Lulzbot PLA age?

Help with printing with specific plastic filaments.
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bbc0
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Lulzbot PLA age?

Post by bbc0 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:25 am

I purchased a complete and unopened package of Lulzbot PLA filament at a high school fund raising sale recently. It was still vacuum packed and in the box. When I opened it and tried to use it, I discovered that it is extremely brittle and virtually impossible to straighten it enough to insert into the print head properly.
The Label says: Lulzbot White PLA 3MM Filament, 1KG reel. Barcode 17752 01371

I am wondering what made it this way and is it possible to 'reconstitute' for use?

Thanks in Advance.
Barry

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Orias
Aleph Objects | LulzBot
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Re: Lulzbot PLA age?

Post by Orias » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:11 pm

Hmmm, you may want to try drying it using a food dehydrator, dedicated to this purpose (handy for nylons and PVA-based materials). Do you know how long they've had the material?

bbc0
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Re: Lulzbot PLA age?

Post by bbc0 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:07 pm

I have no idea how long they had it at the school. Does it deteriorate just in storage? As I said it was still vacuum packed and the cardboard box was sealed. I also purchased a selection of other 3mm filament some also new and some opened. I have tried some of it and it has been ok, it was opened but in a plastic bag, but maybe was newer.

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Orias
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Re: Lulzbot PLA age?

Post by Orias » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:28 pm

Give it a dry and see how that improves the filament stability. It should help.

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mwester
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Re: Lulzbot PLA age?

Post by mwester » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:35 pm

As above, definitely try drying it.

I use a food dehydrator, with a circular cutout in one of the trays so I can fit the filament spool.

As for the whole question of how PLA ages, well, different brands age differently in my experience. But I've noticed that the Lulzbot PLA has a definite tendency to get very stiff and brittle as it ages. Drying it will improve its characteristics a bit, but it will quickly revert to being so stiff that it's hard to pull it off the spool, even if it's kept in a dry-box at 10 to 20 percent humidity. I've tossed the last 100g or so from the last two spools of PLA because they just became too much trouble to deal with.

The manufacturers certainly attempt to package them to keep them dry (it costs them $$$ every time they have a customer return to deal with!). However, the plastic bags don't seal perfectly either -- and of course, nothing can fix the stiffness/brittleness of ageing, which I suspect is just inherent to PLA (and perhaps other plastics).

I've had better luck with other PLAs -- in particular, the eSun PLA-plus series seems to be more flexible, and little tougher (less brittle) than ordinary PLA. It still needs to be dried, and kept dry, but it's now my go-to PLA.

bbc0
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Joined: Tue May 07, 2019 11:27 am

Re: Lulzbot PLA age?

Post by bbc0 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:23 am

Thanks for the advice. I'm currently in the process of converting a little surplus bar fridge into a dehydrator. I had an Arduino and most of the parts needed sitting around doing nothing. In it I'll be able to dry and maintain all of my opened spools of filament. I should have it working in a week and then I'll dry the Lulzbot filament first and see whether or not it becomes useable and report back.

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