Gizmo Dorks

3D Printer PLA Filament

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PLA Filament

Polylactic Acid (PLA) is one of the most popular plastics used for 3D printing. PLA filament is a thermoplastic meaning at cooler temperatures it is solid and higher temperatures it is soft and moldable.

Polylactic Acid or PLA filament, is created from processing a number of plant products. PLA plastic can be composted at commercial facilities making this 3D printing filament a more earth friendly plastic compared to ABS. Since PLA filament is derived from sugars, it gives off a semi-sweet smell when heated during printing. This is generally preferred over ABS filament, which gives off the smell of hot plastic.

PLA plastic filament is stronger and more rigid than the ABS filament. The 3D printed parts will feel more glossy. PLA plastics can also be sanded and machined.

PLA filament has a relatively low melting temperature compared to other thermoplastics. PLA has much less warping versus ABS, and thus a heated build platform is not required. Because a heated bed plate is not used for PLA, many users often prefer to print using blue painters tape instead of kapton tape. PLA filament generally enjoys sharper details and corners compared to ABS without the risk of cracking or warping. PLA can also be printed at higher throughput speeds.

Please store PLA plastic filament in a dry cool space. Absorption of moisture can cause bubbles to form because PLA reacts with water at high temperatures.

PLA Specifications

  • **Net weight: 1 kg or 2.2 lbs
  • Diameter: +/- 0.05mm
  • Roundness: +/- 0.07mm
  • Print Temperature: 190-225°C
    • Every printer is different. Some will print PLA filament at 190-205°C. Others will print best at 220-225°C
  • Bed Temperature: Not required, but recommended at 60°C

Colors, Sizes, and Types of PLA Filament

The Gizmo Dorks PLA filament comes in 39 different color varieties. There are 30 normal colors and 9 specialty colors. All 39 color variants come in 2 sizes:

  • 1.75mm PLA Filament
  • 3mm (2.85mm) PLA Filament

The 8 specialty colors can be categorized into 3 filament types.

Glow in the dark PLA filament

As the name implies, the glow in the dark PLA filament will shine in the dark. Please allow the filament or print to retain light or its charge in regular light first. Glow in the dark is available in the color green. We have experimented with glow in the dark blue, but the color did not shine vibrantly enough. Sizes come in 1.75mm PLA and 3mm PLA.

Fluorescent PLA filament

There are four PLA fluorescent colors that will glow under UV light, which is also known as black light. The four colors are fluorescent green, fluorescent blue, fluorescent orange, and fluorescent yellow. A fifth fluorescent color was made and named Red Ruby. Sizes come in 1.75mm PLA and 3mm PLA.

Color change by heat

This type of PLA filament will change colors depending on the temperature of the filament. The PLA filaments change color at approximately 31°C (88°F). Below 31°C the filaments are one color; above 31°C the filaments are a different color. The easiest way to visualize this change is to simply use a hair dryer on the filament. The color change PLA filaments come in three varieties: green to yellow, gray to white, and purple to pink. Please see the below video for illustration of the color changing effect. Sizes come in 1.75mm PLA and 3mm PLA.