What is PLA filament?

PLA is the most used and therefor most popular filament for 3D printers.It is easily printable, and available in many colors. When printing PLA your 3D prints will be more shiny and look great. Another advantage is that it is biological degradable, making it a more environmentally friendly filament. As the filament is more stiff, it will break instead of bend when force is applied.

Browse our PLA assortment

Main properties of 3D print made in PLA

Finish: Shiny, can be more matt when printed lower in temperature.
Color: Translucent / yellowish, but available in many colors
Strength: Quite strong
Heat resistance: Minimal, up to 60 degrees
Flexibility: Very stiff
Specialties: Biologically degradable

PLA (polylactic acid) filament is amongst the oldest and still the most heavily used mediums in the 3D printing community, mainly due to its benefits as a versatile and environmentally friendly thermoplastic. Both organic and biodegradable, PLA is easily compounded with other ingredients to influence its final properties, for example flexibility and metallically. The uncolored form of Real PLA is a translucent off-white color and has a printing temperature between 195 - 205 degrees (depending on hot end characteristics). Darker colors of Real may require a few extra degrees of temperature due to the coloring process. The filament should extrude smoothly and appear slightly shiny. PLA is denser and tougher than ABS, but is more brittle and susceptible to cracking under high loads. It is also less resistant to the outdoor elements (UV light and water) than other common thermoplastics (see Nylon, ABS and PET-G).

PLA can print well on an unheated surface using Blue Painters or Kapton tape, and most 3D print stickers. For ease and convenience, we recommend using spray such as 3Dlac on a glass bed. A low bed temperature between 50 - 60 degrees further reduces the chance of warping and makes final print removal easier once the print surface has cooled.

Pros for using PLA filament

  • Easy to work with, odorless printing
  • Less shrinkage, so less warping and cracking
  • Can be printed without heated bed
  • Low viscosity, so flows better and prints faster
  • Has a wide variety of colors and specialties
  • Can be printed without heated bed when using 3Dlac

Cons for using PLA

  • Tougher material, so more brittle
  • Cannot withstand much heat
  • Doesn't go well with water, will degrade faster outside
  • Cannot withstand UV-light

Tips for using PLA filament in your 3D printer

  • Use a higher temperature to get more shininess in the resulting 3D print, or lower temperature for matt objects
  • A fan for cooling the printer will help you print better overhangs/ smaller prints
  • Printing temperature depends on nozzle size, print speed and hot-end. 205 degrees is a good start, but look for a bit shininess to get the optimal temperature
  • Use 3Dlac to avoid warping on your heated bed. You can print without heat, but 55 degrees will enable you to get your print off more easily.
  • We have 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3mm filament, make sure which your printer supports

Special types of PLA

At ReprapWorld we offer normal PLA in many different colors on 1kg and 50-0g spools. But we also have more special varieties.

Real Flex
Much stronger and bendable PLA filament. Can withstand higher impacts without breaking, great for drones, table corner pieces etc.

Fluorescent PLA filament
Very bright colored filament, gives a cool glowing effect when near a black-light.

Satin PLA filament
PLA filament with a whitish, shiny finish. Print very smoothly, almost hiding the layers. Beautiful when used in curved objects,

PLA Glow in the dark
Great for in bedrooms, giving a green after-glow when lights are turned off. Must be printed a bit cooler.

Wood PLA filament
Normal PLA filament with wood fibers, gives a rough more hairy finish, appearing to be wood

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