What is PLA

PLA (lactic polyacid) is a material with melting temperature between 180 and 220C. It is the most used in 3D printing with FDM technology and, unlike ABS, the PLA does not require a thermal printing tray, only an acrylic plate or a platform that allows to hold this material.

This compound has excellent environmental properties . It is a plastic from corn starch, which does not use any fossil energy and does not emit harmful gases. In addition, is biodegradable and compostable , which makes it a material chosen more and more among the community.

The PLA can be of different colors, and even transparent. In addition admits all kinds of finishes (paints, varnishes, etc.), and is suitable for objects that must be in contact with food (cups, bowls, plates, salad bowls ...) for a short period of time .

Characteristics of parts in PLA

Biodegradable compound
Wide variety of colors available
Does not withstand high temperatures
Very good detail accuracy
Low mechanical resistance
Sensitive to high humidity

Available colours

Black
Pantone
Black
White
Pantone
White
Grey
Pantone
877C
Blue
Pantone
7689C
Orange
Pantone
214C
Green
Pantone
364C
Magenta
Pantone
214C
Yellow
Pantone
122C
Red
Pantone
485C
Aubergine
Pantone
7645C
Translucent

Technology used

FDM or molten deposition modeling is a manufacturing process used for the prototype modeling and the production of small and medium runs . This modeling uses an additive function, depositing the material in layers, to form the piece.

A filament that is initially stored in rolls is used, and it is inserted into a nozzle that is above the melting temperature of the material and can travel in three electronically controlled axes. The nozzle moves to drop the material in the correct location, drawing the model line by line. When a layer is drawn, the base drops by a layer thickness (0.1-0.4) so that the printer can continue with the next layer.

When the model to be printed has sections that protrude or have a high angle, a support structure is created where it is considered necessary and printed on a material that can later be easily removed, in some cases soluble. This is done so that the model does not settle in the air, thus preventing the layer from falling.

Examples of this material

Properties table

PROPERTY VALUE TEST METHOD
Density 1,24 g/cm^3 ASTM D792
Elastic flex module 3600 MPa ISO 178
Flexural strength 108 MPa ISO 178
Tension force 39 MPa ISO 527
Tensile breakage 4 % ISO 527
Softening temperature 65 ºC ASTM D3418