PLA (Polylactic Acid) 3D Printing Filament
PLA is one of the most popular 3D printing materials around. Used for building prototypes and models of solid objects and various components. PLA is something scientist call a thermoplastic polyester, which is biodegradable and bioactive. It’s these properties that make it so interesting. The material derives from various renewable (green) resources. What these differ, depending on which country produces the PLA. In the US and Canada, they make PLA from corn starch, in Asia it’s typically starch and tapioca roots. Other places around the world will use sugarcane.
Extruder Temp 180-220 °C
Bed Temp 0-55 °C
A quality PLA 3D printing filament is popular for the following reasons:
- It’s affordable
- Easy to print with because of lower printing settings
- Less likely to warp compared to other materials
- Decomposes, which makes it an eco-friendly product
- It’s non-toxic
- Doesn’t emit any unpleasant fumes during the printing process
When to Use PLA Filaments
Beginners particularly like working with PLA filaments. They like it because a quality PLA is easy to use and less susceptible to common problems like warping. It smells quite pleasant too. Not all 3D printers come equipped with a heated build platform. In this case, PLA is perfect because it doesn’t need a heated bed. Compared to ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene Styrene) filament, PLA is a more brittle material and sets with a harder surface. This means it’s more inclined to break when bent, which might be an issue if you want a more flexible end product.
What to Print Using PLA
The items you want to print and your expectations should determine what type of 3D printing filament to use. As a general rule, PLA is ideal for printing things like gadgets, toys, household items, and anything else that doesn’t need too much flexibility. Remember that it’s biocompatible too. That makes it safe to use for things that come into direct contact with the skin. PLA filament is ‘food safe’ as well. This means you can use it to produce items that come into direct contact with food and beverage. These might include storage jars, cups, and plates, etc.