Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is one of the first materials that was ever used in 3D printing. Thanks to its low cost and good mechanical properties, it remains a popular choice. Prints made with ABS allow for strong, stable parts that can withstand ‘snap’ connections – for example, things like LEGO blocks. Able to withstand high temperatures before it starts to deform, ABS is popular for outside uses where the printed projects are exposed to sunlight.
- Bed Temperature: 95 -110 °C
- Heated bed required
- Enclosure required
- Build Surface: Kapton Tape, ABS Slurry
- Extruder: Temperature 220-250 °C
- Cooling: No fan required
Best Practices and Tips
One of the biggest issues that ABS can cause is warping as the print cools. The material shrinks and contracts – not always at even rates either. This can even cause the print to separate from the print bed when the first layer is affected, which ruins the entire print. To avoid this best as possible, keep the heating bed at a minimum of 100 °C.
Changing the temperature mid-print can also help – maintain a higher a built temperature for the first few layers before lowering it down to the recommended temperature. A good enclosure also helps maintain an even temperature, which can prevent warping. Make sure that your project cools slowly and evenly for the best possible result.
Tip: Never print with ABS in an enclosed space – the fumes it creates are not only quite horrible to smell but can even be harmful in larger quantities. Always ventilate the area well and wear safety equipment where needed. Some 3D printers have built-in HEPA filters – if yours doesn’t, look for an aftermarket solution.
If you want to improve bed adhesion for your ABS project – one of the more challenging problems for beginners – consider using an ABS slurry. This is made by mixing ABS filament with acetone and pouring small amounts onto the print bed. Alternatively, you may also be able to purchase a pre-made slurry.
Tip: If you’re printing something that needs a support structure, consider PLA – it doesn’t adhere to ABS very strongly and still provides the necessary stability.
- Wear- and impact-resistant
- Solid head resistance
- Suitable for beginners thanks to low stringing and smooth finish
- Prone to warping
- Heated bed/chamber required to use
- Extremely foul smell while printing and cooling
- Printed parts shrink, which can make parts inaccurate, size-wise
These are the basics of 3D printing with ABS as a filament – let us know your experiences with the material. Have you tried it? What did you print, and how did it turn out?