Table of Contents
- What is PLA material?
- Hardware requirement to work with PLA
- Printing bed requirements
- How to change PLA filament?
- How to get the first layer right?
- PLA Filament Troubleshooting
- Final Thoughts
PLA is among the widely-used 3d printing filaments that are readily available and available in a variety of colours. It’s an ideal material that engineers use for prototyping, jigs, fixtures, and demonstration models. In addition, this material is used in several industries, from food packaging to medical implants like tacks, sutures, and screws.
The majority of 3d printing technologies like FDM support PLA material, and the most significant advantage is that it’s made up of biodegradable sources. In addition to this, PLA emits less toxic gases, and it’s much safer to use. So if you’re also planning to use this material for additive manufacturing, we have got you covered.
What is PLA material?
PLA or Polylactic acid is a high-performance thermoplastic polyester, and it’s made using renewable resources. Corn, sugarcane, tapioca, and starch are standard natural materials companies use to prepare this material. One of the unique aspects of PLA is that it’s industrially compostable — it means PLA is easier to decompose faster.
PLA plastic is widely used in several industries, and it’s a suitable material for beginners as the maintenance and post-processing is minimum. In addition, this additive manufacturing material has a poor thermal contraction, which means the objects don’t warp as they remain stable in high temperatures.
Hardware requirement to work with PLA
PLA is not a demanding material & you don’t have to take care of a lot of things when it comes to hotends. 200°C is an ideal temperature to begin printing with this material. To make specific physical property changes or add colours, you might need to operate the material to a particular temperature range.
Wood-based materials clog easily when the temperature is higher, so it’s recommended to keep it around 180°C. The practical tip for playing with temperature is to start with 200°C and keep adjusting to 5°C higher or lower.
PLA is among those 3d printing materials that don’t require a higher temperature. Thus, the printer doesn’t require an all-metal hotend, and it works seamlessly with a PTFE-lined hotend.
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Printing bed requirements
PLA doesn’t require a heated bed, but of course, if your 3d printer has a heating head, it will make the printing process more manageable. If you do have a heated bed, keep the temperature around 60°C. As long as you have a suitable bed surface, you can start printing without a heating bed. If you’re looking to have a glossy bottom finish for the object, glass is a perfect material.
How to change PLA filament?
While switching between two spools and colours, consider these tips to ensure a seamless operation:
- If the extruder is at room temperature, heat it to 120°C and wait for it to heat up.
- Once the nozzle reaches 90°C, keep pulling the filament until you pull out all the filament from the nozzle.
- Start increasing the temperature and load the new filament.
- Finally, test the colour by running it through the extruder until it runs consistently.
How to get the first layer right?
The first layer is the most critical part of any printing process as it sets the base for the entire operation. Ensure the first layer prints seamlessly by considering these points below:
- Ensure the print bed is correctly levelled.
- Adjust the nozzle to the correct distance from the bed while you begin 3D printing.
- You need to have excellent quality base materials to adhere to the PLA material.
PLA Filament Troubleshooting
- If the temperature is higher and you’re not sure how much it is, you should observe the overhangs. If they are constantly dropping, then there is some extra stringing. For fixing this, adjust the retraction settings as it will help you remove the stringing.
- If the temperature is colder, you will notice that the filament is not sticking to the previous layer. To fix this issue, keep raising the temperature by 5°C until you get consistent extrusion.
- While printing, you notice that the first layer is not sticking well; you need to ensure that the printer’s nozzle is at the correct height.
Working with PLA material is easy and quick, even for beginners. If you need rapid prototyping or small-scale production, opt for a 3d printing service with PLA and get it done at a lower cost. With the growing popularity of 3d printing, several companies offer PLA material for 3d printing objects.