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How do I give 3D-printed parts in PLA a shiny smooth finish?

PLA parts can be finished with a coat of epoxy like XTC-3D from Smooth-On. This will smooth out the part and give it a pretty nice shine. I've also had a fair amount of success sanding prints, giving ...
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33 votes
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What glues for bonding printed PLA to injection-molded plastic?

PLA is a nice one, and gluing has been a topic on some of our most favorite maker's channels. For example Stefan from CNC kitchen (this video) and Joel the 3DPrinting Nerd (this video). Also, in 2022, ...
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29 votes
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How to recycle filament material from printed parts?

There are a few options. Machines are available which grind the used plastic into fine pieces, melt it down, and extrude it as filament to be reused. Filabot is perhaps the most well known. Depending ...
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29 votes

How do I give 3D-printed parts in PLA a shiny smooth finish?

Acetone vaporing is a great way to smooth ABS prints. For PLA, however, acetone smoothing does not work. An article about smoothing PLA says: This is a pity, since PLA is much easier to work with ...
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28 votes
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How is PLA different from ABS material?

Paraphrasing this site. Feel free to add suggestions in the form of comments and I will try to incorporate them. Summary ABS: Stronger, machinable, more flexible, and more temperature resistant than ...
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  • 1,503
24 votes
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Can aged PLA be refurbished?

The easiest way to freshen up filament is hot air, although there are other options. There is an optimal melt processing moisture level for every plastic, typically in the range of 0.1-0.2% water ...
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22 votes
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Why keep the bed heated after initial layer(s) with PLA (or PETG)?

There are three reasons (I can think of): A large problem you'd face with allowing the bed to cool after first layer is you stand the chance of losing adhesion after it cools. When you heat the bed, ...
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18 votes
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Can I mix ABS and PLA when recycling filament?

This is not a good idea. Both filaments have different melting points, that of ABS being much higher than that of PLA. To melt the ABS you have to heat the plastic to the point where the PLA starts to ...
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18 votes
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Is PLA filament conductive?

Normal PLA is non-conductive. You can take an $\Omega$-meter to a test part if you're really concerned somehow you have some PLA that is conductive. There is a caveat that your color may include metal ...
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17 votes
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Can you put PLA parts in your car (in the sun)?

No, PLA cannot be used in cars standing in the sun. Temperatures can locally get over 50 °C (122 °F). I have printed sun visor hinge pins from PLA for a car (not exposed to direct sunlight either), ...
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16 votes
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What are the reasons for my 3D prints having large numbers of strings between parts of a layer?

Stringing is often a result of too-high a temperature, or insufficient retraction. When there is highly liquid filament in the nozzle tip, it can adhere to the remainder of the print while dripping as ...
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16 votes
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What to do with failed/unwanted 3D prints?

The "obvious" answer is re-grinding the prints and making more filament. Unfortunately, this isn't yet a very economical or simple operation. A decent filament extruder capable of holding acceptable ...
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  • 6,446
16 votes

Serious safety concerns with living in same room as PLA 3D Printer?

You are probably pretty safe printing PLA Regarding emissions, the following recent report, Emissions of Ultrafine Particles and Volatile Organic Compounds from Commercially Available Desktop Three-...
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15 votes
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Does filament have to be stored in an airtight environment?

It makes a difference where I live, and I'm not in a particularly humid climate (California). When printing with wet filament, you'll sometimes hear it popping and see steam coming out of the ...
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  • 668
15 votes
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Does the layer thickness have any effect of the strength of the 3D printed object?

3D Matter has published an excellent article on the subject. They find that thicker layers result in a stronger part, with 0.3mm layers giving a part that is around 24% stronger than the same part ...
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14 votes

How to remove white marks from PLA

A quick blast from a heat gun will very slightly reflow the surface texture and eliminate white marks. However, it's important to avoid over-heating the perimeter layers or you'll see them soften ...
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  • 6,446
13 votes

PLA use outdoors?

I printed a handle for a rather big rolling door in natural PLA (From Fabberparts) - no UV protection. It's on the weather side of the house and is exposed to direct sun half the day. And after three ...
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  • 131
13 votes

Is PLA filament conductive?

PLA itself falls in the category of non-conductors, with a resistivity ($\rho=R\frac A l=\frac 1 \sigma$) in the order of $10^{16}\ \Omega \text m$ (see here), similar to other plastics. Following ...
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12 votes
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What is PLA+? How is it different from PLA?

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any linked brand or company, I just link to them for reference of the suggested print settings. What is PLA? PLA is, by its definition PolyLacticAcid, a polymer of ...
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12 votes
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Serious safety concerns with living in same room as PLA 3D Printer?

Fire is the most obvious risk - firmware can now detect some of the more obvious failure modes such as a detached thermistor, but loose or failing connections can still overheat. A smoke alarm is a ...
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11 votes
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Troubleshooting poor adhesion at the edge of the bed

There are several things you could try without spending much but even PLA will warp on an unheated bed. I had a Legacy Kossel that I switched to an acrylic bed and had many issues with warping and ...
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11 votes
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Why doesn't PLA stick to heated bed?

I think you may have used the wrong substance to clean your bed. Try using Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA). You may have left some residue behind from the soap, which is now interfering with adhesion. When ...
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11 votes
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Is there a way to save a multi part print if one fails?

If you use the OctoPrint print manager, you can exclude regions to be printed using the Exclude Region plugin. The description states that it can be used to rescue partially-failed prints: The intent ...
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10 votes

How do I give 3D-printed parts in PLA a shiny smooth finish?

It takes quite an effort to make PLA shiny, and it's not as simple as ABS and acetone. You have to sand down the print with sandpaper with different grit sizes (start with grit P100, then P240, P400, ...
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  • 1,911
10 votes
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Why does my PLA filament form a spiral shape and clog my extruder?

The shape you get is quite easy to explain. It's the shape of the lowest energy possible in your situation. Simple but it doesn't explain the issue... or does it? It does. The filament cannot be put ...
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  • 3,438
10 votes

Could nail polish damage pure PLA?

This is an ugly question, and an ugly answer. Nail polish doesn't come with an ingredient list. Nor are there MSDS's available to refer to what solvents are in it. So it's "unknown 1" Most every ...
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10 votes
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Heatercartridge bolt stuck

Don't Panic! First of all, a printhead caked in PLA is usually not a death sentence, it is often a temporary setback. Let's start in steps! Step 1: remove the extruder We want to work on the hotend, ...
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9 votes

What are the reasons for my 3D prints having large numbers of strings between parts of a layer?

Here's just a few of the things you might want to look into. plastic - some plastic types are more stringy than others and there's also variation between brands and colors. moisture in filament - ...
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  • 668
9 votes

What to do with failed/unwanted 3D prints?

It will be very difficult to find a recycling facility that will accept your 3D prints, because they're mainly set up to handle packaging material (which constitutes the vast majority of plastic waste)...
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9 votes

Getting PLA to stick to a cold bed

Most of the same reccomendations that apply for adhesion to a hot bed apply for a cold one. The first ones to come to mind: really dial in the nozzle height make the first layer taller than the rest ...
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