Comparing PLA Filament with Other Materials
3D printing is such a revolutionary technology today that it can be used in different ways for different purposes. Games, prosthetics, you name it. Despite the huge variety of uses and applications of 3D printing, one thing remains the same – you need a filament for your 3D printer. This brings us to one of the hottest topics of discussion in the 3D printing world, PLA vs. ABS.
When it comes to filaments for 3D printing, PLA and ABS are the most appropriate filaments. It’s not a big debate. However, one can argue about which is more suitable for printing. To answer that question, we need to look at what they are, the difference between PLA and ABS, and their features, properties, prices, and their applications. That’s exactly what we’ll be doing below.
In this article, we will make different comparisons between filaments existing on the market. When comparing PLA filament with other materials we should take into consideration several factors to determine the most suitable option for a particular application you need. PLA filament or thread (polylactic acid) is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane. It became big most popular and gained popularity in various industries due to its environmentally friendly nature and ease of use in 3D printing. However, it is important to assess its properties in relation to other materials to make an informed decision.
Firstly, PLA filament exhibits very good printability. It has a relatively low melting temperature, which makes it compatible with a wide range of 3D printers on the market. PLA can be easily extruded and produces minimal warping or shrinking during the printing process. It also has a pleasant, slightly sweet odor compared to some other materials.
If we will take into consideration strength and durability, PLA is generally considered to be less robust than materials like ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or nylon. PLA may be more prone to breakage under stress or impact. However, recent advancements have led to the development of reinforced PLA filaments, such as PLA composites with carbon fiber or glass fiber, which enhance mechanical properties and increase strength.
Another important aspect to consider is the heat resistance of PLA filament. While PLA can withstand moderate temperatures, it has a lower heat tolerance compared to materials like ABS or polycarbonate. PLA filament may deform or soften at higher temperatures, which limits its suitability for applications requiring exposure to heat or elevated temperatures.
Also, PLA is known for its biodegradability and environmentally friendly features. Because of its composition, it naturally decomposes in the environment, making it an eco-friendly choice for certain applications. However, this biodegradability can also be a drawback in certain scenarios where long-term stability and resistance to environmental factors are crucial.
If we will compare PLA with other materials on the market, it is very important to evaluate the specific requirements of the intended application. For example, if strength and impact resistance are critical, ABS or nylon may be more suitable options. If biodegradability and ease of printing are prioritized, PLA is a favorable choice. Other factors to consider include post-processing requirements, surface finish, chemical resistance, and cost.
Our conclusion is that comparing PLA filament with other materials involves considering various factors such as printability, strength, heat resistance, biodegradability, and application-specific requirements. While PLA offers advantages in terms of environmental sustainability and ease of use, it may have limitations in terms of strength and heat resistance. By carefully assessing the properties and needs of the intended application, one can make an informed decision and select the most suitable material for their 3D printing project.
PLA vs. ABS Filament
What are PLA and ABS?
Before we get into the actual PLA and ABS filaments, it makes sense to consider what the 3D filaments themselves are. A 3D printer filament is a thermoplastic raw material used for 3D printers.
What is PLA thread?
What is PLA thread? PLA is an acronym for polylactic acid. It is a type of thermoplastic made from vegetable starch by fermenting sugars derived from corn, cassava, or sugar cane. The fermentation process converts the sugars into lactic acid, which is then processed into polylactic acid.
What is ABS thread?
ABS filament is an acronym for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. ABS is one of the first plastics to be used for FDM 3D printing, and it is a long filament wound on a spool.
It is commonly used in rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing environments to test products for their stability and durability. ABS is known for its resistance to breakage when dropped or bumped, and it is most identifiable with Lego bricks. Like PLA, it is also a thermoplastic filament. However, unlike PLA, it is not as easy to use, especially for beginners.
PLA vs. ABS: Properties
The difference between PLA and ABS comes down to the properties of each. The table below provides a brief overview of these properties and a comparison of the two filaments.