ABS is a very strong and versatile material with great thermal resistance. It’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
ABS is a thermoplastic polymer; that means that just like PLA, it can be melted and crystallized multiple times without degrading too much. ABS, however, melts at a higher temperature than PLA. Higher melting temperature gives ABS great thermal resistance; your prints won’t show signs of deformation up to 98°C.
ABS includes high wear-resistance synthetic rubber, which makes it very strong and impact resistant. And, last but not least, it’s soluble in acetone! This makes it really easy not only to connect multiple ABS-printed parts together but also allows you to smoothen prints with acetone vapors. You still have to be careful when handling acetone, but it’s not anywhere near as dangerous as for example PLA solvents.
On the other hand, thermal contraction is where ABS makes it really hard to successfully print something. And that’s especially true when printing anything big. Even with the heatbed at 100°C, your part may start lifting from the build plate and warp. This, and the unpleasant smell of ABS, is why you should consider getting an enclosure for your printer when printing with ABS. Or at least place the printer in a warm room.
If you need to use your print outside, or just need your print stronger, give ABS a shot. After all, it’s what LEGO is made of.
|High impact & heat resistance||Bad odor|
|Strong & versatile||Worse resolution|
|Soluble in acetone (easy post-processing)||Needs warm room or enclosure|
|Can be vapor smoothed|