Formfutura Volcano PLA Review
Welcome to my review of Formfutura’s White Volcano PLA Filament. I would like to thank George from 3DPreviews.co.uk for giving me this spool to review. I have had this spool for a while now and have been very excited to review it due to Volcano PLA’s unique properties…
‘Annealing’ is a process done to metals that increase their strength and durability without changing their shape. You can also do this with PLA. So, how does it work? Well, first you preheat the oven to half the melting point of the PLA you are using – in this case, 110 degrees Celsius, this is what’s called the ‘glass transition temperature’ at this temperature the plastic releases some of the tensile and compression forces.
Leaving the print in the oven for a period of time and then letting it cool for an extended period of time redistributes the stresses in the plastic making it tougher, and more resistant to high temperatures.
So what’s so great about Volcano PLA if you can anneal any PLA? The problem with annealing regular generic PLA is that it will shrink loads resulting in a part that may not fit its specific purpose. One of Volcano PLA’s signature properties is that when it is annealed it shrinks “roughly 8 times less” than competitor PLA. It only shrinks less than 0.3% this means your part will still fit most of its applications.
I printed a pot with a screwtop lid. Before annealing the lid screwed on very easily and lined up with the threading very well. The measurements of the big pot were 38.9mm high, 51mm diameter, 44mm inside diameter. The measurements of the small pot were 31.9mm high, 42mm diameter, 36mm inside diameter.
As the parts are relatively small I put them in the preheated oven at 110 degrees celsius for 20 minutes (as directed by website). I then turned the oven off and let them cool down slowly inside it. I took them out of the oven and they felt somewhat rougher, and the lids had more resistance to screwing on.
When the big pot came out the diameter had stayed the same, the inside diameter had shrunk by 0.3mm and the height had also shrunk by 0.5mm.
When the small pot came out the diameter had stayed the same, the inside diameter had stayed the same and the height had shrunk by 0.1mm.
Due to the shrinkage being a percentage the larger the print, the more it will shrink. The large pot shrunk more than the small pot but also the lids did not shrink as much as the pots making them tighter to screw on.
So, Volcano PLA is brilliant when it comes to strength and heat resistance. But what if you don’t care about annealing and don’t need good heat resistance? The Volcano PLA is a joy to print with, not a single print I did with it failed. The prints were very smooth to touch and were relatively robust even before annealing. Layer lines were not very visible resulting in a premium finish even with a 0.2mm layer height.
Thank you for reading, be sure to follow my twitter page @BenTech3D for updates on all upcoming posts.