How to print with PLA

PLA is very easy to print with. If you experiment with your printer settings you will easily have an excellent looking PLA print in no time. Like with most filaments, the key is getting the first layer right.

Before starting to print you must make sure your bed is level. Your print is unlikely to stick to the bed if you dont do this. You can print PLA on a cold bed or heated bed. If you have a heated bed, it is recommended to use a temperature of 60-70deg.

PLA can be printed onto blue tape (also known as masking tape). The tape provides a rough surface that the filament can "dig in" to. Simply lay the tape in strips over your bed. Make sure you dont have any gaps or bumps in the tape. Once this is done you can start the print. You will likely need to replace the tape after 5-10 prints.

PLA can also be printed onto a glass print bed. If your bed is heated then you might not need to coat the glass in anything to ensure adhesion. However, to ensure perfect bed adhesion it is bed to coat the glass in a thin layer of glue. A simple glue stick (such as PrittStik) can be used for this.

Keep the first layer slow and make sure your nozzle temperature is high enough. PLA usually prints at temperatures between 190-220deg. Whilst starting off with 3D printing it is probably best to go with a higher temperature. Having more heat in the plastic will allow it to flow more easily.