Shaping PLA Through Boiling

Introduction: Shaping PLA Through Boiling

PLA (Polylatic Acid) plastic 3d printer filament can be shaped by warming it in boiling water.

To get started you will need:

  • 1 pair of gloves (5 mil thickness or higher)
  • PLA filament
  • cylindrical objects (for example, pencil or flashlight)
  • Pot of water
  • metal spoon

Step 1: Getting Started

Put on the gloves. Bring the water to a boil and lower the temperature so it simmers.

Go to your faucet and set it to cold water. Make sure you clear out the pipe if it contains hot water.

Step 2: Immersion

Drop the filament into the boiling water and let it heat up for at least 10 seconds. Take it out using a spoon. The consistency will be like a cooked noodle.

Quickly wrap the filament around your object. Then run it under cool water. Slide off the plastic and you should have a spring like in the photo.

Step 3: Do-over?

If your shape didn't come out exactly as you like, drop it back into the boiling water and it will turn back into a strand.

Step 4: Shaping Printed Objects

You can shape 3d printed objects by dropping them into boiling water as well.

In the photos, I dropped a hollow pyramid into boiling water and scrunched it up. Then I put it under cool water to lock the shape.

Later, I dropped the scrunched pyramid into the water and it returned back to it's original 3d-printed shape.

This could be useful for decreasing part volume for shipping.

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    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very interesting! I'm quite surprised that the pyramid went back to its original shape though. That's pretty eat!