3D Printing with ABS
ABS 3D printer filament is a popular choice for rigid designs and prints. ABS holds up well, is cost-effective and can be used in both prototyping and end-use objects like toy building blocks.
What is ABS 3D Printer Filament?
ABS, or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is a staple in the 3D printing industry. It was one of the first 3D printing materials around, and today, it’s widely available in lots of colors and styles. This cost-effective filament is used by consumers and professionals for applications that require durability. They trust it’s going to work.
Because it can withstand outdoor elements and high temperatures, it’s rigid. If you’re looking for something with a bit more give, a tough yet flexible TPU like Armadillo® might be the way to go.
ABS Uses & Applications
When you think of an ABS 3D printer filament object, think of kids’ building blocks. They are light in your hand, yet durable and impact resistant. There are a number of possibilities for these durable objects, such as automotive, electrical component casings and other end-use parts.
Printing with FDM means you’ll have some visible layering, but ABS holds up well to post-process sanding and polishing to achieve a glossy finish. You can find ABS in a variety of colors and performance strengths for your creations.
How to print with ABS
ABS is an affordable and high-performing 3D material for one-off print jobs and mass-production prints. The most important printing advice for ABS filament is to set up in a well-ventilated area because ABS gives off a pungent odor (like burnt plastic) while printing.
Temperature: Start with a heated bed. ABS prints at high temperatures, so begin your print at 220°C to 230°C, increasing or decreasing by five degrees until you find the right balance.
Common issues: ABS is prone to warping and/or cracking because it solidifies quickly. If you’re seeing the bottom edges of your print curl upward, you’ll want to ensure the first layer has firm adhesion to the print bed and that the bed is hot enough. Make sure the print bed is free from dust and debris. You can also try an adhesive or print inside an enclosure to better regulate the temperature. Check out our Troubleshooting Guide for common print issues and fixes.
Properties of ABS: Pros & Cons
Pros of ABS
- Tough and durable
- Heat resistant (up to 100°C)
- Large variety of colors and styles
- Easy to post-process for smooth finish
Cons of PLA
- Prone to warping and cracking
- Strong odor during printing that requires a well-ventilated workspace
- No flexibility
- Can fade in sunlight
FAQs about ABS
Is ABS toxic?
Yes. The fumes that come from ABS while printing are harmful, which is why you need a ventilated workspace during and after printing. When shopping for ABS, be sure to adhere to all safety guidelines during printing and end-use of the projects you create.
How strong is 3D-printed ABS?
ABS will produce strong and durable parts that withstand impact, outdoor elements, many chemicals and even temperatures up to 100°C.
What is the print speed for ABS?
The print speed of ABS 3D printer filament varies by brand, but usually falls between 30-100 mm/sec. Because ABS is prone to warping, you’ll want to slow down the print speed on your first layer to about 70% to ensure a good print bed adhesion.