The Benefits of PLA in 3D Printing

Understanding the Importance of PLA in 3D Printing

When it comes to 3D printing, one of the most important factors to consider is the type of material you use. In recent years, PLA (polylactic acid) has emerged as a popular choice among 3D printing enthusiasts. But why is this material so highly regarded? Let’s explore the benefits of PLA in 3D printing.

PLA is Environmentally Friendly

One of the key advantages of PLA is that it is made from natural and renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane. In contrast to other plastics that are derived from fossil fuels, PLA is biodegradable and can be broken down by microorganisms under the right conditions. This makes it a more sustainable option for those concerned about the environmental impact of 3D printing.

PLA is Easy to Print With

Another benefit of PLA is its ease of use. PLA has a lower melting point and a wider optimal printing temperature range than other materials such as ABS. This means that it is less likely to warp or deform during the printing process, and is less prone to clogging the printer nozzle. Additionally, PLA does not emit toxic fumes when heated, making it a safer option for home use.

PLA Produces High-Quality Prints

PLA is known for producing high-quality prints with a smooth surface finish and vibrant colors. Unlike other materials, PLA does not require a heated print bed, which makes it easier to work with and reduces the risk of warping. PLA is also compatible with a wide range of 3D printers, making it a versatile option for hobbyists and professionals alike.

PLA vs Other 3D Printing Materials

While PLA has many advantages, it is important to consider how it compares to other materials commonly used in 3D printing.

One key takeaway from this text is that PLA is a popular and environmentally friendly material for 3D printing. It is easy to use and produces high-quality prints but it is important to consider how it compares to other materials like ABS and PETG. When printing with PLA, it is important to use the correct settings, choose high-quality filament, and store it properly.


ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is another popular material used in 3D printing. While ABS is known for its durability and strength, it can be more difficult to print with than PLA. ABS has a higher melting point and requires a heated print bed, which can result in warping and curling during the printing process. Additionally, ABS emits toxic fumes when heated, which can be harmful if not used in a well-ventilated space.


PETG (glycol-modified PET) is a newer material that is gaining popularity in the 3D printing community. PETG is stronger and more flexible than PLA, but it can be more difficult to print with. PETG has a higher melting point than PLA and requires a heated print bed, which can make it more challenging to work with. Additionally, PETG is not biodegradable, which may be a concern for those focused on sustainability.

Tips for Printing with PLA

If you are new to 3D printing with PLA, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure a successful printing experience.

Use the Right Settings

When printing with PLA, it is important to use the correct settings for your printer. This includes setting the nozzle temperature to the optimal temperature range for PLA, typically between 190-220 degrees Celsius. Additionally, PLA does not require a heated print bed, but if you choose to use one, keep the temperature between 60-70 degrees Celsius.

Choose the Right Filament

Not all PLA filaments are created equal. When selecting a filament, look for high-quality options that are free from impurities. Additionally, consider the diameter of the filament, which should match the size of your printer’s nozzle.

Store Filament Properly

PLA can absorb moisture from the air, which can affect its printing quality. To prevent this, store your filament in an airtight container with a desiccant packet to absorb any moisture.

FAQs – Why is PLA good for 3D printing?

What is PLA?

PLA stands for Polylactic Acid, which is a biodegradable polymer made from renewable resources such as cornstarch, sugarcane, or tapioca roots. PLA is a thermoplastic material that can be melted and formed into various shapes and sizes using 3D printing technology.

What makes PLA suitable for 3D printing?

PLA is widely used in 3D printing because it has several desirable properties that make it an ideal material for creating high-quality, accurate printed objects. First, PLA has a low melting temperature, which means it can be melted and extruded easily without requiring an excessive amount of energy. Second, PLA has a smooth and glossy surface finish that makes it ideal for creating aesthetically pleasing objects. Finally, PLA is highly versatile, meaning it can be used in a wide variety of 3D printing applications, from creating jewelry and figurines to creating prototypes and parts for machines.

How does PLA compare to other 3D printing materials?

When compared with other popular 3D printing materials such as ABS, PETG, and Nylon, PLA is considered to be one of the easiest materials to work with and the best option for beginners. PLA has lower toxicity, thus, it is safe to use at home, while others emit toxic fumes while printing. Moreover, PLA has excellent dimensional stability, meaning that printed parts will retain their shape over time and are less likely to warp or deform. However, PLA is not as strong as some other materials and may become brittle over time, which may limit its use in certain applications.

Are there any drawbacks to using PLA for 3D printing?

One drawback of PLA is that it has a relatively low melting point, which means it may not be suitable for use in high-temperature applications. Additionally, PLA is not as strong or durable as some other materials, which may limit its use in certain applications that require high-strength or impact-resistant parts. Finally, PLA is a biodegradable material, which means it may not be ideal for use in applications where longevity is important. Nevertheless, PLA remains a popular and versatile material for 3D printing, especially for those new to the technology.