Friday, December 2, 2011

PLA problems

A few weeks back, I bought two 5 pound spools of PLA from a supplier I hadn’t used before.  It looked OK on arrival though the translucent green stuff looked a little funny; like it had been kinked in places.  I transferred it to my standard spools and put it in storage.  A few days ago I took it out to use it and found that it was so brittle I couldn’t use it.  In fact it had snapped on the spool in multiple places.
The supplier provided a good resolution though.
This is a photo of the clear stuff now.  I did nothing to it other than wind it on a spool and let it sit for a few weeks, it just snapped into many little pieces in the center.  Clearly it does not like to be bent at any kind of an angle.
The green stuff is brittle in a different way.  It’s so bad that you can’t print with it; it snaps inside the extruder.
When I contacted the supplier, he came back quickly with an apology, and offered to either refund, replace with PLA, or replace with ABS instead.
I didn’t trust his replacement PLA to be any better, but I do have a use for ABS so I went for that option.  Kudos to him for being quick to do the right thing.  I will report back on whether his ABS is good
Also he is including a sample of a new PLA formulation which he says has an additive to make it less brittle.  I hope it works, because we need more good plastic suppliers in the US.  This guy has the honesty, if he gets his product problems sorted out I’ll be happy to work with him more.
FYI the supplier here is – and though I must recommend against buying this specific plastic, he’s trying to do the right thing and I think it’s possible his ABS and newer PLA will be OK.

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