PLA filament is indeed one of the most commonly used 3D printing filaments, and there are several reasons for its popularity:
- Ease of use: PLA filament is relatively easy to work with compared to other filaments. It has a lower printing temperature requirement, which means it can be used with a wider range of 3D printers, including those with non-heated print beds. Its low thermal expansion and minimal warping properties make it less prone to printing issues.
- Availability: PLA filament is widely available and offered by numerous manufacturers. It can be found in various colors, finishes, and even with added properties such as glow-in-the-dark or metallic finishes.
- Environmental friendliness: PLA is derived from renewable resources such as cornstarch or sugarcane, making it a biodegradable and eco-friendly option. It has a lower environmental impact compared to petroleum-based plastics like ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene).
- Safety: PLA is considered to be a safe filament to use, as it does not emit toxic fumes or odors during printing. This makes it suitable for use in home or educational settings where ventilation might be limited.
- Wide range of applications: PLA is suitable for a variety of applications, including prototyping, hobbyist projects, and decorative objects. It has good dimensional accuracy, detail reproduction, and surface finish. However, it should be noted that PLA may not be the best choice for functional parts that require high strength or heat resistance.
While PLA filament is popular, it’s worth noting that there are other filaments available with different characteristics. Depending on the specific requirements of a project, other filaments such as ABS, PETG, or nylon may be more suitable choices.