemist, or anyone who has any business talking about this but if I had to guess I would go with UV as the dominant factor

    (Late to the party) With luck, you will have figured out by now that it really doesn't matter much which filament chemistry you use, as long as you PAINT IT. Paint blocks the UV and prevents moisture intrusion, stabilizing the object. Recommendation: prime with shellac, then paint with "aluminum" colored paint.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM