How to print with Ultimaker PLA

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.

Note: The information provided here applies to Ultimaker PLA, similar quality cannot be guaranteed with third-party filaments.

Compatibility

Ultimaker PLA can be printed on all Ultimaker 3D printers with all nozzle sizes as a single material. On the Ultimaker S5 and Ultimaker 3, you should use the AA print cores.

Ultimaker PLA nozzle compatibility table

On the Ultimaker S5 and Ultimaker 3, PLA can also be printed in combination with PVA, Breakaway or another color of PLA. This overview shows the materials PLA is compatible with.

Ultimaker PLA material compatibility table

Recommended settings and configuration

Note: Always use the latest version of Ultimaker Cura and make sure that your 3D printer is updated with the latest firmware version to include the correct material profile for Ultimaker PLA.

Temperatures

Ultimaker PLA prints at moderate temperatures, mostly around 200-210 °C, depending on the selected nozzle size and print profile. Profiles for the 0.25 mm nozzles use a slightly lower temperature though, and the 0.8 mm profiles require a higher temperature.

For the build plate, a temperature of 60 °C is used for heated build plates, but it is also possible to print PLA on a cold build plate using the blue tape.

Note: The correct temperatures are automatically used based on the printer, nozzle size, and profile you select in Ultimaker Cura.

Adhesion

PLA usually adheres well to the heated glass plate, but for the best results it is advised to apply a thin layer of glue (included in the accessory box of your 3D printer). If you’re using a printer without a heated build plate or if you want to print on a cold build plate (e.g. for printing overhangs close to the build plate), we recommend using blue tape for adhesion. As an alternative adhesion method you can try adhesion sheets, although the methods mentioned above are usually sufficient.

Glue application build plate adhesion method
Adhesive blue tape applied to the build plate

The PLA profiles in Ultimaker Cura use a brim as build plate adhesion type, to provide optimal adhesion on the first layer. A brim is made of extra lines printed around the perimeter of the initial layer of your 3D print to ensure a successful adhesion to the build plate.

Once the 3D print has finished, do not remove it while the build plate is still warm. This can result in deformation of the base of your print.

Print environment

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.

Health and safety

Ultimaker PLA emits a low level of gases and particles when 3D printed in accordance with the recommended temperatures in the table above. To ensure a comfortable and healthy working environment, we recommend 3D printing in a well-ventilated area.

For more information, download the safety data sheet for Ultimaker PLA here.

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