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PLA Filament

PLA is one of the most popular materials used in 3D printing Overview | Positives & NegativesHardware Requirements

An Overview of PLA Filament

Polylactic Acid, commonly known as PLA, is one of the most popular materials used in desktop 3D printing. It is the default filament of choice for most extrusion-based 3D printers because it can be printed at a low temperature and does not require a heated bed. 

It is also one of the most environmentally friendly filaments on the market today. Derived from crops such as corn and sugarcane, PLA is renewable and most importantly biodegradable. As a bonus, this also allows the plastic to give off a sweet aroma during printing.

Positives

  • Low Cost
  • Stiff and good strength
  • Good dimensional accuracy
  • Good shelf life

Negatives

  • Low heat resistance
  • Can ooze and may need cooling fans
  • Filament can get brittle and break
  • Not suitable for outdoors (sunlight exposure)

Typical Hardware Requirements

Printer Bed

Temperature: 45-60 °C
Heated Bed Optional
Enclosure not required

Build Surface

Painter’s tape
PEI
Glass plate
Glue stick

Filament Extruder

Temperature: 190-220 °C
No special hot-end required

Cooling Fan

Cooling Fan Required
Fan Speed: Maximum 

Getting Started

Common Applications

  • Test and calibration items
  • Dimensionally accurate assemblies
  • Decorative Parts
  • Cosplay Props

Popular Brands

  • Polymaker PLA, PolyMax, PolyPlus
  • ColorFabb PLA/PHA
  • Hatchbox PLA
  • eSun PLA
  • Filamentum PLA

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