Colorfabb LW-PLA Natural is a specialty PLA filament that uses a unique active foaming technology to allow you to print lightweight, low density parts. It is the ideal solution where strength and lightness are important. LW-PLA also helps reduce printing time due to the expanding property of the filament resulting in bigger layer heights. The resultant models have a rough matte surface finish.
At about 230C the filament will start to foam resulting in a 3 x volume increase in the material. If the material flow rate is decreased by 60% it will result in lighter weight parts with a lower density than conventional PLA.
So what is LW-PLA good for: well, ignoring its efficacy for reducing printing time, it is obviously very suited for drones and remote control vehicles, especially if the model you are building is going to fly.
Note: To achieve the best results with LW-PLA you will need to optimise your settings to get the best results. The main settings that need to be fine tuned are Temperature, Speed and Flow rate.
How to print with LW-PLA
The main thing to consider is the dimensional accuracy of the resultant print due to its expanding properties. In general to hone your parts you should begin the optimisation process by printing a number of test cubes (e.g. our calibration cube ). You can then collect some information on expansion at different temperatures, speed and flow given your nozzle diameter. The four steps recommended by Colorfabb for this are:
- Print cubes at a set speed in temperatures varying from 200°C up to 280°C
- Measure perimeter thickness of each cube, note the temperature with the highest expansion.
- Print cubes with decreasing steps of flow, using the temperature found in step 2.
- Find the cube at which the perimeter thickness equals the nozzle size.
- Printing Temperature: 195-260°C
- Print Speed: 40-100mm/s
- Heated Bed Temperature: 50-60°C (although not necessary)
- Diameter Tolerance: ± 0.1 mm
- Density: 1.210-1.430 g·cm³ (non activated density); 0.403 – 0,476 g·cm³ (maximum activated density)
- Glass Transition Temperature: 55°C