PLA 3D Printer Filament

What is PLA?

Short for polylactic acid, PLA is a bioplastic derived from plant-based sources. PLA is the easiest polymer to print and is used by the majority of 3D printer users. Whilst more sustainable than fossil fuel plastics, it’s important to note than PLA is not biodegradable in soil, home compost or landfill – refuting claims by some marketers of PLA filament.

To reduce usage of virgin polymers, we work with industry partners to recycle post-industrial PLA waste materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill.

All users of rPLA can be satisfied that they are 3D printing sustainably, without compromising on quality.

87% Recycled plastic

Available colours

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is PLA filament?

PLA filament is made from Polylactic Acid – this is a plant based bioplastic which means it is made from renewable sources such as plants, rather than traditional plastic like ABS which are derived from oil-based, non-renewable sources.

PLA filament is the feedstock for 3D printing and is produced from PLA plastic in a manufacturing process known as extrusion. This creates the filament in one of two diameters – 1.75mm or 2.85mm.

Is PLA Filament food safe?

PLA is produced from a natural source and so in raw form, can be safely regarded as food safe. PLA filament is of course a finished product and the process of formulating PLA as a filament involves additives for mechanical properties, visual aspects and 3D printing performance. As such, it is impossible to say all PLA filament is food safe and it is wise to check with the manufacturer.

EU Regulation EU 10/2011 sets out safety requirements for plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. Filamentive Limited declares that the version of its filament suitable for 3D printing, as mentioned below, complies with the compositional requirements according to EU Regulation No 10/2011.

PLA: Black, White, Dark Grey, Light Grey, Silver, Red, Dark Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange

The conditions and limitations of use for base polymers are defined as: “May be used with all food types, with the exception of foods containing greater than 15% alcohol, at temperatures up to 100°C followed by long-term storage at ambient temperature or below.”

 

Is PLA filament biodegradable?

There is no evidence to prove PLA filament is biodegradable in landfill, soil or home composting.

Based on academic research by nova-Institut GmbH, PLA is only biodegradable in industrial compost or in an anaerobic digestion facility – specifically, this is a controlled composting environment heated to 140 degrees fahrenheit and fed a steady diet of digestive microbes.

Why does PLA filament get brittle?

PLA is hygroscopic, which means that if the filament absorbs moisture from surrounding air, it can cause a variety of issues including brittleness. Furthermore, you may hear popping and cracking sounds as well as uncharacteristic stringing and blobbing during 3D printing.

To fix filament getting brittle, you can dehydrate PLA in an oven for four to six hours at a temperature of 65 degrees celsius. Please follow equipment healthy & safety guidance.

To prevent PLA filament becoming brittle, store in a cool and dry environment, away from UV light exposure. Filamentive include free grip seal bags with every order to aid storage.

Where to buy PLA filament?

PLA filament is available to buy, online, in-store collection via click & collect. FREE Next day UK delivery.

Filamentive PLA filament is available to buy via a network of resellers and stockists in the UK and beyond. See https://www.filamentive.com/resellers/ for the complete list.

Which PLA filament to buy?

Which PLA filament to buy is mainly dependent upon your 3D printing application.

Filamentive PLA is the filament to buy if you need an easy to print, low cost PLA for 3D printing.

If your 3D printing application requires enhanced impact resistance, Filamentive PLA Tough is the PLA filament to buy as it is more than 750% more impact resistant that regular PLA.

If you’re 3D printing with PLA and require greater heat resistance and increased stiffness, ePLA (engineering PLA) is the PLA filament to buy.

How is PLA filament made?
PLA filament is made by a manufacturing process known as plastic extrusion. PLA pellets are first added to a hopper where they then feed into the barrel of the extruder and the mechanical energy gradually heats the plastic with a turning screw. PLA filament is then made by this plastic being forced through a die which shapes it into either 1.75mm or 2.85mm filament. The extruded PLA filament is then spooled onto reels to be sold.
Can PLA filament be painted?
Yes, 3D-printed parts created from PLA filament can generally be painted successfully. Specifically, acrylic paint is recommended for PLA as it dries fast and can be cleaned with water.
Is PLA filament toxic?
PLA filament is derived from plant-based materials and so it is regarded as non-toxic, versus conventional thermoplastics such as ABS. Filamentive PLA is RoHS and REACH certified which guarantees there is no presence of harmful substances which may be toxic. When 3D printing PLA filament, toxic fumes can be further minimised by an enclosure.
Is PLA filament recyclable?

PLA is 100% recyclable via mechanical recycling and (industrial) composting.

Once printed, PLA can be recycled by shredding the plastic parts and then using an extruder machine to manufacture 100% recycled filament from the PLA waste. Whilst technically feasible, there are many challenges to consider which were explained in this blog post.