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ABS Material in 3D Printing - Tips and Tricks

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is used a lot in 3D printing. The material has significant properties that make it a great option, such as its strength and the fact that it is lightweight while it can handle many different chemicals as well. ABS material is also recyclable, which means that it is better for the environment than some other plastics by causing less waste.

A 3D printed housing

Main features

Durability: high
Strength: high
Material costs: low
Flexibility: low

Resistance

Heat resistance: high
Chemical resistance: high
Flame retardant: yes
Water resistance: medium

Temperatures

Nozzle / extruder: 230-260 degrees Celsius
Heated bed: 80-110 degrees Celsius
Environment: Closed chamber recommended

Downpoints

Not using a closed chamber can cause warping issues. An enclosure keeps ambient temperature fluctuations to a minimum.

Features of ABS material

3D printed structure in the material ABS and color orange

ABS material comes with a wide range of uses and applications, making it a very good material to 3D print with. Its available in every thinkable colour, while the raw color is white. It is used with a FFF (FDM) printer and is wound around a spool. The filament is unrolled during the 3D printing process.

The filament is guided into the extrusion head, which has to be heated to the point where the ABS plastic melts in order to turn it into a liquid. Once it has been liquefied, it is then deposited layer by layer onto the printing platform (build plate). One of the main features of ABS material is the fact that it is affordable, making it a type of additive manufacturing material that is favored by many industries. The cost of 3D printing with ABS has reduced significantly, because of the lapse of patents that relate to FDM technology, saving businesses and industries a considerable amount of money.

Create strong prototypes at low costs

ABS material has good physical properties, such as a high level of tensile strength and stiffness. It is used for mechanical purposes and because of its electrical properties. Heat and chemical resistance makes ABS favorable for many applications, while it is flame retardant as well.

Therefore, when it comes to printing and using a FFF 3D printer, ABS plastic is a popular choice. This is due to the way in which ABS material can be used to quickly create prototypes at a low cost and increased efficiency. Its features enable manufacturers to create 3D models that engineers and research departments can use to enhance their knowledge and make their working methods more efficient and cost effective.

3D Printed Blue Lion in ABS Material

ABS material 3D printing tips

It has already been identified that ABS material is a popular choice for many industries but it does have competitors, like PLA or PETG. ABS is created in a different way to PLA, as that is derived from corn starch (bio-degradable), which gives it a lower melting point and means that it is not or less suitable for many of the applications that ABS is used for.

When printing with ABS it is important to be mindful of the fumes that it emits when it leaves the extrusion head once it is at its melting point. These fumes could be toxic so it is important that, if you are working in the same room as the 3D printer, this space is well-ventilated.

The 3D printer extruder head starts the first layer of ABS material

1. Importance of the first layer

Warping and lift-off can be a problem and so, a good first layer is essential to a successful end result. Make sure the build platform is properly calibrated. Preferably automatically calibrated, minimizing the risk of a human mistake. The best surface for printing ABS material without any adhesives is a PEI build plate. After the 3D print is finished and the cooling process has ended, the object can be removed from the printing surface quite easily, resulting in a bottom surface that is clean and smooth.

The black heated build plate of a Tractus 3D printer

2. The heated build platform should always be on

Usually a temperature between 80 and 110 degrees will be adequate for the heated build platform when using ABS material. The larger the surface area (footprint) is of the 3D printed part, the more likely it is to have more warping forces present. Applying adhesives like hairspray can work to solve the problems, or you need to have a PEI build plate to increase the adhesion. Locate the object as close as possible to the centre of the heated print bed, because the temperature is better preserved there, decreasing the chance of warping.

Stringing issues on a blue 3D printed object of PLA material

3. Look out for stringing (temperature too high)

If the temperature is too high then commonly you will notice stringing between the parts that are separated. Because the extruder will leak small amounts of plastic when it moves between the separate areas. Should this occur, it is important for the temperature to be reduced incrementally to the point where the extruder is no longer leaking the ABS material. The recommended extruder temperature is between 230 and 260°C, depending on the filament brand and 3D printer.

Somebody is using the 3D printer screen to change the settings

4. Layers fail to adhere (temperature too low)

Should the temperature be too cold, it will result in the ABS plastic failing to stick to the previous layer, which will cause the surface to feel rough. It is also possible to find that a part does not have the required strength, and therefore can be pulled apart easily. If this occurs then the extruder (nozzle) temperature should be increased incrementally, until each layer has good line segments and the part is strong when the printing process has completed. Often the screen on a 3D printer gives you the ability to modify temperature settings directly during printing.

Black spool of ABS 3D Printer filament

5. Keep the ABS filament dry

It is important to store the ABS material correct as this will have a positive impact on the quality of the print, while also minimizing the problems that come with warping and lift-off. Therefore, after the print job is done, the filament should be stored in a container or bag that is air tight. If the filament does take on moisture, it is possible to dry it before using it for 3D printing. Unlike PLA plastic, ABS does not absorb the water as much, but you still have to consider the importance of storing it correctly.

Industries that use ABS material in 3D Printing

Many industries are taking advantage of the benefits of ABS material. It enables companies to create products which give them advantages in the way they work and the products they make.

Dark grey pipes which are made out of ABS material for drainage

Pipes and Fittings

When compared to metals and other plastics, often ABS material is the preferred choice for pipes and fittings. This is down to the fact that it is easier to install, lighter in weight and will not suffer from corrosion or rotting, especially in those instances where it is used to collect waste. ABS has a high level of durability, more so than PVC and it is resistant to impacts and breakage in situations where temperatures are low.

a Tractus3D industrial 3D printer next to a racecar

Automotive Industry

One of the main features of ABS is the fact that is lightweight and is, in fact, lighter than many other plastics. Therefore, vehicles that have ABS plastic parts installed in some way are often lighter in weight by as much as 10%, making vehicles more fuel efficient. Commonly it will be used on dashboards, wheel covers and body parts due to the way it can resist low temperatures, its strength and its surface which is rugged enough to resist scratching.

Many household appliances can be found which contain PLA material

Household Appliances

When it comes to creating household appliances, for example vacuum cleaners, ABS material is one of the most popular choices. ABS makes it possible to create parts that are rigid and durable which are properties that cannot be found in other plastics and it can be produced in a large number of colors. Due to the texture of ABS material it resists scratches and is more than capable of handling heavy use.

What do you want to create by 3D printing with ABS?

Create small and detailed parts

a FDM printing machine next to a desk

With a 3D printer on your desk you can easily create small parts and specialized tools yourself. It is far less complex than other machines, which means that you can produce more products in an efficient and simple way without the high costs. The 3D printers in our desk-series have a fast printing speed, a high accuracy and a low weight, making it easy to put on your desktop or move around.

Create strong and light weight parts

PEEK 3D printer of Tractus3D

High-performance materials, like PEEK and ULTEM® (PEI) are stronger and more resistant than other thermoplastics, making them popular in a number of engineering applications. To 3D print such materials, you need a special printer that can handle very high temperatures. The T650-P is designed for 3D printing high performance thermoplastics, which are strong and durable for long-lasting parts.

Create large parts up to 2,1 meters

Tractus3D big delta Industrial 3D printer 3D printing a big object

The ability to use 3D printing to enhance business operations, reduce costs and improve efficiency is exactly why a 3D printer has become a popular solution. If you’re looking for a way to produce detailed and big objects our large volume 3D printers are an excellent choice. They have a much larger build size than most other industrial 3D printers and can print objects fast at a high resolution.

Tractus3D printers are all capable to print ABS and over 20 other materials

Most advanced  Competitively priced  You are always covered

Durable and strong

Tractus3D is providing businesses the ability to print with ABS material, making sure that they continue to influence a wide range of industries. It has been identified that ABS has many positive features such as its strength and durability. Through the use of Tractus3D printers, it makes it possible for businesses to benefit from using this cost effective printing material.

Prototyping and manufacturing

At Tractus3D, we are proud of the fact that with our 3D printers, which easily can handle ABS plastic as a printing material, enhance the way in which products and objects are made. Of course, there are always challenges that come with using it as a printing material. But through the use of our 3Dprinters, using ABS for prototyping and manufacturing becomes a real possibility.

Stand out in your industry

Our 3D printers enable us to stand out from the crowd and prove how we are innovators in our industry. We make it possible for clients to print at a high level of accuracy and work in an efficient way that makes it easy to organize and schedule work plans and deadlines. Through the durability, rigidity and strength of ABS material it is the perfect choice for the automotive industry and many other industries that require a material which can withstand many different challenges.

However, ABS is not the only material that you can use with Tractus3D printers. There are also other materials available such as PLA, PETG, TPU, PEEK and many more.

Businessman working on a computer on a desk with a industrial Tractus3D FDM printer on it

Do you have a question about 3D printing ABS? We are there for you!

If you have any questions about 3D printing ABS material, don't hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help and to provide you with whatever assistance you need in researching the ideal 3D printer for your business - in whatever way works best for you.

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