Friday, May 24, 2013

PLA Filament Ear Plug

I've got an ear piercing that needs a reasonably-sized plug in it, and I thought I'd use my own company's PLA 3D printer filament to make one. So I took a few samples of 3mm PLA (just hit Diamond Age up for freebies folks!), held them lined up in my fingers, and applied a small blowtorch flame to the free ends to soften them. When they went soft, I squeeze them together and they weld nicely. When you get the temperature right, it welds to itself into a glorious technicolour ribbon, not to your fingertips - practice and keep a bowl of nice, icy cold water handy!

When warmed and soft, the PLA ribbon can be cut with scissors, wrapped around paintbrush handles, squished against flat glass surfaces etc. and generally worked over. So now I can make ear plugs of whatever size I need, depending on how my piercings stretch out.

I've been wearing a cruder version for a month, and the PLA has shown no sign at all of degradation when worn against my skin, so premature biodegrading is not an issue . In fact, the PLA plug is cleaner and my ear more comfortable than the titanium plug in the other ear. I'm wondering what else I can make with it. Ⓥ