The TechnologyOutlet Filatank will keep your filament truly dust free and away from moisture, simply pop your filament in the tub along with the desiccant that came with your filament, press down on the lid to push out all the air and let go, the one way valve will let air out but not in, so it maintains a vacuum inside the container!
It’s frustrating how your attempt to print a 3D prototype results in having the PLA filaments breaking off at the slightest touch. PLA filaments are commonly used in 3D printing, but its tendency to go brittle has frustrated many hobbyists and professionals alike.
A roll of brittle PLA filament not only results in broken pieces but also reduces texture strength and causes uneven extrusion during the printing process.
Various theories have been suggested on why the PLA filament keeps breaking apart during print. Users also seek ways to overcome the brittleness of the filament. Before we explore the available options, let’s dig deeper into the potential causes of such incidences.
WHY PLA FILAMENTS GET BRITTLE?
Often, the complaints of PLA filaments getting brittle arise when they are left idle for a few months. But there are also instances when a spool of PLA broke easily after being used for just a few weeks. The obvious sign of such brittleness is the PLA filament breaking into pieces with the slightest contact.
Both experts and regular users couldn’t agree on the causes of the brittleness with each holding on to their respective arguments. However, chances are, there is more than one contributing cause that makes the PLA filament brittle.
For a start, PLA, which stands for poly-lactic acid, is known to be relatively brittle in nature. This means that it is inherently brittle to a certain extent, particularly when compared to materials like ABS. PLA is also known to degenerate rather rapidly, which explains why it eventually snaps off with during printing.
The degeneration process of PLA filaments could take months, but there are conditions that could further aggravate the flexibility of the material. A commonly circulated theory is the moisture adsorption by the filament. When placed in a humid environment, the filament absorbs moisture from the air and alter its physical properties.
Usually, it is the outer part of the reel that starts getting brittle, as they are highly exposed to the moisture. To make things worse, the attempt to straighten a rolled filament applies mechanical stress beyond the tolerance of its altered flexibility. This explains why the filament keeps breaking off when you tried printing with it.
In some cases, color additives that are added into the filament may change its mechanical properties. For example, you may have black filament snapping off easily while transparent PLA works fine in the same environment. Occasionally, it could be the quality of the filament itself that is the culprit.
PREVENTION MEASURES IN HANDLING PLA FILAMENTS
When dealing with brittle PLA filaments, prevention is always better than cure. If you’re having regular issues with PLA filaments snapping into pieces, you’ll want to stop leaving the filament on the 3D printer after usage.
Instead, ensure that the filament is retracted into the reel after printing and store in a sealed pouch or container. If possible, place desiccant in the storage to ensure that excessive moisture is removed. This prevents moisture adsorption from weakening the structure of the filament.
Besides that, you could also cover the reel of PLA filament that you’re currently using with a plastic bag and puncturing a hole for the filament to be fed to the 3D printer. This method minimizes the chance of moisture being absorbed into the PLA material.
As mentioned, the physical properties of PLA are easily altered by temperature, moisture, and additives. You’ll want to be diligent when ordering supplies of PLA filaments because improper handling may result in brittleness of the material. Try bending a new roll of PLA filament to ensure that it’s in proper condition.
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