- ✓ Low cost
- ✓ Strong material
- ✓ Easy for post production
Green renewable sources such as starch, corn or sugar cane create Polylactic Acid, PLA material or PLA filament. This means that it is better for the environment than other materials as it can be recycled. The perfect material to use in the process of prototyping and modelling with 3D printing. Above all when using the FFF technology, PLA filament is a popular choice in 3D printing.
In industries and companiues where 3D printing is still a relatively new addition, PLA material is the best option. Because it is known in the industry as the easiest filament material to print. It is ideal for those who are looking to carry out fast prototyping, which is why it’s the perfect choice for quick work.
|Melting temperature||160 °C (320 °F)|
|Nozzle temperature||190 - 210 °C|
|Heated bed||60 - 80 °C|
Made from renewable resources, PLA material is completely different to plastics that are petroleum based. Which are made from oil or natural gases that are in short supply throughout the world. Therefore it is a material that is extremely reliable in terms of availability.
PLA material is compostable which makes it completely different to other types of 3D printing materials. The break down of traditional plastics takes hundreds of years. And above all may, never breakdown. Especially when they end up in landfill where there is no air or sunlight to start the deteriorate process. However, PLA material can breakdown into natural elements in commercial compost facilities.
It is a known fact that, when melting, plastics can pose a risk to health as they release harmful and toxic chemicals. In contrast to this, as PLA material is biologically based, it doesn’t produce harmful toxic fumes when it gets incinerated. instead of ending up in a composting facility.
Objects printed with PLA material can deform due to high ambient temperatures (>50 degrees Celsius).
First of all it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of PLA filament. Furthermore you also have to know how to get the most from this material. It’s important to take possible issues into account when deciding to start 3D printing with PLA. So you know what you can expect. To help you with 3D printing PLA filament, we’re giving our 5 tips for using PLA filament:
When printing with PLA material it is important that the temperature is right. Therefore, begin with a starting temperature of 195 °C will ensure that you give yourself the best chance of success. The temperature can then be reduced or increased by 5-degree increments to obtain the right quality of print and strength so that they complement each other. Some high quality PLA plastics can be printed at a lower temperature because it contains a higher level of pure resin with fewer contaminants. To improve the adhesion to the build plate, it is important that it is heated to 60 degrees.
If the temperature is too high then strings will appear between the separate parts. The extruder will leak PLA material when it moves between the different areas during printing. Should this occur, then you will be required to decrease the temperature. Do this in increments of 5 degrees per step, until the extruder stops leaking so much material.
Should the printing temperature be too cold, you will find that the filament will fail to adhere to the previous layer. Which will then create a surface that looks and feels rough. It can also mean that the part will be weaker and can then be pulled apart easily. If this should happen, the printhead temperature should be increased by five-degree increments until the printing looks good and the line segments for each layer are right. As a result the part will be stronger once the job has finished.
It can occur that a filament has a lower level of viscosity when compared to other types of PLA material. For that reason leaking will be higher at lower temperatures. If this is the case then the retraction should be increased by a few millimeters. You can change the retraction distance in the 3D printing software, for example in Simplify3D.
PLA material needs to be storaged in a cool and dark place, preferably in a sealed bag. By doing this, you will preserve the quality of the PLA plastics. Consequently it will ensure that the result of the printing process is as expected.
As PLA is a very adaptable material that comes with many benefits, it is common to find its use in a number of industries. Consequently the applications for which it can be used are developing and growing. Printing with PLA material brings a multitude of benefits. Therefor the it’s getting more popular in more and more industries. And it creates new possibilities for manufacturers. The way in which the filament is better for the environment certainly works in its favor and this means that it will continue to play a major role in FFF printing. As it is easier on the environment, it will mean that businesses are seen to be doing their bit for the environment. As a result manufacturers produce more products that are durable, strong and reliable.
As PLA material is seen as a safe alternative to traditional plastics, it is now being used in food packaging. However, it is used because of its ability to package food as it can be disposed extremely easily and will not harm the environment.
The automobile industry is constantly looking at ways to build vehicles that are environmentally friendly and so, PLA material is the perfect option when it comes to prototyping car parts. End-products can be found in plastic trim and plastic on dashboards.
Many household appliances can be found which contain PLA material. This is because it’s a plastic that offers environmental benefits as well as benefits for the application for which it is used.