ABS Filament is a type of themoplastic that is known for it’s strength, temperature resistant and affordable cost. It’s great for 3D printing because it can take a lot of rough handling without breaking. If you put it under extreme heat and pressure, ABS will bend and distort before breaking.
ABS in ABS filament stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and is derived from Petroleum. It’s a filament that has these three monomer, mixed and linked together, forming the thermoplastic polymer ABS.
Table Of Contents
Understanding ABS Copolymer:
We already know that ABS is made by blending three monomers: Acrylonitrile, Butadiene, and Styrene. So now ABS manufacturer can create variety of ABS filament by adjusting the amounts of these three monomers during production. They also add some extra additives to improve its performance in 3D printing. Acrylonitrile and styrene monomers make ABS hard, while butadiene makes it impact resistant.
PROS Of Using ABS Filament:
Now let’s discuss PROS of using ABS Filament:
Strength & Toughness: ABS is a strong plastic filament. If you put something made of ABS 3D printed under severe heat or pressure, it will bend before breaking. So, if you want your 3D prints to be tough, ABS is a good choice.
Heat Resistance: ABS is known for handling high temperatures without melting, so it might be useful for prints that you might wanted to keep outdoors.
Affordability: ABS isn’t expensive. You can get a kilogram of ABS filament for as low as $15. That’s great for beginners who don’t want to spend too much.
CONS Of Using ABS Filament:
Let’s discuss cons of using ABS filament:
Smell & Odour:
ABS can sometimes give off a strong and not very pleasant smell when it’s melting to create things. This smell might bother some people, even though it’s not dangerous. So, it’s a good idea to use your 3D printer in a well-ventilated area, like near an open window, to help the smell go away faster. You can also consider using a different type of filament, like PLA, if you’d rather avoid the strong smell.
Warping is a common issue when you’re 3D printing with ABS filament. Sometimes you may notice that the edges and corners of your 3D prints lift off the printing surface especially if it’s a large-size print.
Want to know why it happens? Well the answer is simple. When the hot plastic comes out of the 3D printer and cools down, it shrinks a bit. But the first layer, which is stuck to the surface, can’t shrink. So, the other layers pull on it, and it starts bending upward, causing warping.
Not Environment Friendly:
ABS is not good for the environment, and it can make people feel sick when they use it for 3D printing. It doesn’t decompose naturally because it’s made from a type of oil called butadiene.
Sensitive To Environmental Changes:
ABS filament is sensitive to environmental changes. It can warp or deform if not printed in a controlled temperature environment, typically requiring a heated build platform.
How To Choose Best ABS Filament For 3D Printing:
When you’re picking out ABS filament for your 3D printer, there are a few important things to think about. Think of it like choosing the right colors for your painting. You want to make sure you have the right materials for the job. Let’s look at each point.
Color and Appearance: First, think about what color you want your 3D print to be. ABS filament comes in various colors, so pick the one that looks the best for your project.
Diameter: Just like how you need the right-sized brush for painting, you need the right-sized filament for your 3D printer. The most common sizes are 1.75mm and 3mm. Check which one your printer can use.
Quality: Look for ABS filament that’s known for being high-quality. It should be smooth and consistent without any bubbles or impurities.
Tolerance: This is a fancy word, but think of it like the consistency of your paint. A lower tolerance number, like +/- 0.02mm, means the filament is more consistent in size, which is good for 3D printing.
Printing Temperature: Different ABS filaments work best at different temperatures, so make sure your printer can handle the temperature range of the filament.
Compatibility: Your printer might prefer certain brands of ABS filament. Check what’s recommended for your specific 3D printer model.
Price: Different ABS filaments have different prices and mostly you will find at affordable cheap price. Choose one that fits your budget.
ABS Vs PLA Filament:
ABS and PLA are two common materials used for 3D printing. Let’s break down the differences between them side by side:
|ABS Filament||PLA Filament|
|Strength: ABS is known for its toughness and durability. It can withstand more stress and impact than PLA, making it a good choice for functional parts and items that need to be robust.||Strength: PLA is less strong and heat-resistant compared to ABS. It’s better suited for items that won’t be exposed to high stress or extreme temperatures.|
|Flexibility: ABS has some flexibility, which means it can bend a bit before breaking. This property is helpful for parts that might experience some bending or twisting.||Flexibility: PLA has limited flexibility, which means it can be prone to snapping or breaking when subjected to bending or impact forces.|
|Heat Resistance: ABS can handle higher temperatures without deforming, so it’s suitable for objects that might get hot, like car parts or electronic enclosures.||Heat Resistance: PLA has a lower heat resistance of 50-60°C (122-140°F). This makes ABS better suited for applications that require resistance to elevated temperatures.|
|Fumes and Odour: When you 3D print with ABS, it can produce some unpleasant fumes and smells. Proper ventilation is important, and it’s not recommended for use in enclosed spaces without good ventilation.||Fumes and Odour: PLA is known for producing minimal or no fumes/odours during the 3D printing process.|
|Biodegradability: ABS is not good for the environment as it doesn’t decompose naturally because it’s made from a type of oil called butadiene.||Biodegradability: PLA is made from renewable resources like cornstarch, making it biodegradable and environmentally friendly.|
When To Use ABS Filament in 3D Printing?
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, commonly known as ABS, is a popular filament material used in 3D printing. It offers a range of advantages and is ideal for specific applications. Here are some situations when you should consider using ABS filament in 3D printing:
Durability and Strength:
ABS is known for its durability and strength, making it a suitable choice for parts that need to withstand mechanical stress, such as functional prototypes, gears, or components for machinery.
ABS can withstand higher temperatures compared to some other 3D printing materials. This property makes it well-suited for parts that may be exposed to heat or need to function in a warm environment.
ABS is resistant to a variety of chemicals, which makes it a good choice for parts that may come into contact with solvents, oils, or other corrosive substances. It’s often used in the automotive and industrial sectors for this reason.
ABS is easily post-processed. You can sand, paint, or glue ABS prints, which is advantageous when aesthetics or joining multiple parts together is important. Acetone can be used to smooth the surface of ABS prints, giving them a glossy finish.
ABS is an electrical insulator. This makes it suitable for creating enclosures and cases for electronic devices, as it helps prevent electrical interference.
ABS filament is often more affordable than some other materials like nylon or polycarbonate. This makes it a cost-effective choice for large-scale or budget-conscious 3D printing projects.
Best 3D Printer Setting For ABS Filament:
Setting up a 3D printer for ABS filament can be a bit challenging, but with the right settings, you can achieve high-quality prints. ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a popular thermoplastic for 3D printing due to its strength and durability.
Here are the best 3D printer settings for ABS filament:
Set the heated bed temperature to around 100-110°C. ABS tends to warp if the bed temperature is too low, so a warm bed helps with adhesion.
The nozzle temperature should be set between 230-240°C. ABS has a high melting point, and a higher nozzle temperature ensures proper extrusion and layer adhesion.
Print Bed Adhesion:
Use a heated bed, as mentioned above, and consider applying an adhesive. Popular options include Kapton tape, blue painter’s tape, or a specialized ABS slurry. This will help the first layer adhere securely to the print bed.
Slower print speeds work better with ABS, typically in the range of 30-60 mm/s. Slower speeds reduce the chances of warping and provide better layer bonding.
A layer height of around 0.1-0.2 mm is recommended. This provides a good balance between print quality and speed.
Unlike PLA, ABS benefits from minimal cooling. You can turn off the part cooling fan or set it to a low speed (around 20%) to reduce the risk of warping. Cooling can cause differential cooling, leading to warping and layer separation.
ABS is sensitive to temperature fluctuations, so it’s a good idea to enclose your 3D printer with a cover to maintain a consistent environment. This helps prevent warping and cracking.
Raft or Brim:
When printing ABS, using a raft or a brim can be beneficial. A raft helps with bed adhesion and minimizes the chance of warping, while a brim provides extra support to the first layer.
ABS can be prone to stringing. Adjust your retraction settings to minimize stringing. A retraction distance of 1-2 mm and a retraction speed of 40-60 mm/s are good starting points.
Print ABS in a well-ventilated area or consider using an air filter. ABS can produce fumes, and proper ventilation is essential for safety and maintaining air quality.
After printing, consider post-processing methods like acetone vapor smoothing to improve the surface finish of ABS prints. It’s important to note that these settings can vary depending on your specific 3D printer, the brand of ABS filament, and your preferences. Therefore, it’s a good practice to run test prints and fine-tune your settings to achieve the best results.
FAQ For ABS Filament:
Let’s now look at some of the frequently asked questions related to ABS filament:
Is ABS a strong Filament?
Yes, ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) filament is considered a strong 3D printing filament. It has good tensile strength, impact resistance, and durability, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. However, its strength may vary depending on the printing parameters and layer adhesion.
Is ABS Filament Water Resistant?
ABS filament is not water-resistant; it can absorb moisture over time, affecting 3D printing quality.
Is ABS Filament Better For Heat?
ABS filament offers superior heat resistance compared to some 3D printing materials but may still deform at high temperatures. For extreme heat resistance, consider specialized filaments like PC or PEEK.