PLA 3D printing plastic filament

What is PLA plastic material ? Get all information and advice to help you print your 3D model with filament fabrication, using FDM 3D printing technology. Affordable and reliable, start 3D printing using PLA filament.



Surface Look

PLA Filament Material Guide

What is PLA material?

PLA plastic or polylactic acid is a vegetable-based plastic material, which commonly uses cornstarch or sugarcane as a raw material. The monomer is usually made from fermented plant starch. This material is a thermoplastic aliphatic polyester and it is the primary natural raw material used in 3D printing. PLA is a fully biodegradable thermoplastic polymer consisting of renewable raw materials. Among all 3D printing materials, PLA is part of the most popular materials used for additive manufacturing for filament fabrication.

PLA is a bioplastic, used in 3D printing using the FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) technology, and along with ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), this material is one of the standard materials for this technology. There is often a tendency to compare these plastic materials, as they are the two most common alternatives available for consumer printers. PLA plastic material is easy-to-use and offer some interesting mechanical properties.

PLA material is printed using BigRep 3D printers and mainly used to manufacture big parts up to 1x1x1m.

Even if this PLA material offers the opportunity to 3D print impressive big parts, please keep in mind that you will have to respect specific design guidelines to avoid any problem during the additive manufacturing process. Be sure to check the material design guidelines while creating your 3D file and before you send it for 3D printing.

If you want to know more about the general properties of PLA filament, you can check our “Technical Specifications” part.

What is PLA plastic used for ?

PLA plastic filament quickly became a popular material due to it being economically produced from renewable resources. PLA plastic material comes in the form of wire on a spool, which is fed into the extruder head where the plastic is melted and deposited in a continuous extrusion on the printing tray. This material is translucent in its natural form, but spools of coloured filament can be used to make objects in different colors.

When cooling, this material shrinks less than ABS, which gives it good geometric stability during the manufacturing process.

PLA can be useful for your product development, as this material can be used for rapid prototyping.

Large-scale 3D printing is the main advantages of the PLA we are offering at Sculpteo, which can be a great benefit for a wide range of applications. This material offers you the possibility to print professional and industrial parts of 1m x 1m x 1m thanks to a large 3D printer! BigRep PLA material, has good strength and stiffness, making this 3D printing material filament is ideal for demanding industrial production. 3Dp BigRep PLA can perfectly be used to 3D print large objects for architecture or construction fields but also for marketing displays, exhibitions or signage.

This 3D printing filament is an affordable and versatile plastic. It can easily be used for prototypes, pattern making, tooling parts, or end-use parts. However, there are still some disadvantages such as photodegradation which is caused by UV radiation if PLA is exposed to sunlight.

We inform you that this material is not suited for applications requiring suitability with high humidity (more than 98%) or high temperatures (above 60°C). Make sure you check the physical mechanical properties of the PLA plastic 3D printing material before.

Pricing for PLA 3D printing filament

To get your PLA parts 3D printed, please contact directly our sales team to place your order. It is not possible to order your parts on the website. 

However, the price of the design is calculated on a series of factors, including its size, its volume, and the amount of material needed to manufacture your parts. 

Our sales team will keep you updated regarding the price and the shipping time of your parts.

How does FDM 3D printing technology work?

BigRep PLA parts are 3D printed using a traditional FDM 3D printing process. Even if BigRep printers are impressive and big machines, the FDM printing process stays the same. During the FDM 3D printing process, the filament is extruded through a nozzle which melts while being gradually deposited in a structured way on the build platform of the 3D printer until the object is finished. 

Colors and Finishings available for PLA plastic material

Your PLA plastic parts can take on a variety of colors with many color options available according to your project specifications. We are also offering Chemical Smoothing and painting options, please contact us to discuss your color and finishing options to your 3D printed PLA parts. 

      Maximum size

         1 x 1 x 1 m

      The maximum size of your models are limited by the physical size of our 3D printers – nothing can be printed larger than the printer bed.

      Filament Sizes:2.3, 4.5, and 8.0 kg
      Diameter:2.85 mm
      Density:1.24 g/cm³
      Flexural Modulus (ISO 178):3800 MPa
      Tensile Strength (ISO 527):60 MPa
      Impact Strength Notched:7.5 kJ/m²
      Heat Resistance HDT / B (ISO 75):40 °C
      Hardness (Shore):D 60

      What does PLA material stand for?

      PLA stands for Polylactic acid. It is a thermoplastic monomer derived from renewable, organic sources such as corn starch or sugar cane. 

        Is PLA plastic biodegradable?

        PLA is biodegradable under certain composting conditions. PLA is still a plastic material and requires a laundry list of conditions to effectively break down. 

        Is PLA actually plastic?

        PLA is a plastic material. PLA is made from a biomass resource, it is a vegetable-based plastic material, which commonly uses cornstarch as a raw material.

        Is ABS or PLA better for 3D printing?

        PLA is a perfect material if you need to 3D print parts where aesthetics is important. ABS is a good material for applications where strength, ductility, machinability and thermal stability are required.

        Ready to 3D print with PLA plastic material?

        With Sculpteo’s online 3D printing service you’re just a few clicks away from professional PLA 3D printing. Your 3D model is printed with the highest quality and delivered straight to your door. 

        Get started now to get your PLA prints!

        Discover our other plastic materials...