PLA is made from plants rich in starch like sugar beets, corn and wheat. It is both commercially 100% compostable and 100% biodegradable. Compostable means that it can be broken down into water, carbon dioxide and biomass, will not produce any toxic material and can support plant life. Biodegradable means that it can be broken down over time through a process involving microorganisms (fungi or bacteria). However, the process can create methane at a rate 62 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes.
Maximum build size: 28 L x 15 W x 15 H cm
11.0 L x 6.0 W x 6.0 H inches
Object bigger then the mentioned limits can be printed in parts and then glued together.
Models can be printed in three accuracy settings of 100/200/300 microns.
Commercial jobs are undertaken in the accuracy of 100 or 200 microns.
The standard file formats supported and preferred are .STL, .OBJ and .THING, other formats like STEP or Parasolid are also supported using conversion software. All standard CAD software can export the files in .STL or .STP (STEP) file formats.
Polylactic Acid or PLA is a biodegradable plastic , a plastic substitute made from fermented plant starch (usually corn) is quickly becoming a popular alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics. With lot of features that make it great for 3D printing — it doesn’t give off fumes like ABS does, or warp nearly as much. It’s also really shiny.
PLA is hard but slightly brittle, that doesn’t mean that it’s easily breakable – it is strong, just that when it does give, it’s more likely to snap than bend. And it also stays flexible for a short while as it cools, which can be handy. It also does not warp and crack of during making of larger objects.It comes in various attractive colours like red, green yellow, blue, brown, black and white.
A Density: 1.23 # 1.25 g/cm³
A Melting Point:173#178 °C
A Glass Transition Temperature:50#80 °C
A Tensile strength: 2360 to 10000psi
Material is available opaque and translucent colours. Available colours are red, green, blue, black, white, yellow, purple, gold, solver, grey and few other colours.
Objects are normally printed in single colour but by pausing the printer at different heights and changing the filament colour,one can get interesting multi-colour models.
Any feature which is less than 1.0 mm cannot be printed properly. We will recommend at least a width of 1.25-1.5 mm for thin wall components.
A cube of 3cm will take approximately 2 hours to print including the model preparation time. Depending upon the hollow spaces time can be less. Time will also depend on how many support structures are used for overhang features.
The models once printed can be also painted using acrylic paints.
Bigger size models can be printed in parts and later can be joined using Elfy/Fevikwik.
The models can withstand a fall to the floor, if dropped from a height of 6 – 10 feet.
The printing cost will depend upon the bounded box volume of the model or the time it takes to print a model. Please send us the model information for the exact estimate.
The printed models are left in a car/vehicle exposed to sun for a long time then the models can warp or twist spoiling the shape.
It is strongly recommended to keep the model indoors or under shade. For outdoor
application, it may survive in case there is proper ventilation.
Models can be printed in any well known CAD software like NX, Catia, Solid
Edge, Solidworks, Inventor, IronCAD, Pro/Engineer etc. Other simple to use software can be also used, some of them are
• 123D Design
• 3D Tin
Yes there are several sites which offer free or paid ready made models in .STL or .OBJ format which can be directly printed in 3D.Some of sites are as follows;
• My Mini Factory
One can also download 3D vector art to be printed in various colours or even painted in acrylic colours to beautify jewellery boxes, phone cases or items of personal use.
Some of such sites are as follows;
• Vectorart 3D
ABS is a petroleum based plastic and not safe to use for products which may come into contact with food.
• More brittle than ABS
• Shinier and smoother
• Can droop if it gets too hot, for example, if it is left in a hot car in the summer time
• Usually turns white along the high stress zone when it is bent, then breaks into lots of little pieces
• Even though it is made from plants, it may contain dyes and binders which are not food safe
• Smells sweet when it is being printed
• Strength is relatively equal to ABS
• Impact resistant and tough
• Petroleum based
• Prone to cracking if cooled too quickly
• Usually bends before it breaks
• Has a strong, toxic smell when it is being printed
• Strength is relatively equal to PLA