PLA is the most commonly used filament. It’s a very strong, easy to print and biodegradable material. The perfect choice for printing large objects thanks to its low thermal expansion (with little to no warping) and for printing tiny parts because of its low melting temperature.
PLA melts at a relatively low temperature of about 175 degrees Celsius. Unlike so-called thermoset materials, PLA can be heated past its melting point multiple times with very little degradation. It’s a hard material, but that also means it’s somewhat brittle, and once it breaks, it likes to shatter.
The best use of PLA is for printing concept models, prototypes, miniatures, jewelry, low-wear toys, etc.
However, PLA is not a perfect material and, just like every other plastic, has some disadvantages. The low print temperature also means low-temperature resistance. Parts start to lose mechanical strength at temperatures over 60 °C.
The combination of being both biodegradable and having low-temperature resistance means that it’s not ideal for outdoor use, also due to the low UV-resistance.
PLA is only soluble in chemicals like chloroform or hot benzene. Use glue to connect multiple parts together.
Even though PLA is biodegradable, and the material on its own is food safe, we suggest not to drink or eat from your 3D prints repeatedly. It’s because of the small fractures in the print surface, which means bacteria can build up in there over time. You can prevent this by applying a food-safe coating.