So,.. had a very minor something or other slightly clogging my nozzle. Wasn't terrible but was enough to make the thread do the little curl coming out of the nozzle.
Done the cold pull thing but just never seem to get it right, always a bit too hot and it didn't get it all, or a tad too cold and it would break before all of it came out. So I just pulled the nozzle. Then I thought about it and said to myself, "self, why not do a cold pull now instead of trying to deal with the little drill bits and tiny wire?" well.. so I held the nozzle with a pair of pliers,.. heated with a lighter a for a short bit.. jammed in a scrap piece of filament and let it cool.. low and behold, I could yank it out and the amount of crap that came with was amazing!! worked like a charm and now she's printing SO much better/cleaner lines!
PLA is the main material used in our home based FDM printers. It's reasonably cheap, easy to get, and requires the least amount of fiddling to get to work. It's actually one of the strongest also. But, it's also the lowest temperature melting point and though it's stronger, it's brittle making it less than ideal to use for structural parts in things like our printers themselves and other products like remote control vehicles and other high impact applications which we generally default to using ABS for. The problem with ABS is it requires a good bit more care to be taken getting the printer adjusted and it also requires a heated bed to prevent warping during print, and even then it can fail to hold and you end up with corners pulling up or outright failed print. Other materials have popped up with the promise of ease of use with better strength but are usually a mixed bag and often fall short of the claim.
Enter Makergeeks' Raptor PLA. This is a high temperature, premium PLA made in the USA and sold directly from the factory. It has an added advantage that if you put it in the oven at 212ºf (100ºc) and bake it for around 10 minutes that it will change it's structure and become stronger and more heat resistant. But, does it really? Well, I haven't tried any heat test to see if it resists higher temperatures but I have tried it's strength and I can honestly say, YES, it does increase it's strength, it's as strong as ABS if not a tad stronger and is WAY more flexible than standard PLA,... after you cook it. If you take the part off the printer with out heat treating it's rather weak.
"Ugg, that means I have to put it in the oven have have my kitchen all stinking of plastic." Well, no. Honestly I didn't notice even the slightest oder from it being in the oven. And, it's odorless during printing so that is a BIG advantage over ABS!
"Bet it doesn't really print as easy as regular PLA!" Well, actually it does, and maybe even easier. In my tests I didn't get a single print fail, not one. It just always stuck to the bed, printed easy and rather nicely. I even had one I deliberately set the nozzle a scooch high to see what would happen and it actually held. This is all on blue painters tape, no bed heat. I do always wipe the tape with rubbing alcohol to remove the release coating on the face of the tape the factory puts on so the tape doesn't stick to its self, but I do that with anything I print no matter what. Really the only difference between this and regular PLA for printing is the increase to 230º-ish nozzle temperature. That's it.
"But it's expensive". Well ya, it costs s few bucks more to purchase, but, it very well may be cheaper in the long run over things like ABS and PETG. How? Well it you take the percentage of failures you get working with ABS compared to original cost. Think about how much you end up throwing away in test prints and set up, then the actual prints that fail hours later because the thing popped a corner or shifted during a print because of it warped. Unless you have a dedicated printer for ABS you'll likely waste a good portion of the material in setup and failures. With the Raptor, it's less likely and even if it does happen it'll be much less and less often. Not only will it be saving you money, or at least breaking even cost wise, but also saving a mess of headaches. And with the price coming down a good bit lately it becomes even less of an issue. (Latest pricing was $33 a roll which includes shipping in the US)
To sum it up... would I recommend this? Whole heartedly, yes! You do need to cook it after to get strength but I'll probably use up the ABS I have, and for future purchases I'll mostly be getting Raptor PLA for anything I want to be use in impact or stress related areas. Still will get standard PLA for the "shelf dust collecting" items though.