printing soft PLA


A few months ago I read about a sort of PLA in the reprap forum which is more soft and less rigid.
Still PLA but polymerized in a different way and though with different physical characteristics.

Then last Friday I opened a package containing this soft PLA. And the PLA is like rubber - better than expected.
Not as elastic as rubber but comparable to any other soft plastic.
Some printing tests quickly showed: This is not like the PLA I'm used to print. You need a higher printing temperature,
you have to print much slower and it is more sticky to the NOPI tape.

After tweaking my mendel the first real usable object appeared:

And it's elasticity is incredible. You can't do things like this with rigid PLA or with ABS:

The problem was, that it glued like a chewing gum to the NOPI tape so you can't get it off without destroying the printed object.

In case of a mendel spring it is no problem, but of course I had to change to a different tape.
After testing kapton tape, textile tape, normal sticky tape and canvas film I - fortunately - forgot to change to a different tape before starting the print
and printed directly onto the glass printbed. I recognized the lack of tape but didn't abort the print - and this was the best idea :-)

Printed on glass - without headbed! - it sticks perfectly and is easy to remove.

After testing a few times how fast you can print this soft PLA I found out that there is a upper limitation of about 19 mm/s - independent of the flow rate.
Every print above this speed breaks if you squeeze it.
A good printing temperature is around 210 °C although the distributor reported a melting temperature of 270 °C.

All in all this mendel spring is an improvement to the ones printed with ABS and I'm looking forward to other things made of this soft PLA.

Greetings from the lake of constance


P.S.: You can buy a roll of this PLA at our shop: