PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol) is a water-soluble material that is often used as a support material, but can also be used to print independently. PVA supports are useful for complex designs where removing support material manually is difficult or impossible, but leaving the part in a water bath overnight will completely dissolve this material.
PLA is a favorite filament in the 3D printing world, and shared common printing temperature with PVA. PLA is also hydrophobic, meaning it doesn't absorb water, which means you don't risk affecting your parts by submerging them in a water bath to dissolve your supports. PVA and PLA also share a very similar glass transition temperature which is very helpful as you are not printing two materials next to each other at heavily varying temperatures. PVA prints translucent with a slightly yellow tint. It is most often used on 3D printers with dual extruders, with one extruder printing a primary material (such as ABS or PLA) and the other printing this easily-dissolved material to provide support for overhanging features.
PVA filament is easy to print with due to it's low melting temperature of 185°C, which also make it a perfect match with PLA, which has very similar printer settings. The only special characteristic to keep in mind is that PVA is very hygroscopic, meaning it very easily absorbs water from the atmosphere. Best practices for managing this include storing the filament in a sealed container or drying it in an oven before printing.
Check out the video above or read our article on How to Succeed When 3D Printing with PVA Filament
A full suit of T-60 Power Armor printed with PVA supports
This Power Armor is ready to take on the Wasteland!