The right filament for summer
Summer is here and one of the most common questions for 3D printers is: will my print withstand the sun?
Here we help you choose the right material for summer based on two key factors:
- UV stabilty
- Heat resistance
Temperatures and PLA
Let's start with the most common material: PLA.
PLA is an excellent material that can withstand outdoor use, provided that the conditions are ideal. In fact, PLA has fair resistance to atmospheric agents, but if subjected to excessive temperatures and loads, it easily deforms.
If, for example, I want to print a PLA phone case to leave in the car under the sun, after a few hours I will probably find it deformed by the heat and its own weight.
A second problem with PLA is the colour: the sun and the weather ruin the pigments contained within the filament and make the colours of the prints increasingly faded and opaque. To preserve the original colour of PLA, you can use a UV-resistant varnish to coat your prints.
ABS and UV rays
If PLA can therefore be used, within certain limits, for outdoor printing, ABS is a different matter.
This material is more resistant than PLA, but this rule only applies to indoor applications.
ABS is more resistant to high and low temperatures, but it suffers a lot from weathering and UV radiation.
UV rays on an ABS print will make the object brittle and lead to delamination of the layers in a short time. Direct sunlight can turn even the most solid print into crumbs within a few weeks.
Alfa+: high temperatures PLA
If you are looking for a material that can resist heat much more than PLA and ABS, we recommend FILOALFA® Alfa+.
This filament is a modified high-temperature resistant PLA. When annealed, Alfa+ can withstand temperatures of up to 106°C, 17° higher than ABS and 51° higher than PLA.
ALFA+ is, therefore, suitable for prints that can withstand very high temperatures and heavy loads, as it also has excellent mechanical strength.
AlfaPro: PLA that resists UV light and hydrolysis
Another modified PLA that can be annealed and can withstand high temperatures is AlfaPro.
This filament can withstand up to 115°C and is therefore not afraid of summer heat.
AlfaPro is the perfect material for outdoor use because, in addition to high-temperature resistance, it is also resistant to UV radiation and hydrolysis.
If you need to print an object that can withstand the sun and weather and retain its color over time, AlfaPro is the right filament for you.
N-ASA: the alternative to ABS
If you are looking for a technical material with mechanical performance more similar to ABS, but which is weather-resistant, we recommend N-ASA.
N-ASA is an impact-resistant material that can withstand temperatures of up to 96°C and is also weather and UV-resistant.
N-ASA is a high-performance technical material, a variant of ABS that is able to resist degradation by UV light while maintaining the physical characteristics and coloration of the filament.
So if your interest is in prints that can withstand the summer heat, the weather and that won't yellow over time, it's best to go for performance materials like AlfaPro and N-ASA.