PLA (polylactic acid) is one of the most widely used 3D printing materials and also the recommended material for beginners. It prints fast, is safe, and can be used for a broad range of models and applications. The following is everything you need to know about printing with Ultimaker PLA.
Ultimaker PLA can be printed on all Ultimaker 3D printers as a single material and on the Ultimaker 3 it can also be printed in combination with PVA or another color of PLA.
Always use the latest version of Cura and make sure that your 3D printer is updated with the latest firmware version to include the correct material profile for Ultimaker PLA.
Note: The information provided here applies to Ultimaker PLA, similar quality cannot be guaranteed with third-party filaments.
PLA can be printed with a build plate temperature of 60 °C or on a cold build plate using the blue tape. Use the following table to find the temperature per printer and nozzle size to achieve the best print results:
Note: On the Ultimaker 3 the nozzle and build plate temperature on the first layer may be different due to the 'Print Temperature Initial Layer' and 'Build Plate Temperature Initial Layer' settings in Cura.
The temperatures listed in the table are used for the Ultimaker PLA print profiles in Cura per printer. For best results, it is crucial to select the right printer, nozzle diameter and material in Cura. Also, make sure to select the correct material on your Ultimaker 3D printer to automatically use the corresponding temperatures.
PLA requires good cooling to achieve the best surface quality. For best results, PLA is printed with 100% print cooling fan speed throughout the whole print. PLA has a very low shrinkage factor compared to other materials. Strong cooling will not cause problems related to layer bonding or delamination.
PLA usually adheres well to the heated glass plate. If you use a heated build plate, make sure that the glass plate is completely clean and free of any oil/grease and fingerprints.
Do not remove the 3D print while the build plate is still warm. This can result in deformation of the base of your print.
For best results, apply a thin layer of glue (included in the accessory box of your 3D printer) on the glass plate.
If you use a 3D printer without a heated build plate (Ultimaker 2 Go or Ultimaker Original) or if you want to print on a cold build plate (e.g. printing overhangs close to the build plate), we recommend using blue tape or a glue stick for adhesion.
Printing with Ultimaker PLA doesn’t require any additional accessories. However, you can try the Advanced 3D Printing Kit for the Ultimaker 3 or Ultimaker 2+ that includes a package of adhesion sheets to use as an alternative adhesion method.
Cura build plate adhesion settings
A brim is the default build plate adhesion type for Ultimaker PLA in Cura. A brim is made of extra lines printed around the perimeter of the initial layers of your 3D print to ensure a successful adhesion to the build plate.
PLA is an easy-to-print material and therefore does not require additional accessories to create a stable printing environment. However, you can use the front enclosure from the Advanced 3D Printing Kit (for the Ultimaker 2+ or Ultimaker 3) to obtain more consistent and reliable 3D prints.
Note: Use of the front enclosure can be detrimental for PLA prints that require a high level of retractions.
Health and safety
Ultimaker PLA emits a low level of gasses and particles when 3D printed in accordance with the recommended temperatures in the table above. To ensure a comfortable and healthy environment, we recommend 3D printing in a well-ventilated area.
For more information, download the safety data sheet for Ultimaker PLA here.