If you own one or more small golf discs that were 3D printed using PLA filament, this page is for you.

PLA stands for polylactic acid. It is a polyester thermoplastic made from starch, such as sugar beet pulp after it has been processed. Here is a wikipedia article about it. 

PLA is easy to print and doesn’t produce toxic fumes when printing. It is a little more brittle than one might like, but it is also stiff and that helps bring out good flight characteristics. And, it’s easy to repair with superglue.

You’ll find all kinds of information about small disc golf at the smalldiscgolf.org website.

Using Discs

Here is a page on how to throw discs. Small disc golf is new to everyone so nobody really knows the best way to throw them yet, and there are some novel and unusual ways to throw them that might work for some people and not others.

Unlike normal sized golf discs, you do not need a lot of strength to throw small golf discs. The challenge is to throw them accurately, but not being able to throw them far enough is usually not an issue for indoor play. It is harder to make them go a shorter distance under control. You might never need to throw a disc as hard as you can. Listen to Yoda: control, control, you must learn control!

In addition, you might want to write your name and the disc name on them: you’ll find that a sharpie doesn’t work. The surface of the disc has minute texture that spreads the ink out with capillary action until the original message is unreadable.

I use paint pens, but you could also use acrylic paint.

If you play with other people it is a good idea to write something identifiable on the underside of the disc.

Some discs are better indoors and some are better outdoors. In general, heavier discs with a larger diameter and/or sharper edge work better outdoors because they are a little less affected by wind. Lighter discs or discs with a thicker profile or a smooth front edge are better for indoors. Not that an outdoor disc can’t be used indoors, but indoor discs don’t work that well outdoors except in cases of practically no wind. Discs that work best outdoors also are more likely to cause damage indoors if there are fragile things on the course.

Safety Warnings

Do not let your discs get hot, such as in a car that is in the sun. They will warp and be unusable for golf.

Do not expose your discs to chemical solvents (see Cleaning Discs below).

Discs are not food-safe. Food particles get caught in the minute texture and breed bacteria (see Cleaning Discs below).

Discs are large enough to not be a choking hazard for people or pets, but if a discs breaks it could have sharp edges. Use caution when handling broken discs. Keep PLA discs away from dogs who might chew one up and swallow pieces.

Do not let small children put discs in their mouth because the discs are not sanitary while in use. (see Cleaning Discs below).

Do not throw discs at people. Despite their small size a disc is capable of causing serious damage to someone’s eyes or teeth. Discs can ricochet after they are thrown if they hit an object.

Do not burn PLA plastic discs.

PLA plastic discs are not compostable with kitchen scraps. They can be composted at high temperature (about 150 degrees).

Things To Avoid

These will quickly damage or destroy discs.

  • Avoid throwing discs on the street or a playground with a concrete or asphalt surface
  • Avoid throwing discs where they could hit very hard objects like concrete, stone, steel, chains, etc. Trees and wood are typically fine.
  • Avoid throwing discs directly at objects at close range
  • Avoid dogs that chase flying discs

Repairing Discs

PLA discs are usually easy to repair with superglue. I keep superglue handy when I play small disc golf.

PLA discs crack before they break. You can tell it is cracked by the way it sounds when it hits something. It might fly about as well as usual even with a small crack, so listen for the sound of the crack.

It is much, much better to repair a disc with superglue before a crack becomes a complete break.

When it is just a crack you can gently spread the crack open just a hair so that superglue follows the crack back to its origin. Then let go and the disc closes down on the crack and holds itself in place while the glue dries. Thinner superglue works better than thicker superglue because it has faster and better capillary action to penetrate the crack.

Do not use epoxy or polyurethane glue on PLA discs. You won’t be happy with the results.

Some kinds of damage cannot be repaired, for example, dogs can destroy a disc in seconds. Dogs are OB! You can print more discs using downloadable models you find in this disc library.

Cleaning Discs

You can soak discs in alcohol or soapy water or a combination of the two to clean and disinfect them. A dish sponge is fine the the plastic could be scratched by some pot scrubbers.

Discs probably only rarely need cleaning unless they land in something, such as breakfast. Or second breakfast.

Links on This Page

In case you have a printed version of this page, here are the links embedded in the text:

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