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Last updated 7 months ago
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Basic info

ABS is a technical material suitable for printing mechanically stressed parts, thanks to its high tenacity and temperature resistance. Its surface can be smoothed with acetone. The main disadvantage is significant warping and toxic fumes.
 
Recommended nozzle temperature: 255 °C 
 
Recommended bed temperature: 100 °C, you can set the bed temperature between 80 to 110 °C depending on the size of an object (larger object means higher temperature).
 
Heatbed: Use the smooth or powder-coated PEI sheet with a glue stick.

Description

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is basically a predecessor of ASA. ABS is generally used for making inexpensive, sturdy mechanical parts (LEGO bricks, car parts, cellphone parts, etc.). The material is tenacious and temperature resistant - this makes it suitable for engineering parts, etc. Compared to ASA, there is slightly worse UV resistance and more significant warping and odor during printing. Note that ABS parts used outdoor turn yellowish and more brittle over time.

ABS printing requires specific conditions for successful results. It’s important to run the prints in a well-ventilated room because the material releases fumes and substances that could pose a potential health risk. However, when ventilating the room, do not create a draft around the print – this will negatively impact the result.

To compare supported material properties, see our material table.

Pros

Cons

✔ High tenacity & mechanical resistance

✖ Significant warping

✔ High temperature-resistance

✖ Requires printer enclosure

✔ Easy postprocessing

✖ Potentially dangerous fumes (styrene)

✔ Possibility of acetone smoothing and gluing

 

Best use

The best use of ABS is for printing cheap technical parts requiring good heat and mechanical resistance or parts that need to be acetone smoothed.

Tips for successful printing

Try to keep a high ambient temperature

The bed should be heated at least up to 100 °C, printer should be inside an enclosure with higher ambient temperature. If you don’t have an enclosure, there’s one simple alternative: in PrusaSlicer, set the skirt value as high as possible. This will keep the model slightly warmer and mitigate the warping. Printing inside an enclosure can lead to deformation of the fan shroud and other plastic parts. This can affect the printer functionality. In case your plastic parts tend to deform, we recommend printing them from a more temperature resistant material, for example Prusament PC Blend.

Shrinkage

You should keep in mind that ABS-printed parts tend to shrink slightly after cooldown. We recommend printing a testing object and comparing it with a source model. The shrinkage factor of this material is somewhere around 1-2%.

Removing prints

When removing prints with a large surface area, it is very important to let the part and sheet cool properly. You may have to assist the process using a spatula. Be gentle when flexing the sheet and removing the print as the smooth PEI foil can tear.

Printing with HIPS

If you print with MMU2S, you can use HIPS for printing supports - this material has similar print settings to ABS and can be easily dissolved in limonene.

Chemical smoothing

ABS can be sanded wet and dry and smoothed with acetone fumes, just like ASA (see more in our article about chemical smoothing)

Sample prints

Lego bricksAcetone smoothed model
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