Posts Tagged ‘PLA filament


The Polymakr PolyMax PLA 3D printing filament is an interesting alternative to standard PLA filaments that offers some features that are similar to ABS while remaining as easy to print with as traditional PLA. The most significant advantage that the PolyMax PLA 3D printing filament has according to the makers of the filament is that it has mechanical properties similar to ABS – high toughness and strength with the impact strength of parts printed using PolyMax PLA is supposed to be 8-9 times that of regular PLA-printed parts and 20% higher than ABS-printed parts. So if you are not able to use ABS on your 3D printer, but need to print parts that will be similar in strength to ABS you might want to try put PolyMax PLA. This PLA filament does not require a heated build platform, but can work with one as well, it is designed to be printed with setting similar as of normal PLA filament. The recommended printing temperature range is 190-230 degrees Celsius and printing speed of 60-90 mm/s, or at least these are the numbers written on the short 15m PolyMax PLA filament sample. The official website does have a slightly larger range than these, but we tested using the numbers printed on the label of the filament we’ve got as a part of our order.


We have tested the Polymakr PolyMax PLA filament on our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer using 90 mm/s extrusion speed and printing temperature of 190, 200, 210, 220 and 230 degrees Celsius to see the difference in the resulting print quality. We had no trouble having the PolyMax PLA 3D filament sticking to the build plate covered with 3M ScotchBlue painters tape, we have not observed any warping of the printed parts and the print quality was very good. You can see from the sample prints that lower temperatures around 200 degrees Celsius we are getting smoother prints and as we increase the temperature up to 230 the print surface gets a rougher look, though the print quality remains good and there are no problems with layer adhesion at higher or lower temperatures. If using a heated build platform lower printing temperatures are recommended, but since we do not have a device with heated build plate we cannot test that. Our overall experience with the Polymakr PolyMax PLA 3D printing filament is very good and it really offers better mechanical properties than standard PLA. It is easy to work with and the resulting quality is good, so it might be a really good alternative in some cases to ABS. Do note however that the thermal stability of the PolyMax PLA filament is similar to that of normal PLA, although it is probably slightly higher, but not close to what ABS offers, so not a complete replacement of ABS if you are going to be exposing the PolyMax PLA printed parts to higher temperatures of about 60-70 degrees Celsius or more.


There are two main types of 3D printer filament that are widely spread and used by Fused deposition modeling (FDM) based 3D printers such as the MakerBot Replicator series for example – these are ABS and PLA, though there are various other alternatives also available. Both ABS and PLA are thermoplastic materials that start to melt when they are heated up, so that they can be used to form another object and solidify when they cool down.

ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a common thermoplastic often used in 3D printing, but it also has many more applications. 3D printing using ABS has some additional requirements from the printer such as a heated bed, so not all devices are capable of supporting ABS printing. The objects printed from ABS are generally harder and more durable, can be used with higher temperature before starting to soften (about 100 degrees Celsius or more), but are also harder to print and generally provide less detail to the printed parts. If printing with ABS you must be careful and have good ventilation as the fumes produced when ABS is melted for printing are not totally safe.

PLA (Polylactide) is a biodegradable thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch for example. PLA is probably the most widely used material for 3D printing as it is easy to handle and offers very good detail level. The only drawback that it has is the relatively low temperature that the material starts to soften – above about 65 degrees Celsius. It does not require the printer to have a heated bed like ABS for example, so it is more 3D printer friendly, especially to the lower cost models.

In general both ABS and PLA have their advantages and disadvantages compared to each other, so you should choose the material based on what you are planning to be using the 3D printed parts for. If you need to print in ABS you should be careful when choosing a 3D printer supporting ABS prints as not all do and it such cases it is better to go for a model that has support for both ABS and PLA. If you are new to 3D printing and are getting your first 3D printer to play with it at home, then it is better to go for a model supporting PLA as you probably will not need ABS printing capabilities. Both ABS and PLA filaments come in the form of thin round lines with specific diameter (1.75mm or 3mm are the most common) that are wrapped around a spool. The 3D printer filament is being sold in spools with the material calculated and priced based on its weight and not length of the line for example, there are already many available colors for both materials that you can find available from various manufacturers.

There are of course many other materials that can be used for 3D printing, though they are mostly experimental and you should be prepared to have some issues and tinker with your 3D printer’s settings should you decide to try them out. There are multiple alternatives for a flexible rubber type of filament available for 3D printers that will allow you to print rubber like flexible models on your device. You can also find filaments that contain carbon, wood and even small stone particles that when printed will create an effect making it like if the 3D printed object is made from carbon, wood or stone or at least looking a lot like that. There are also other kinds of interesting 3D filaments available, but again most of these are experimental and using them can cause some problems on your 3D printer such as jamming of the print head etc., so be careful when you decide to try these out.