What Can You Print Using PLA 3D Printing Material?
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What Can You Print Using PLA 3D Printing Material?

PLA 3D printing material is one of the most popular 3D printing materials

What Can You Print Using PLA 3D Printing Material?

The thermoplastic filament is desirable because of its features and low costs. In addition, PLA 3D printing material is strongly recommended for newbies who'd like to explore the 3D printing world.

Reading this article wholly will help you understand the following concepts about PLA thermoplastic filament:

●What exactly is PLA 3D printing material?

●What are the pros and cons of using PLA 3D printing material?

●Where is PLA 3D thermoplastic usable? (Applications)

●Top tips for using PLA 3D printing thermoplastic filament

Let’s dig right in!

What Exactly is PLA 3D Printing Material?

Polylactic acid (PLA) 3D printing material is an environmentally friendly 3D printing filament.

It is made from organic materials - cornstarch, sugarcane potato starch, etc. It, therefore, means that you can recycle a PLA 3D printing material after you're done with it, hence eco-friendly.

It is further compostable. The filament will start degrading after you've exposed it to a compostable industrial environment.

It is important to note that PLA 3D thermoplastic filament is only usable with FDM 3D printers.

It is one of the most popular FDM 3D printing materials alongside ABS. One of the primary reasons why PLA is popular is because it is economical.

In addition, PLA 3D printing material does not produce strong odors during printing compared with other FDM 3D printing thermoplastics. In contrast, it produces a sweet smell when heated during printing - similar to candy or waffles.

PLA 3D Printing Material Specifications

Thermoplastic Features



Low acquisition cost


Stiff/Good strength


Low flexibility

Shelf life

Excellent shelf life

Dimensional accuracy

Excellent dimensional accuracy - printed 3D model has ± 0.55mm

Multi-color availability

Wide range of colors available - you can color-code your 3D models

Outdoor performance

Poor outdoor performance due to sunlight exposure

Thermoplastic Resistance


Heat resistance

Poor heat resistance - has a low melting point

Water resistance

Average water resistance

Chemical resistance

Poor chemical resistance

Flame retardation

Poor flame retardation

Thermoplastic Printing Temperature


PLA print temperature

160°C (320°F)

PLA bed temperature

60°C - 80°C (140°F - 176°F)

Extruder/nozzle temperature

190°C - 210°C (370°F - 428°F)

Cooling fan

Requires fan to cool - fan speed 100%

PLA print temperature is relatively low compared to other filaments considering its strength. For example, its main competitor (ABS) has a print temperature of 240°C - 270°C (464°F - 518°F).

Using the heating bed is optional. You can further print 3D models without an enclosure using PLA 3D printing material. PLA thermoplastic does not pose a health risk when printing compared to other plastic filaments because it is organic.

You do not need a special hot end to print 3D models using PLA 3D printing thermoplastic filament.

What are the Advantages of Using PLA 3D Printing Material?

Using PLA 3D printing material is highly advantageous. Check out some of this filament’s benefits:

●Environmentally friendly - unlike other plastic thermoplastic filaments for FDM 3D printing, PLA is eco-friendly. However, PLA 3D printing material is compostable in an industrial setting only. Disposing of it like kitchen waste will not make it decompose.

●Easy to print - PLA 3D printing material melts at relatively lower temperatures than ABS 3D printing material. You can optionally use your FDM 3D printer's heat bed to print 3D models when using PLA thermoplastic filament.

In addition, PLA 3D printing material has excellent adhesion to different surfaces. The material does not warp during and after the printing process.

●Industrially biodegradable - PLA is made from organic sources. These organic sources have sugar, which is fermented to produce lactic acid. This lactic acid is then used to make polylactic acid.

Remember, you cannot dispose of PLA 3D printing material like kitchen waste. The recycling process has to happen in an industrial setting with controlled light, temperature, etc.

●Health-risk free - FDM printers print 3D models by heating a thermoplastic filament and then extruding it through a nozzle. When PLA 3D printing material is heated, it does not produce strong toxic fumes like plastics.

Instead, the thermoplastic filament produces a sweet aroma.

●Wide range of colors - PLA 3D printing material has diverse blends and colors. Choosing one or several color ranges is beneficial as it gives you the flexibility to color-code your 3D models or even print models with different colors.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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