First Impressions from Proto Pasta’s Carbon Fiber PLA

30 Nov


A while ago we have ordered and received our Proto Pasta sample pack that included Carbon Fiber PLA. We’ve started playing with this interesting filament that is essentially PLA filament with small pieces of carbon fiber that can be used for 3D printing and we can share our experience and initial impressions for it. Proto Pasta, the manufacturer of this exotic filament is promising that the prints made with their Carbon Fiber PLA are more rigid, providing excellent structural strength and layer adhesion with very low warpage and they are right on the spot with that. The Proto-pasta Carbon Fiber PLA is made from NatureWorks 4043D PLA Resin compounded with 15% (by weight) chopped Carbon Fibers and the material is supposed to print just like you would print with normal PLA filament. This filament is offering increased rigidity, not strength, thanks to the carbon fiber or with other words you can expect structural support, but decreased flexibility compared to standard PLA filament. The recommended temperature of the printing nozzle from Proto-pasta that is written on the package we’ve received is between 190 and 230 degrees and no heated bed is required for printing the material, so pretty much any standard PLA-capable printed should be just fine,


On the image above you can see a test 3D print from standard black PLA filament on the left and then two test prints from the Carbon Fiber PLA material to the right, one printed at 230 and one at 250 degrees C. The standard PLA print is with a glossy and smooth surface, the Carbon Fiber PLA prints are with a bit rougher matte surface and are more lighter black than standard black PLA. We have started our testing at 190 degrees C, but we’ve had trouble with the filament sticking to the build plate properly, so we continued increasing the temperature and all the way to 210 degrees we had problems with the layers sticking (with properly leveled build plate). Going for 220 degrees Celsius all the way up to 250 has managed to produce good prints on our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer with prints at 230 degrees Celsius being the most problem free and with the best quality. We had no trouble with warping as expected and the adhesion was good, but you may need a bit higher temperature of the extruder to avoid problems with the material sticking to the build plate. Our initial impressions from the material are pretty good, now we need to print some parts for RC models to stress test the filament as apparently a lot of people are using the Carbon Fiber PLA material for remote controlled models.

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3 Responses to First Impressions from Proto Pasta’s Carbon Fiber PLA

J Greg Aguinaga

October 21st, 2015 at 20:38

I would like to see a side by side comparison chart of strength tests (ie shear, impact force, hot and cold temperature extremes, etc.) of finished 5cm” diameter by 60cm’ long bars made by a high quality 3D printer using various carbon fiber filament types. The results would be indispensable to design and application concepts of inventors like myself.


February 21st, 2016 at 12:57

I have been using this material to print wheels for toy cars. It has been a solution for me because it prints perfectly with no need of sending or any post process and also I can note an improve of the strength of the part.


November 15th, 2016 at 19:21

Agree with Greg. The implied use here is load bearing prints. Where is the basic stress/strain curves, tensile and bending load testing etc. ?

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