What you need to know about 3D Printer PLA!

BACKGROUND:

PLA is a semi-crystalline polymer that begins with the fermentation of raw organic materials such as corn starch, beet pulp, and cassava making PLA a biodegradable thermoplastic. It has quickly risen to become one of the most popular materials for the realm of FDM Printing. Outside on 3D Printing, PLA has become a popular material for environmentally friendly applications such as disposable cups and cutlery, agriculture film, tea bags, pharma, and more. Interestingly enough, the name "polylactic acid" does not comply with IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry standard nomenclature, and is potentially ambiguous or confusing, because PLA is not a polyacid but rather a polyester. However, Poly Lactic Acid remains the nomenclature within the world of additive manufacturing.

STRENGTHS: 

      COST SAVING               GOOD STRENGTH             ACCURATE GAUGING

  • PLA is cheap! Typically, prices are between $21.99 and $27.99 per kg. 
  • PLA Tensile strength = 37MPa, compared to ABS Tensile Strength of 27MPa
  • High Dimensional Accuracy improves the part accuracy and the overall quality of the print 

WEAKNESSES

       LOW HEAT RESISTANCE         POOR WEATHERABILITY     BRITTLENESS

  • Low Heat Resistance may cause oozing and impact the ability for PLA to bridge correctly 
  • Poor Weatherability means that PLA will not last long outdoors, hence its biodegradable 
  • Brittleness can occur, especially when the extrusion multiplier is too low 

PLA applications are typically not used for pieces and parts required to endure high heat, pressure, or force. Many industries use PLA simply for modeling design concept, creative projects, as well as jigs, fixtures, and encasements. 

MAJOR PLA USERS:

  • Theater Production Teams
  • Commercial, Mechanical, and Industrial Designers
  • Modeling Community 
  • Cosplay Enthusiasts
  • Educative Establishments
  • Decorative 
  • Architects 
  • Design Engineers
  • Custom Jewelers 

CASE STUDY: 3D Printing Disrupting the Jewelry Industry

Since the adoption of additive manufacturing technology, the Jewelry industry has had to adapt to face the threat of the growing number of “at home” jewelry makers. Using technique called “PLA Lost Casting”, anyone with a 3D printer and some cash can create beautiful and artfully crafted pendants, rings, and accessories. This method involves the printing of the desired Stl. File, coating the printed object with molding material such as clay, placing the coated print within a furnace to burn out the PLA plastic, and then pouring melted ore into the casted mold. In general, 3D printing impacts three main elements in this industry: production cost, time and the realization of complex shapes. Note that FDM technology can be effective when using low speeds, the resolution provided by DLP technology proves to be more effective for complex aesthetic details.

According to a research from the American firm SmarTech Markets Publishing entitled "3D Printing Opportunities in the Jewelry Industry - 2017: An Opportunity Analysis and Ten-Year Forecast", this market may reach $ 900 million in 2026. The evolution of this technology will likely move to printing solid precious metal prints without the need for casting with MSLS technology, where gold, silver, and titanium powders are bonded together using a very high-powered laser. As the material hardens another layer of powder is dispersed on top and sintered while the vat/print bed descends allowing the metal to be formed layer after layer. 

If you are interested in is check out the links to videos below:

PURCHASE FILAMENT HUB PLA FILAMENT HERE