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hydrogent
User Rank
Iron
PLA VS ABS SMELL
hydrogent   12/26/2012 3:29:34 PM
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Vapors of most heated plastics are very toxic! Check with any chemist who does not work for the plastics or pesticide industries. Treat this process with the same respect you would auto exhaust or petroleum-based solvents, since that is essentially what these materials are. Good ventilation is a must!

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 3D printing bioplastics
Ann R. Thryft   9/28/2012 1:29:03 PM
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Here's an example of PLA being used for large-scale 3D printing of architectural structures: http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/design-architecture/in-amsterdam-worlds-first-mobile-3d-printing-pavilion/8736

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: 3D printing bioplastics
Beth Stackpole   9/28/2012 7:07:01 AM
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I've been working on a feature on 3D printing and 3D content creation tools (stayed tuned in November) and I've been talking to a lot of engineers who use the lower end 3D printers either on the job or increasingly in their home, for hobbyist/side business purposes. Consistently, most talk about some of the messiness of traditional 3D printers (I hadn't heard about the smell) and perhaps the choice of PLA is better suited to home/hobbyist use as opposed to an office or shop floor environment. What are others experience with 3D printers on the lower end? They look like office printers, but they don't seem quite as packaged. Let us know.

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Price Trends
NadineJ   9/27/2012 11:20:17 PM
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We forget that the first cell phones cost around $4,000 in the early 80's.  I think it's a healthy sign for an industry when the price steadily lowers without badly effecting profit margins.

I'll have to check out the store the next time I'm in NYC.  Thanks for the article!

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Price Trends
Greg M. Jung   9/27/2012 8:05:38 PM
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While I do agree that it does not use ABS, I still marvel at the price point of this 3D printer and the ever decreasing cost of this technology.  I remember when the lowest price 3D printers were still well into 6-figures.  I look forward to continuous technology and material improvements with these types of printers in the near future.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 3D printing bioplastics
Ann R. Thryft   9/27/2012 3:23:08 PM
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If PLA is supposedly so difficult to use, I wonder why it's so common in lower-end 3D printing? As Beth's article states, "PLA was chosen because of its strength and ability to make very large prints without cracking or warping." I also suspect some people are a lot more sensitive to the smell than others.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 3D printing bioplastics
Beth Stackpole   9/27/2012 1:26:26 PM
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Based on what was said in that video, it is a bit surprising. I found a wiki page on Makerbot's site that provides some insight into their choice of PLA and provides some hands-on perspective from Makerbot users. http://wiki.makerbot.com/pla

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 3D printing bioplastics
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   9/27/2012 12:40:47 PM
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Beth, thanks for finding that candid discussion on YouTube – I watched the entire thing, and now have very little faith in PLA, from what the guys were saying.  In a Nutshell, its less heat tolerant, less process capable, less robust, so why would they use it-?  Only because it doesn't smell as bad as ABS during processing.  To me, that's a pretty weak reason for choosing a material. I've been in Injection-mold production press rooms running ABS, and while the odor there is strong, its not intolerable.  Maybe the MakerBot apparatus really brings the 'Stink" out of it!

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 3D printing bioplastics
Ann R. Thryft   9/27/2012 12:04:35 PM
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Thanks, Beth, for that video. I got about half way through it. The guy being interviewed, who designed a 3D printer kit, says PLA vs ABS is easier to print with, harder to drill, and doesn't take the high temps that ABS does. Also, that ABS's smell is really bad. He says PLA is great for prototypes, then prints the final part in ABS.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 3D printing bioplastics
Beth Stackpole   9/26/2012 3:07:52 PM
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I did some googling on my own to see what others are saying about PLA and come up with this long, but interesting video on Youtube where an engineer and maker of a printer kit is talking about the tradeoffs of PLA vs. ABS and why he sees PLA as the next big thing in home printing. For what it's worth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF-w3eT0CdY

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