As a 3D printing filament UK supplier, we currently offer six PLA filaments – as of August 2021: PLA, PLA Tough, Engineering PLA (ePLA), PLA Matte, PLA Cosmic, Wood PLA.

Due to the wide range of PLA materials, “which PLA filament is for me?” is a frequently asked question. With regards to PLA used for industrial applications, three of our PLA materials are most suited – PLA, PLA Tough, Engineering PLA (ePLA). 

To that end, this article seeks to explore the features / benefits of PLA, Tough PLA and Engineering PLA (ePLA), with a view to aiding your decision making when choosing the right PLA for your 3D printing project. 


What is PLA Filament?

Polylactic acid / polylactide – PLA for short – is a bioplastic, a plastic made from plant / biological material, as opposed to oil-based. This renewable origin makes PLA less environmentally impactful than other PLA filaments. Furthermore, it is easy to print, requires a relatively low printing temperature, and has no (strong) odour during printing – all benefits which make PLA the most popular filament material for 3D printing.


PLA Filament

Filamentive PLA is an easy to print, low warp, 3D printer filament available in a wide range of colours. To reduce the use of virgin material and ensure lower environmental impact, Filamentive PLA is made from recycled PLA where possible – specifically, discarded post-industrial waste material from the extrusion process. As this is single, source in-situ waste – this guarantees no impact on quality, nor material performance.

Our regular PLA is ideal for conventional 3D printing of prototypes and even consumer products, in applications not demanding enhanced mechanical or thermal properties. 

3D printing temperature: 205±10°C

Heated bed temperature: ≤60°C 

PLA Tough Filament

As the product name suggested, PLA Tough is a strong PLA filament, formulated especially for industrial applications where impact resistance is required. PLA Tough exhibits superior Charpy Impact (Kj/m2) – a high strain-rate test as per ISO 179 . In real-terms, this means PLA Tough is more than 750% impact resistant than regular PLA (29.8 kJ/m² versus 3.4 kJ/m²).

Such mechanical properties make PLA Tough a feasible, biobased alternative to the industry standard, ABS, whilst still retaining the printability of PLA.

PLA Tough is suited to industrial 3D printing applications – such as jigs / fixtures, functional prototypes and end-use parts.

3D printing temperature: 210±10°C

Heated bed temperature: ≤60°C


Engineering PLA – ePLA Filament

ePLA is an engineering-grade PLA filament, specially formulated to provide comparable performance to ABS. Our ePLA is an easy to print, bio-based PLA filament, offering excellent interlayer adhesion.

ePLA filament can also be printed at greater speeds versus regular PLA – >120mm/s – making this filament ideal for production runs where efficiency gains are possible. Post annealing, ePLA 3D prints exhibit heat resistance (HDT) of >95°C, with minimal shrinkage. 

In regards to mechanical properties, ePLA is superior to Tough PLA and regular PLA when it comes to Tensile (E) modulus (AKA Young’s modulus, or modulus of elasticity) –  i.e., how the material reacts under tension, with a value of 4000 MPa.

ePLA is suited to industrial 3D printing applications where a biobased material preferential and / or a 3D print is subjected to a level of stress / strain.

3D printing temperature: 230±10°C

Heated bed temperature: 50-60°C


Which PLA Filament is Best for 3D Printing?

As always, the answer to this question is dependent on various factors, including (but not limited to): 3D printer capability, the need for mechanical and / or  thermal properties, and the actual 3D printing application itself.

If you’re looking for an easy to print, low cost PLA for an application not requiring particularly notable mechanical nor thermal properties, Filamentive PLA is the ideal filament.

However, if your 3D printing application is conducive to impact resistance – e.g. the 3D print is a functional prototype or even an end-use part – PLA Tough is recommended.

If PLA is your preference but your 3D print will be subject to higher temperatures of ⩽100°CePLA (engineering PLA) has been specially formulated to offer high resistant (HDT), post-annealing. ePLA is also the best 3D printing filament for applications requiring stiffness.

If you’re looking for PLA filament for aesthetic applications, please note Filamentive offers:

PLA Matte Filament

PLA Cosmic – Glitter PLA Filament

Wood PLA Filament