Skip to content

PLA Overview

Printed on an FDM 3D printer, PLA is a very cost-effective material for early stage prototyping for analyzing form factors and multiple iterations of a part design. It is available in a number of varieties, including transparent and metallic colors. Some stepping may be apparent due to the FDM printing process used.

PLA is Makelab’s most basic prototyping plastic, it’s great for low cost prototyping and color options. This material has your traditional 3D printed layer lines, so be sure to keep this in mind if you need anything for visuals and aesthetics. It’s a great material if you’re on a time crunch, we can turnaround PLA prints in as little as next business day!


Household items
Form analysis
End-use products


Build Volumes

250 × 210 × 210 mm (9.84"×8.3"×8.3")

Lead Times

❯ Standard - 3 business days
❯❯ Rush - 2 business days
❯❯❯ Next Day - 1 business day (No Support Removal)
❮ No Rush - 5 business days


💡 Pair Super Rush + Same-Day Delivery to receive your parts the same day they're ready.  

Quality (Microns)

This number determines how thin each layer is. The smaller the micron count, the thinner the layer, this results in higher surface detail and better surface finishes.


⭐⭐ Standard Quality - 200 microns
⭐⭐⭐ Detailed Quality - 100 microns
⭐ Draft Quality - 300 microns


Choose from black, white or gray at no additional cost! Choose tech’s choice to be surprised - and save some cost too 😏



Custom colors - In need of a custom color? Contact our service team!



Pro's of PLA

When PLA is a perfect material choice
  • Use PLA if you’re looking to prototype form and fit
  • Great if you are looking to prototype quickly and inexpensively
  • Not too concerned with the aesthetics of the part
  • Quick printing turnaround times, we can print in as quick as next business day!
  • Custom colors are easily available upon request
  • Basic shapes with minimal intricate features

Con's of PLA

When to seek other material options

  • Supports are necessary for printing which can affect the visual quality of the part
  • If printing for load-bearing situations, print orientation can be important. This can lead to printing in less optimal orientations to ensure structural stability of the part.
  • Not great at capturing small details
  • Finishing requires more post-processing
  • Not ideal for painting

Quick Comparison Chart

PLA Standard Resin Draft Resin
Price $ $$$ $$
Ultimate Tensile Strength 38-60 MPa (orientation dependent) 65 MPa 36 MPa
Elongation at Break 1.9-2.9% 6.2% 7%
Color Black, White, Gray, Custom Color upon request Gray, Black, Clear, White. Custom Color upon request Light Gray
Build Volume 250 x 210 x 210mm 145 x 145 x 185mm OR 335 x 200 x 300mm 335 x 200 x 300mm
Lead Times 1-5 business days 2-7 business days 2-7 business days
Selling Point ✅ Basic prototyping ✅ High surface finish visuals ✅ Inexpensive high surface finish visuals