Oct. 8, 2014 | By Alec

PLA is by far the most commonly used 3D printing filament. Especially in comparison to the other often used material ABS, PLA has many advantages. Not only is it available in a wide range of colors and translucencies, but also its plant-based origins and high printing speeds, lower layer heights and sharper results add to its popularity. And last but not least, it hardly warps, making it a wonderful filament for just about any project.

You could be thinking, 'why change a winning formula?', but that is exactly what studio Design for Craft has been working on. Founded in 2013, this Italian group of designers specialize in offering 3D modelling, prototyping and printing services, but have recently also stepped out onto the filament market.

And they have decided to improve upon PLA exactly because it is so widely used and displays such excellent properties: 'For this reason we believe it is important to provide it with better performance, without sacrificing the quality of its printing at all'. To improve it, they have sought to tackle of the largest drawbacks that FDM printing provides: while offering a wide range of creative possibilities, objects printed with this technology are through their printed nature somewhat fragile and can break under stress or warp under certain temperatures.

And this is where PLA HS (High Strength) comes in, which they developed in collaboration with Italian company KeyTech. To combat its fragility, the guys from Design for Craft have worked to strengthen PLA filament by mixing it with a collection of mineral powders. As they explain, objects made from PLA HS are far more durable than their regular PLA counterparts, and can withstand a lot more stress and wear & tear.

This new Stick Filament, composed of PLA and mineral fillers, allows to have a considerable resistance to thermal stress and superior resistance to bending and torsion. Our PLA HS has the same ease of printing of PLA standard, commonly available on the market but with many plusses!

Thus, alongside its ability to resist stress and heavy usage, It has a resistance to high temperatures and is less hygroscopic. 'This translates into a greater durability of the molded parts and greater reliability and stability of the filaments regards of the environmental agents.'

Furthermore, it makes printing somewhat easier, because its less sensitive to warping and it doesn't require the hot bed. According to their blog post, 'the only difference with standard PLA is the melt temperature, between 200°C and 210°C.'

They even shared two tests with us, displaying the PLA HS's durability. In the first test, which aims to illustrate the material's heat resistance, they successfully washed a PLA HS knife in the washing machine. While its regular PLA counterpart couldn't withstand the 90°C environment, their HS knife did just fine.

In the second test, displaying the material's superior thermal and mechanical resistance, they used it to create a 3D printed, working injection mould that can actually be used. Injecting it with thermoplastics polymer, the mould did just fine.

All this definitely makes the PLA HS seem very impressive and durable. Perhaps it can be used for that one special project you've been postponing?

Posted in 3D Printing Materials

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Stefan wrote at 10/9/2014 11:27:34 AM:

The sell it in "sticks"? What? Also the page mentions ABS in addition to PLA HS. A bit confusing it is.

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