Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a thermoplastic material derived from renewable resources such as corn. PLA filament is easy and safe to use which makes it the most popular choice for hobbyists and schools.
Manufacturers also use PLA materials to make parts for toys, medical devices and many other products. Thanks to its natural origins, PLA plastic can biodegrade into non-toxic materials making it a sustainable choice for 3D printing.
Variety and accessibility make PLA useful for enthusiasts and professionals alike. Low PLA print temperatures let this filament work with most FDM 3D printers. The transparency of raw PLA accepts pigments and fillers to create a wide range of colors and materials properties. And to finish the job, a range of post-processing techniques will make the final object look amazing.
PLA is more forgiving than many 3D printing materials. During printing, objects are more likely to adhere to the print bed even if it is unheated. The final parts are not as susceptible to warping as they cool. Unlike other 3D printer filaments, PLA produces few noxious fumes which makes it much safer to use around kids and pets.
You will want to choose PLA filaments when printing rapid prototypes, household objects and anything for kids. When expressing your creativity in 3D, the aesthetic options with PLA printing can’t be beaten. However, you will want to avoid applications where the object must support mechanical loads, high temperatures or prolonged exposure to daylight.
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