Sunday, May 13, 2007


PLA Filament works

Back at the start of the year, plastics suppliers Claraint were kind enough to donate 10kg of polylactic acid (PLA) granules to the RepRap Project. Alan from Imagin Plastics - a welding rod and extrusion specialist in Henderson, New Zealand - then ran these granules through an extruder to produce 800m of 3mm diameter filament which I picked up on Friday. It was dried overnight at 60C and then extruded using a 180C die and 170C feed. Here's there wondrous extrusion machine:

And here's the batch of filament I picked up. It's actually quite transparent.

By running an unmodified Mk2 extruder at 155C and increasing the pressure on the filament - it's much harder than CAPA - I managed to run it well enough to produce this shotglass:

This material definitiely has some artistic possibilities.

Further experimentation is needed, but it does look like it will be possible to make watertight containers with a reasonable degree of strength from PLA in a Darwin. A straight-through extruder would probably have an easier time feeding filament, as the stuff is rather stiff.

Vik :v)

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Fantastic! That's really good transparency.
yeah, very nice! was it watertight?
That one wasn't watertight - it had a hole or two in the bottom. The next one I printed was.

Vik :v)
Heck with the water, was it whiskytight?
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