How to print and store PVA

Ultimaker PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is a 3D printing material commonly used to create water soluble support structures to achieve complex geometries.

Please note that the preconfigured Cura profiles for Ultimaker PVA have been exclusively developed for the Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 3 Extended. The instructions on this page are for these printers only. Printing with this material on other Ultimaker printers is at the user's risk; it is not supported and may void the warranty. Always use the latest version of Cura (2.3 or higher) and make sure that your 3D printer is updated with the latest firmware version to include the correct material profile for Ultimaker PVA.

Combining PVA with other materials

We have extensively tested preconfigured Cura profiles for the optimal results when printing PVA support structures for Nylon and PLA using the Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 3 Extended. Combining PVA with CPE or ABS as a build material is experimental and does not guarantee the same reliable experience as for Nylon and PLA.

PVA storage and handling

Unopened Ultimaker PVA spools should be stored in a cool and dry place with a temperature between 0 °C and 30 °C and a relative humidity below 50%. Do not store in direct sunlight. Once opened, PVA will absorb moisture from the environment. To minimize this, always store the spool in a re-sealable bag with the supplied desiccant immediately after printing and when not in use at the above conditions.

Printing Ultimaker PVA

Successful printing of Ultimaker PVA requires an environmental temperature below 28 °C and a relative humidity below 55%.

Recommended settings

Temperatures

Ultimaker PVA requires a build plate temperature of 60 °C when printed as a single material. If PVA is printed as a support material, just use the build plate temperature required for the accompanying build material (see the table below). A nozzle temperature between 215-225 °C is used for the Ultimaker PVA print profiles in Cura for the Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 3 Extended. For the best results, select the right Ultimaker 3 printer in Cura. When printing via Wi-Fi in a print farm setting it is crucial to select the proper Ultimaker 3 printer. The right print cores will be automatically detected by the Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 3 Extended. The NFC chip on the new Ultimaker material spools will automatically load the correct material and printing settings in Cura.

Material combination  Nozzle temperature (°C)  Build plate temperature (°C)  Adhesion method   Print cooling fan speed (%)  
PVA (single material)215-22560PVA brim50
PVA - PLA215-22560PVA brim50
PVA - Nylon215-22560PVA raft50

Cooling

For best results, use 50% print cooling fan speed while PVA is being printed.

Cura adhesion settings

The adhesion settings are based on the accompanying build material (see table above).

  • In combination with PLA: select a brim as an adhesion type, made with Extruder 2 (Ultimaker PVA) in Cura. A brim is made of extra lines printed around your model to ensure successful adhesion and it is a default adhesion method for dual printing with the Ultimaker 3 family.
  • In combination with Nylon: select a raft as adhesion type, made with Extruder 2 (Ultimaker PVA) in Cura. It may be easier to remove the raft from the build plate when it is still slightly warm (approximately 40 ºC).

Adhesion

Ultimaker PVA strongly adheres to the heated glass plate. We suggest applying a thin layer of glue (included in the accessory box of your 3D printer) to the glass plate. The adhesion method should be based on the accompanying build material as defined in the table above. For more tips on how to improve the build plate adhesion, see this page.

Unclogging the PVA Nozzle

Degraded PVA can clog the nozzle in your print core. To unclog the nozzle, follow the following maintenance steps or contact your reseller.  

Health and safety

Ultimaker PVA is safe to print when using the recommended temperatures listed 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 PVA here.

NOTE: The information provided here applies to Ultimaker PVA, similar quality can not be assured with third party filaments.

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