When it comes to 3D printing filaments, nowadays there are many options available. Today we want to talk a little about a kind of filament commonly known as Silk PLA.
Silk PLA is normally marketed as specially colored PLA filament that it’s shinier than standard PLA. The parts printed with Silk PLA have a pearlescent or metallic shine that makes it very suitable for decoration. One of the advantages is that is possible to produce very attractive prints without the need for coating. The shiny effect makes the layers marks produced by the printing process less obvious and the printed parts don’t look like plastic that much.
But what is this filament made from? How is the shiny effect achieved?
Someone could think that the difference from standard PLA is just the dye added to the plastic pellet the filaments are made from.
However, the secret is not in the coloration but in another plastic additive that is added to the PLA pellet. This additive is a semi-clear plastic that, when mixed with the PLA, reflects the light in a way that gives the Silk PLA its signature shine.
One of the properties of Silk PLA is that depending on the printing settings we can adjust the final appearance of the parts. The printing temperature and how fast the extruded filament cools-down play an important role in the final result.
For this reason, a model printed with Silk PLA can look different in different regions depending on how those regions were printed.
The best way to work with Silk PLA is to print a temperature tower with small temperature increments to find the temperature that yields the desired finish.
Is also important to mention that parts with curved surfaces are normally better in order to get the most impressive shiny finishes.
Hope these tips will help you get the most of the Silk PLA filament!