Leapfrog 3D Printers releases new high-strength Engineering PLA filament
Dutch additive manufacturing company Leapfrog 3D Printers has launched a new FDM 3D printing filament called Engineering PLA. The new 3D printing material is being marketed as a “perfected and highly resistant version” of traditional PLA, making it an advantageous alternative to ABS.
Leapfrog’s Engineering PLA, which is now available for order through the company’s online store, is a multi-purpose filament that was developed to offer users a stronger PLA alternative, without resorting to using ABS. ABS is one of the most common 3D printing materials and, while admittedly stronger than its PLA counterpart, is also tied to common printing problems such as warping. With its new Engineering PLA, Leapfrog is aiming to offer users a material which has the same high strength and durability as ABS but with the same advantageous print settings as PLA.
According to the company, its new 3D printing filament has an extrusion temperature of between 205°C and 215°C, though users can also save 30% in printing time by upping the extrusion temp to between 220°C and 230°C. Other features associated with Engineering PLA are a strong layer adhesion (which allows for the creation of high-stress objects), low risk of warping, and ease of use.
“As a material, ABS can be stronger than PLA through conventional production methods, which leads to more homogeneous parts,” reads the Leapfrog 3D Printers website. “But 3D printing is different; it builds the part layer for layer for which PLA is better suited for than ABS. So, by improving the material used in 3D printing, a better and optimized product is created. The result is Engineering PLA.”
At present, the new filament is available in three colors (white, black, and silver) and in a 1.75 mm diameter format. Through Leapfrog 3D Printer’s website, makers can order the filament starting at €45 a spool.
With the plethora of 3D printing filaments out there, it is difficult to know whether you are choosing the right one, especially with most companies touting the same “high quality, durable, and strong” adjectives. For its new filament, Leapfrog has done one better by publishing a test study that compares various different filaments to its new Engineering PLA. The report, published, was conducted in partnership with University of Technology, Innovation & Society Delft.
The test consisted of using different filaments (including regular PLA, Engineering PLA, ABS, PETG, Nylon, Carbon, Flex, Ngen, Hybrid, and Pro1) to 3D print a part for a leg prosthetic. The tensile test, which used rods 3D printed with 100% infill, showed that Nylon was the strongest material, with a tensile force of 642.1 N, and that Engineering PLA came the closest for strength and toughness with a peak torque of 460.2 N.
While Nylon was ultimately chosen as the best option for the prosthetic leg component, its price (€98 per kg) certainly makes Engineering PLA a more accessible option for makers looking to make high-strength and durable 3D printed parts.
As an additional test, Leapfrog 3D printed identical carabiners out of regular PLA and Engineering PLA to see how they compare. As a marketing gimmick, the company is asking makers to offer suggestions on how to test the carabiners—the winning suggestion will be selected in a couple of weeks, and the winner could have the chance to test the new Engineering PLA.