PLA – Polylactic Acid
PLA is one of the most commonly used 3D printing materials. A spool of it often comes together with a new printer. PLA is normally the first filament used by beginners in 3D printing. It is expected to have relatively predictable results. However we noticed that the quality of PLA may vary depending on the manufacturer. Even filaments from the same manufacturer but of different colour may have different printing properties. Click on picture to zoom
What is most surprising, the price does not reflect the quality. Some less known cheaper Dutch producers offer quite a decent quality filament. And the material properties are extremely important, especially when just learning how to 3D print.
The faulty parts in your print can be caused not only by wrong slicer settings or poor performance of a 3D printer. 3D material is a big factor here as well.
We experienced this ourselves when making a 3D printing test object. The first fault was mainly due to a bad printing bed levelling. But later we compared it with other makes from the same STL file made with 3 different 3D filaments. The difference was not hard to see. One object had a rougher surface and looked more “spongy”. At the same time the object printed with 3D material from another spool came out smooth with sharper ends and better bridging.
Generally PLA produces quite strong objects with a good accuracy. This 3D material is splash resistant. However it takes water in between the layers if exposed to it for a long time. This means it is not weather/water proof.
The latest development in 3D printing was to recycle waste and faulty print to produce filament at home. This will hopefully make this industry more affordable and green.
PLA – Pellets
Watch more objects made in PLA on our YouTube channel:
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