PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a biodegradable thermoplastic which is derived from renewable organic resources such as sugarcane and corn starch. This makes PLA Filament a surprisingly eco-friendly plastic to print with when compared to other petrochemical based filament options, and the wide range of colours and additives makes it one of the most versatile ranges too.
PLA is by far the most commonly used 3D Printer Filament in the world, partially due to its above-mentioned environmental friendliness, but mostly because it is extremely easy to use and print with as well. PLA is great for beginners who are just getting started, as it has a low shrinkage factor compared to ABS or Nylon, and due to the composition of the plastics, it doesn’t need an enclosure to print large objects – which would typically be prone to warping or layer separation.
A heated bed is not essential, but if used and set to a temperature of around 40° to 70°C, a heated build surface can go a long way in aiding print quality and bed adhesion. We recommend our Bed Adhesive, but commonly used Bed Adhesion Aids for PLA filament include Blue Painters tape (masking tape), cheap hairspray, Kapton Tape, PEI and BuildTak. PLA’s glass transition temperature (when it starts getting soft and malleable) is around 50°C, and is extruded at temperatures between 210° and 240°C. However, just remember that printing small or detailed parts will require a part cooling fan for optimal results.