Tough PLA: Tips and Tricks

In this article, you will find information that will help you master Tough PLA


                                                                                

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BCN3D_Filaments_Tough_PLA_Tensabelt_fast_tooling_design

This article contains advanced information regarding Tough PLA. The default settings for our BCN3D Tough PLA have been tailored for good quality and reliable results, and are fully tested by our laboratory. These tips complement those settings to ensure the best quality in printing with Tough PLA.

 

Nevertheless, there are some things that you might consider if you want to succeed in every Tough PLA printing.

 

Tips: Take a look at the material compatibility list. You will find which materials you can combine in dual printings with Tough PLA:

Supported Material combinations

Get an even First Layer

The first layer is the most important part of your 3D printed part. It is the base that supports the rest of the printed part, and especially with Tough PLA, it's important that it comes out even to prevent accidents.

calibrate hotend

 

Make sure that your printing surface is well-calibrated before printing. This should be done once a week and after the printer is transported. These following articles will help you with this: 

Hotends calibration (Epsilon series)

Hotends calibration (Sigma Series)

Setup and calibration (BCN3D Sigmax)

Setup and calibration (BCN3D Sigma)

Make it stick well

To achieve the best results, we recommend you to set the printing surface temperature to 60-70ºC. This makes Tough PLA melt just a bit so it obtains a shiny and smooth look.

menu-temperatures

For the Epsilon, there's no need to heat up the bed, and it is preferable to have a bed temperature below 35ºC, and it will still have a good finish on its base. 

 

In order to ensure good adhesion, we recommend you to apply some kind of adhesive. You can use any of the typically used products for 3D printing but the one that we recommend is Magigoo, as it protects the glass from damaging and provides good adhesion. Furthermore, the prints are easy to remove from the printing surface once it's cold.

magigoo-1

It is of paramount importance to let the printing surface cool down before removing the print, in that way it prevents the Tough PLA from ripping off the glass. To remove properly the prints and avoid tearing the printing surface you can check our guide on this topic: How to safely remove prints

Extrusion pieces of advice

Tough PLA is a bit different from the other 3D printing materials. The biggest difference is that Tough PLA is really sensitive to high temperatures, therefore it is crucial to have a proper cooling while printing with it.

temperature

Having this into consideration we can say that little printing temperature changes (both in the hotend and the environmental temperature) cause a huge difference in the printing quality of Tough PLA. It is best to maintain an even room temperature of 20-25ºC and printing Tough PLA at its optimal temperature. In the Epsilon, it's best to have a low Bed Temperature to prevent the Build Chamber to heat up too much. 

 

With the BCN3D materials, you don't need to worry about finding the best printing temperature setting, as our Lab works hard to achieve the best configurations for our filaments. 

Underextrusion-png-1 overextrusion
How to fix underextrusion How to fix overextrusion (WIP)

 

If for some other reasons, you prefer to print with other Tough PLA brands, you will probably have some troubles. it's possible that you experience a range of issues. It is normal, every brand uses different additives that can change the printing properties of the filament. If you spot underextrusion or overheating issues, the best is to ask the manufacturer about the best settings for that particular filament.

 

Otherwise, you can make a new profile and find the optimal temperature by printing a Temperature Tower and changing the Printing Temperature in 5ºC steps during the print job. 

 

Maintenance considerations

Tough PLA is quite easy to print, but this doesn't mean you can skip its maintenance. There are some considerations to be taken in order to obtain the best results one print after the other:

 

1. Clean the hotend every time you change the material to prevent clogging.

clean hotend

2. Make sure your extruder motor gears are clean and free of plastic shavings to ensure the best grip and prevent filament grinding. 

 

3. Keep the surface of your printer flat, check it every once in a while by following these articles:

calibrate printing surface

Printing surface calibration (Epsilon Series)

Printing surface calibration (Sigma Series)

How to get flatness on the printing surface (BCN3D Sigmax)

How to get flatness on the printing surface (BCN3D Sigma)

 

4. Store the filament in a cool and dry environment. If possible, store it inside a zip bag and away from UV rays, it will improve the useful life drastically. A better option is the use the Smart Cabinet, compatible with Epsilon series models. Its filament humidity control raises the printer performance, maintaining in optimal conditions the material. Furthermore, it has an uninterruptible power supply system that protects your work against any situation, preventing the risk of losing it because of power outages. Smart Cabinet information 

BCN3D_Epsilon_Series_3D_Printer_smart_cabinet_humidity_controlled_environment_2_HD-1

If you want more filament storage information check out the following article: Filament storage

 

Community forum 

Need more tips? Check out our forum community for help.

 

It's important to keep your printer in good shape to make the most out of it. In this chart, you can find a list of the extruder maintenance procedures and how frequently these should be done. 

 

Maintenance plan (Epsilon Series)

Maintenance plan (Sigma Series)

Maintenance plan (BCN3D Sigmax)

Maintenance plan (BCN3D Sigma)

 

bcn3d-recycle  Take your e-waste to a certified recycler. Check how we do it in BCN3D.

 


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