PLA filaments are commonly used in the 3D printing industry as they are renewable, biodegradable, and produce excellent results. If you are thinking of printing using a PLA filament, then read on to how to set the right PLA print temperature and how to tune the setting to get the best results.
What are PLA Filaments?
Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a thermoplastic polyester that is derived from renewable resources. PLA filaments are very robust and their most attractive feature is that they are degradable and environmentally friendly. Manufacturers use PLA filaments when 3D printing because they are easy-to-use and come in a variety of styles and colours.
Guidelines for 3D Printing Using PLA Filaments
1. Set the Right PLA Temperature
Printing with PLA is pretty fuss-free if you know how to set the bed and extrusion temperature right.
If the extruder is set too hot, then the filament could turn soft and messy. On the other hand, if the extrusion temperature is set too low then the PLA will not stick to the previous layer and the print will have a rough finish. Hence, the ideal PLA temperature should be adjusted between 190 degrees to 220 degrees depending on the need. Keep experimenting with the temperature by turning it up and down to find out what works best for you.
Besides extrusion, adjusting the PLA bed temperature is also crucial. Experts suggest setting the range for PLA bed temperature between 55 degrees and 70 degrees, whichever best suits your needs.
2. What to Do When Things Go Wrong?
Here are a few things to check if your prints aren’t coming out right:
- If your first layer isn’t sticking, then be sure to check if the extruder is set at the right height and the print bed is levelled.
- You need to lower your PLA extrusion temperature if your prints are coming out droopy.
- Source better quality PLA filaments if your prints have bumps on edges. Besides adjusting PLA temperatures, the quality of the material is also important for achieving the desired results.
- Before applying any adhesion to the print bed, ensure it is free of any oils and other contaminants, as this could compromise the bed adhesion.
- Different brands and different modifications of PLA require you to set different PLA temperatures.
3. Get the Printing Speed Right
Besides taking into account the PLA print temperature, you also need to consider the printing speed. Thicker PLA filaments take a longer time to heat and hence require more time to print. The ideal range of printing with PLA filament tends to be around 30 mm/sec to 90 mm/sec. PLA isn’t as demanding as other filaments, but setting the right balance between the PLA temperature and printing speed can make a difference to your 3D printing experience.
4. Be Mindful of External Factors
External factors can also affect your printing experience if you are not careful. Here are a few useful tips for you to follow:
- Adjust the PLA temperature at the higher end if you have a cool breeze coming in from a window.
- Moisture can affect PLA filaments. For this reason, it’s best to store them in an air-tight container to preserve the quality.
- Consider buying an enclosure for your 3D printer. An enclosure will not let outside temperatures affect your prints and effectively prevents the warping of materials.
5. Ensure Proper Cooling Process
To achieve desirable results, make sure that the cooling process is set properly. Cooling can affect the first few layers of adhesion. Experts recommend using a fan to cool the freshly extruded plastic parts to prevent the plastic from stringing.
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