Sunday, September 27, 2009


PLA vs ABS - warping

Warping was a major issue for me when I was building larger objects out of ABS plastic. The lack of warping with PLA is quite striking; I thought I'd post a comparison photo here for the rest of you to enjoy. The x carriage on the left was made with ABS, and the x carriage on the right is PLA, as well as the idler bracket in front. That ABS x carriage isn't the best part I made out of ABS, but it isn't the worst either; most of my larger parts exhibited worse warping than that.

WoW the diffrence is quite significant seeing them side by side thanks.
I will need to find a source of PLA in the UK for sure now.
Looks great! PLA seems like such an ideal material: strong, warp-resistant, and eco-friendly!
It is indeed ideal in many respects but it does have the downside that it goes soft at 60-70C, so you can't use it for anything that gets hot.
Temperature issues aside, PLA looks to be almost perfect. You said in the comments of your last post that you were suing the PLA from Zach but were trying out some that Vik sent you. Did you find that both worked fine.
Yes, the one issue is heat - motor mounts could melt if you run your steppers very hot. If I have that problem, I'll re-print the motor mounts in ABS. So far though, I'm quite happy with the results.

It's actually an advantage for a lot of RepRap parts though - the bearing inserts for instance; instead of doing a lot of filing and carving to get them to fit just right, I dunk them in some hot water from the kettle, and mold them to fit. Handy!

I've almost finished the batch of PLA from Zach, so soon I'll start on Vik's batch. Interestingly, the Ingeo datasheet for 4042D PLA (Vik's stuff) lists a glass transition temp of 135 C, while Natureworks lists it at 52 to 58 deg C. Must be a typo (C vs F), as Vik mentioned having to keep his steppers cool.

I've mentioned this before, but the lack of off-gassing is a huge benefit for me as well.
Yes I got mine from Vik and it is definitely not 135C. 58C explains why I need a fan on my extruder heatsink to stop it jamming.
The low glass transition is the reason why it doesn't warp much of course, so we can't have it both ways.
I am currently looking for a local PLA supplier in France. They've asked me "Which characteristics do you search for the PLA?". What should I answer as it seems to have different materials? Which document should I provide ?
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