PLAflex is our exciting product that combines the benefits of softer materials like TPU with the ease of print, similar to PLA+.
Here are some of the features at a glance;
- Prints as easy as PLA+ (although not the same settings, Printing HINTS below). Can be printed as high as 240 degrees.
- Australian approved food grade standard.
- Great first layer adhesion and subsequent interlayers.
- Vibrant and solid colours.
- Resealable bag to avoid moisture issues for long-term storage.
We have developed this filament so it can be used by almost all 3D printers, whether Bowden or Direct Drive extruder mounts. With a Shore rating of 90A, the filament is remarkably malleable, especially on prints with thinner walls. Typically TPU is rated 85A and is slightly softer, however, this softness can make it challenging for some extruders to push the filament through.
Some example applications great for this filament are;
- Chocolate Molds
- Jelly Molds
- Rubber stamps
- Vibration dampeners
- Phone cases
- RC Tyres
Whilst the filament is flexible is not elastic.
We further conducted independent testing for Food Grade with the National Measurement Institute (Australian Government, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science) and also FDA (US Government Approved). Results both comply with the Australian and FDA standards (AS2070-1999 10/2011). The tests show that the filament is composed of safe ingredients that can come into contact with food products. There are however some important practical considerations when printing objects with food contact in mind.
- It is important that your printer, namely extruder, and hot-end/nozzle are also up to food grade standards. Typically, stainless steel parts provide the best measure to ensure food grade printing is not compromised. Brass nozzles are not recommended.
- Thorough cleaning of printed object is needed for repeated use over time. If you wish to repeatedly use a part, you must ensure that no food products remain even in the tiny gaps between each layer. Organic products remaining on the print can rot over time and contaminate your food product on the next application.
Better Layer Adhesion:
This filament has very strong first layer adhesion, in fact, it is really hard to pry it from BuildTak or PEI surfaces. Printing on Blue Tape is recommended since tape can be easily lifted along with the print without needing to pull the object from the surface. PLAflex prints with thin walls don't take too kindly to being pulled as it may deform the object permanently. This filament has a minimal elasticity to bring it back to original form.
Subsequent layer adhesion is really strong. When printing objects with 0.4mm walls, you may find it quite challenging to pull apart by brute strength.
We have developed colours to be as rich and solid as PLA+ filaments. For ease of mixing and matching we have also used colours to follow a similar Pantone range as PLA+.
Caring for our environmental footprint is everyone’s responsibility. Recycling is our best way to do this. We are continuing to provide PLAflex filaments with free resealable bags that not only care for our planet but also help in warding off moisture damage to your precious filament. This enables them to last longer so they are not exposed to damage from humidity. Moisture in the air affects PLAflex adversely and will impact print performance and finished print layering. It is critical to pack them away in the resealable bag when not in use and always keep the desiccant satchel inside the bag to absorb any remaining moisture.
- Always print a temp tower to find the best temperature. We have tested the filament on many printers and most find 220/50 hot-end/baseplate to be ideal.
- If you find that the filament stops feeding and it is just being ground on the extruder cogs, then your hot-end is not hot enough and/or your flow setting is too high. Consider increasing and decreasing those settings respectively. As a matter of best practice, don't change both at the same time as you might only need one modified and also by doing both you may be inadvertently introducing another problem.
- Not really sure what models to use it for Review by Alan
This filament certainly does print well (as long as you're careful about your model choice), but as a flexible filament, I'm really not sure what the application for it would be.
I had trouble with this filament printing a smooth top on a rounded model with low top layers and lower infill, so use your settings to increase infill before the final layers to avoid it drooping down into the infill, or increase your cooling significantly, or opt for more layers. Increasing infill and adjusting top layers will of course have an impact on the malleability of the final print.
The finished product has a vinyl-like texture rather than a rubber or silicone texture - so it'll bend, and will also crease if bent too far, and doesn't stretch or compress.
Given the filament doesn't have any stretch (which is fine if that's what you're after) there's not a lot of use cases for it. Unfortunately it didn't fit what I bought it for so I'm now trying to come up with some options for making use of it. Maybe if you needed something to twist to fit it into place, but then return to its natural shape to provide a firm barrier it would do the job. Maybe to make a 3D printed wallet? I suppose it would make a great sleeve for something too, like to protect an item from scratches (like machining setup blocks, or sleeves for your tools), but given it has no stretch, it's not a good option for say making a phone case where you want to pull it around the edges of the phone. (Posted on 17/04/2021)
- Flex that is no hassle Review by Elias
This PLA Flex is an interesting filament, ran multiple temperature towers to dial in the settings, found that through my E3D Hemera with V6 hot end (standard setup) I had to slow the print down to 30mm/s and 210c hot end and 60c build plate, 0mm retraction, cooling on after 4th layer and 0.05mm closer to the print bed to squish that first layer down on the glass bed with no glue stick etc just a spotless glass surface.
The other thing I found was that it prefers very little pressure between the gears against the filament in the extruder and a brim to stop thin parts from curling.
All in all it is quite flexible, doesnt absorb moisture like TPU, but not as flexible as TPU, the layer adhesion is like standard PLA, you can file it / sand it and then use a flame to smooth the sanded area.
I printed an amazing Octopus at 0.12mm layer height which I sent to 3Dfillies and hopefully they put up the print so you can see an actual print made with this filament.
(Posted on 9/05/2020)
- Harder than expected Review by Daniel
There is a place for a firm, but slightly flexible material. To note, it is easy to print with,. I did find fillets starting from the heated bed finish badly. Though, filleting can be tricky near the heated bed, PLAFlex performed much worse that for hard plastic type filaments. I knocked off a star rating for this printing degradation.
PLAFlex printed bodies printed with 100% infill are very firm, though printing with low infill (eg. 15%) improves its flexibility a bit.
Like TPU, it sticks to my Prusa Mk3S heated bed extremely well, too well, to the point of being hard to remove.
Unfortunately PLAFlex has little to no rubber "grab" friction, so not recommended for tyres and similar. (Posted on 14/04/2020)
- Fantasic, very useful and easy to print Review by Jonathan
This PLAflex is a brilliant softer filament that's also incredibly easy to print with a regular extruder setup. I've printed this very easily on a pretty standard Wanhao i3 Mini (that's the same as a Cocoon Create Model Maker) as well as an Anycubic i3 mega.
It's allowed me to print a variety of flexible prints for certain applications like lens covers and other protective uses which I wouldn't otherwise have been able to do without a printer modification to print in TPU.
Highly recommended! (Posted on 13/10/2019)
- Using the white for engineered parts such as couplings and gaskets Review by Roger
This is one neat product. Took a few goes to dial it in with a Kossel Delta but once you get there is perfect. Ended up using a line width in Cura of .3 ( .4 nozzle ) and a flow of %110. This causes an overlap and good fill. Layer to layer its almost like injection molding. However, line to line can become a problem and the outer layer can flake away if you dont get it right but once there its great. I have nothing like to to compare it with. Stands on its own. (Posted on 14/09/2019)
- Fantastic Review by Trent
This product is fantastic, i am new to 3d printing, having only got my ender 3 late 2018 and really only getting into it semi seriously in the past few months. But the plaflex is just so damn easy to print with, i am using very similar properties to my PLA+ setup (just a little slower and a bit hotter). the Gloss finish of the black and the strong yet flexible nature is brilliant, definitely going to keep experimenting with it. Currently printing new feet for my printer, Enjoy! (Posted on 15/04/2019)
- Easy to work with Review by Adrian
This FlexPLA is great, nice and shiny and stick nearly too well.
Have not issue with my Anycubic I3 moded bowden feeder.
I found I had to print nice and slow, 15mm/sec to get a nice smooth finish. 10mm even better. made tooth belts, grips and case feet. also works well making gaskets. (Posted on 7/03/2019)
- Great Review by Cameron
This flex PLA has a good amount of flex and is easy to print. It is definitely not as flexible or elastic as TPU or TPE, but that is often a good thing. It is very tough and great for printing protective cases and covers. Print head 220 and bed 60 works well, even on a bowden system on the cr10. Excellent value compared to other flex filaments. Will buy again! (Posted on 22/01/2019)
- Great product Review by Greg
At the moment I'm experimenting with it to see how viable it is as gasket material and for rubber stamps.
So far I have found it to be a great product that is very easy to print on a CR10-S5 printer though a bowden tube onto borosilicate glass plate heatbed with no adhesion material.
The heatbed is left at room temperature and the extruder set to 225 Deg C. Which greatly reduces the cost of running the printer.
It can be challenging to release the print from the heatbed though, even without adhesive!
(Posted on 24/11/2018)
- Awesome Product Review by Andrew
Awesome product to print through a stock standard Anycubic i3 Mega with standard bower extruder. Only issues i have experienced is that if your bed leveling is not right and the first layer is a little to close to bed it can fold within the extruder, however very easily fixed with correct leveling procedure.
Note this products sticks like mad to ultrabase hotbed and even when cold requires a little work to get off BUT i would prefer it to stick then to break off.
Love it and will definitely buy more.
Settings: 215 hot end, 50 bed, 30mm/s print (Posted on 1/11/2018)
- Love the feel!!! Review by Paul (BMSweb)
First print was at 210C and printing second at 215. I'm printing on a frosted glass bed and seems to stick well. All in all this material has a really good feel to it and looking forwards to experimenting with it more. Zero stringing. Very clean prints from this material.
Using it to print a GoPro Session Protector for racing drone. (Posted on 28/09/2018)
- amazing Review by Jordan
just printed my first benchy and I am blown away. printed on a stock cr-10 at 210c came out perfectly and feels very strong. looking forward to using a lot of this! (Posted on 22/09/2018)
- This is an awesome product Review by Greg
This filament is fantastic and is so much easier to use than TPU. It does print like PLA but it would not stick (even with a raft) to my black diamond heated bed on my JGAURORA A5. After a couple of failures I took the advice on this website and used blue painter's tape - success! It sticks and then comes off easily when I'm finished printing.
This kills TPU, I printed a model that has 1 mm thick walls and there was no stringing, no blobs, no problems. My bed temperature was 51 nozzle temperature was 230 and everything else was basically the way I print PLA+. Unlike TPU it is food grade and unlike TPU you can even sand this product without burning it to remove little lines. But.... The solid color doesn't stay and goes lighter when sanded. But if you don't mind a couple of little lines then it's fantastic. Well done 3Dfillies you guys are the best.
(Posted on 11/09/2018)