What is PLA filament?

If you're delving into the world of 3D printing, you've likely come across the term "PLA filament." But what exactly is PLA, and why is it so popular among 3D printing enthusiasts? In this blog post, we'll explore everything you need to know about PLA filament, from its composition and benefits to its applications and tips for optimal use.

What is PLA filament and what is it made from?

PLA stands for Polylactic Acid, it is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane. It is one of the most commonly used materials in 3D printing due to its ease of use, low environmental impact, and excellent print quality.

Benefits of PLA Filament

  1. Eco-Friendly: PLA is biodegradable and made from renewable resources, making it an environmentally friendly choice for 3D printing.

  2. Ease of Use: PLA filament is known for its low melting temperature and minimal warping, making it ideal for beginners and hobbyists.

  3. High Print Quality: PLA provides smooth and detailed prints, with a wide range of colors and finishes available.

  4. Versatility: PLA can be used for a variety of applications, from prototyping and educational projects to decorative items and functional parts.

How is PLA Filament Made?

PLA is produced through a process called polymerization, where lactic acid is converted into long-chain molecules. These molecules are then extruded into thin strands, forming the filament used in 3D printers. The production process involves several steps:

  1. Fermentation: Natural sugars from crops like corn are fermented to produce lactic acid.

  2. Polymerization: Lactic acid molecules are linked together to form polylactic acid.

  3. Extrusion: The polylactic acid is melted and extruded into thin strands, which are then cooled and wound onto spools.

Applications of PLA Filament

PLA filament is incredibly versatile and can be used for a wide range of applications, including:

  1. Prototyping: PLA is ideal for creating prototypes due to its ease of use and quick printing capabilities.

  2. Educational Projects: Schools and educational institutions often use PLA for teaching purposes because it is safe and easy to handle.

  3. Decorative Items: PLA's smooth finish and vibrant colors make it perfect for creating decorative pieces and art projects.

  4. Functional Parts: While PLA is not as strong as some other filaments, it can still be used for creating functional parts that don't require high mechanical strength.

Tips for Using PLA Filament

To get the best results from your PLA filament, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Optimal Printing Temperature: PLA typically prints best at temperatures between 180°C and 220°C. Check your filament's specifications for the recommended temperature range.

  2. Bed Adhesion: Use a heated bed set to around 60°C to improve adhesion and reduce warping. You can also use adhesives like glue sticks or painter's tape for better results.

  3. Storage: Store your PLA filament in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture absorption, which can affect print quality.

  4. Cooling: PLA benefits from active cooling during printing. Make sure your printer's cooling fans are functioning properly to achieve smooth and detailed prints.


PLA filament is a fantastic material for 3D printing, offering a balance of ease of use, print quality, and environmental benefits. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned printer, PLA provides a reliable and versatile option for your projects. With brands like Sunlu and Polymaker, you can find high-quality PLA filament that meets your specific needs. Explore the possibilities of PLA and take your 3D printing to the next level.

Feel free to visit our store to browse our selection of PLA filaments and find the perfect match for your 3D printer projects. Happy printing!

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