Starting from beginners, PLA is a favourite filament for professionals as well as for industrialists. This is all because of the unique properties that it exhibits.
Apart from being affordable and the cheapest among the other alternatives, PLA is safe and easy to use. It is available in different colours and composites, helping users achieve different results with their 3D printing projects.
However, to find the best PLA filament isn’t an easy job. It could be frustrating to end up with undesired results when working with unreliable PLA filaments.
There are many factors affect the quality of these filaments and not every manufacturer would give you what you desire.
The quality of these PLA filaments differs widely from one manufacturer to another. And, this highly influences the resultant prints.
Finding out that you have paid for a low-quality PLA filament is really irritating. Hence, it is important to understand the different properties of these materials and know which one to choose when quality matters the most.
What is Polylactic Acid (PLA)?
PLA is considered as the most used filament across the FDM 3D printing community. And, this is all because of numerous good reasons that come handy with this option. It has also been known as the best mate for beginners because of the ease it provides during printing.
The first and foremost reason for its popularity is the simple settings it requires before printing. There are many other factors too making PLA the king of the materials. It requires comparatively less temperature for extrusion.
Hence, one does not require a heated bed when printing with PLA. This also means that it is not susceptible to warping as various other materials are such as ABS.
Also, it does not emit harmful fumes as ABS does. So, it is safe to work with proper ventilation. Some though have reported of a candy-like sweet smell. But that would depend on the type of PLA filament one chooses.
The most important property of PLA filament is that it is biodegradable thermoplastic. Hence, it is environment friendly and is created from renewable resources. Companies use sugar cane and even corn starch to prepare PLA.
Above all, the material is available in an abundance of colours and composites. You can even find PLA exhibiting glow in dark properties or with conductive nature.
These are also found as composites being the base material and available with wood or metal. You can yourself guess the number of options you get when choosing PLA as your printing filament.
Properties of PLA Filaments
The different properties that make PLA one of its kind are high strength, low flexibility, and considerable durability. It requires a temperature between 180°C to 230°C for printing.
And, it can be printed on a non-heated bed as well. However, you can maintain a temperature of 20°C to 60°C when owning a heated bed 3D Printer.
The best part is that the filament has minimal tendency to warp or shrink. It is a non-soluble filament. And, it is a non-toxic material, hence, can sometimes be used for food storage products.
However, that must be checked with the manufacturer’s guidelines. It decomposes easily and is favourable for a greener planet.
And, when printing with PLA, one does not have to worry about the pre-settings. It can be used with minimal print settings and would still provide the best results.
While these properties very much give an impression of why to include PLA as the printing material. However, there are certain applications that cannot be done using this particular filament.
So, when should the filament must not be used? The first thing to note about PLA is that it is brittle when compared to other filaments.
Hence, these cannot be used for products that often bend or dropped. For example, toddlers’ toys, tool handles phone covers and many others.
Moreover, because it melts at relatively less temperature, the products created with PLA are also not highly heat resistant. The PLA printed objects cannot withstand higher temperatures.
It may deform at around 60 degrees Celsius temperature and higher. Apart from that, PLA can be used for almost anything.
You can prepare containers, jars, low-wear toys, lamps, decorative items and much more.
Recommendations for Best PLA Filaments
Depending on the quality of 3D Printing and the properties that PLA filaments must entail, here are few recommendations you may like to browse through.
These are our top picks and are highly popular among professionals and experts. Also, these choices are liked by beginners. So, you can try printing with them without any confusion.
Hatchbox is based out of the USA and offers great quality PLA filaments. The best part is that the filament offers the best properties and features at a very affordable rate.
It is considered as one among the few perfect choices that offer all-around benefits and is an everyday filament.
Because of its unbeaten quality, the filament did make to the top list in very less time. You can find thousands of satisfies customers reviews on Amazon and decide for yourself.
The PLA filament offered by the company is made of bioplastics and polymers. Hence, it offers the benefits of two worlds. On the one hand, it is smoother and on the other hand, it helps in reducing CO2 footprint.
Moreover, the properties that come along with the material is highly applaudable. It exhibits high tolerance and available in vibrant colours.
It does show a bit of flexibility, yet strong enough to make itself count as the unique PLA filament. You can enjoy high detailed resolution when printing with this material. All these qualities that packed in a very affordable package.
There is one thing that you must note though. The spool is packaged in a cardboard box and is sealed in a plastic bag which cannot be sealed back once opened.
Hence, you must protect your filament from humidity with locked storage once taken out of the box. However, this isn’t a huge challenge, hence, making HatchBox a desirable choice for those seeking high-resolution print results.
Amolen is a China-based manufacturer that is engaged in manufacturing of filaments. It offers PLA with differing quality and options.
Not to forget, this one creates the best PLA filament. Hence, you can expect it to provide the best results.
From varying colour varieties to complex and unique PLA composites, are all available under the hood of the company. Think of a marble-like PLA filament. If that intrigues you, you can order it from Amolen.
The company was started in 2017 and since then, it has expanded its offerings to the people seeking better results time and again. It does carry the tag of being an affordable option.
However, that has not limited the company from coming up with amazing options. The filaments are available in 1.75 mm diameter. And, these are packed into 0.5 kg or 1 kg spools.
The filament is known for its smoothness and great quality prints. With excellent results, one can expect the filament to be easy to use. Although the filament provides decent first layer adhesion, some reviews have claimed that using an adhesive help make the most of the material.
Similar to HatchBox, the filament is packed in a non-reusable plastic. This means that you must ensure that the filament is stored properly after unpacking to retain its best properties within.
A lot of users just tick the affordability and select the product. However, what if the filament only makes things worse for you when printing. You would end up spending anyway on an expensive tagged material, with a greater combined expense.
However, there is a way to maintain the budget expenses and buy that one filament that helps you get amazing results. This can be attained with the help of AmazonBasics PLA.
The filament is available in diverse colour options and is cheap as well. And, you get the commitment of the e-commerce giant Amazon which is known for fast delivery and returns. The filament also comes with a one-year warranty from Amazon.
The reviews very well explain the qualities of the PLA filament. It can print with excellent resolution and details. And, it also comes inside a reusable plastic bag. Hence, the problem with storing is anyway solved before you even unpack the box.
The spool comes with a gauge on the sides to help the user keep a tap on the amount of remaining filament. It shows the amount measured in meters as well as by weight.
When considering all these qualities, you can not ignore getting your hands on it. It is for everyday use and is highly reliable.
Do you own a MakerBot 3D printer? If yes, this would be the best match for your machine, Even if not, the PLA filament is capable of providing unbeaten results and high-quality prints.
The company is based out of the USA and is very consistent with its results at every front. The products are checked for high quality before prepared for the use of 3D printing.
The reason that makes MakerBot such as huge competition for other manufacturers is its strict quality control steps.
The PLA filament has great properties and almost everything that you may desire your PLA material to own.
It is capable of providing high-end 3D printing results at all times. These filaments are known for zero warpings.
If that is what you are looking for, we would recommend not to miss this option from your list.
The company also offers jumbo XXL 10 lb. spools for those carrying 3D printing very often. The spool will last longer and for bigger prints without stopping in between.
Whichever 3D printer you use, if that allows you to work with third-party spools, MakerBot PLA filament would suit the best. It can work with almost every modern FDM printers.
And, it is known for maintaining the top-notch results in any situation. Most of all, it is free from most of the common problems that are found when printing.
ProtoPlant, where the PLA is manufactured is based in Vancouver, Washington, USA. The PLA filament was created through the Kickstarter campaign.
The PLA filament is a result of hard work that few material scientists put together to bring the best PLA filament for printing use. It was first created in 2013.
The company provides a huge range of PLA filaments from a regular one to the speciality PLA filaments. The company produces stiffer speciality PLA filaments which the regular ones cannot feature.
Also, these filaments provide better dimensional stability. Hence, users can enjoy warp-free 3D printing.
Apart from that, the layer adhesion is exemplary and can be used with supports with minimal to no removal issues. These have highly reliable tolerances.
The 3D prints are well justified when printed with this PLA filament. Also, the pleasant smell makes the experience even soothing and better.
Those working with models including electronics must choose this PLA filament above any other alternatives. These provide conductive properties.
You can even print models that require iron-like properties and would attract to magnets. All these different choices are available with this great company. You can trust them for offering best products shipped on time and with proper packaging.
As we all know that PLA filaments are easiest to work with, there is a huge demand for these materials. Hence, you can find numerous companies offering the product at competitive prices.
However, one must not neglect the fact that quality comes alongside the price tag. One cannot ignore the properties of these PLA filaments and look for the one that exhibits the favourable outcomes.
Using the best PLA filament would help in achieving amazing results. If you understand the importance of quality and do not want to compromise with it, never go for an unreliable PLA filament.
The PLA material is for creating high-end products. Hence, choose the one that justifies that and brings the best out of your 3D models.