There’s a lot to like about 3D Printing in PLA plastic: it’s recyclable, made from totally organic material, prints with a very elegant sheen, it doesn’t warp when printing, sticks well to properly prepared print beds and even has a fantastic sweet aroma too. And did we mention it doesn’t warp? It doesn’t warp!!
But there’s one problem with PLA. It’s very brittle and snaps easily. (Tip to readers: never print out the Chip Clip in PLA because your “friends” will quickly crack it into pieces. You Know Who You Are. Hrmph.)
Normally, you must judge what kind of material is best for your object. If it requires a bit of bending or must absorb some stress, ABS is best. Until now.
RepRap contributor Vik Olliver writes that he’s discovered some special impact modifiers that can be added to the PLA mix to make it bendable! Vik says he has more testing to perfect the mix and determine the right temperatures and printing techniques, although you can see in the image that he’s well underway with some rather unconventional shatter testing procedures.
One day, we might see PLAFlex available in the shops.