Which filament should I choose? What are the advantages and disadvantages of ABS filament? Which ABS filament should I buy and is it the best? Many questions arise from a growing maker movement in this country. More and more 3D printers are in private use and recurring questions about the use of ABS filament arise. On this page we explain what ABS filament is, for whom it is suitable, give many tips and tricks for using ABS filament and introduce the best ABS filaments to buy.
Highlights of ABS Filament:
- Exact name : Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymers
- General classification : polymers
- Subject-specific classification : thermoplastic elastomer, copolymer
- 3D printing process : FDM
- Melting temperature : 220 to 260 degrees Celsius
- Advantages : durability, rigidity, elasticity, UV resistance, relatively easy to process,
- Disadvantages : Odor formation when heated, possible warping, must be protected from drafts (possibly by enclosing the 3D printer), can only be used for 3D printers with heating beds .
Overview of ABS Filament
The abbreviation ABS is used for various technologies. In our case we are talking about the ABS filament, which consists of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymers. In addition to PLA, this filament is most often used for 3D printing. It is even considered the “original form” of the filaments, as it was developed before PLA. ABS filaments are often used for professional applications, for example by engineers and architects for the production of prototypes or models. But hobby makers also often and gladly use this material. The reasons for this are, among other things, the strength, the flexibility, but also the higher temperature resistance of the material.
In contrast to PLA, ABS should only be processed with 3D printers that have a heated print bed (also known as a heating bed in technical jargon). This means that the work in progress does not warp so much and can be removed more easily from the printing surface.
ABS filament is also characterized by the following properties:
- Surfaces can be smoothed with acetone ,
- Objects made of ABS are usually more durable than models printed from PLA,
- ABS has a lower coefficient of friction than PLA, which is why the extruder needs less force,
- ABS filament is recyclable and classified with the recycling code 7.
Of course, acrylonitrile-butdiene-styrene copolymers are not only used in 3D printing, but are also used in the automotive, electrical and chemical industries. The Lego bricks, which are popular with children, are also made from this plastic and are sometimes “passed on” from generation to generation.
When processing ABS filaments, ensure that there is adequate ventilation, as the material gives off an intense smell of burned plastic when heated. Since the ABS filament is made from petroleum, among other things, it withstands environmental influences better than other 3D printing materials
In over 150 articles and news about filaments , we have been able to gather a wealth of experience over the years, including ABS filament. Discussions in forums, groups in social networks, personal conversations but above all our own experiences with 3D printing allow us to look back on several years of experience with ABS filament. On this page we would like to present our readers with different but above all popular and established ABS filaments that can be conveniently ordered online. For each article you will receive a rating, the price and a brief description. We would be happy to receive a short message from you about further recommendations for ABS filaments that are still missing from our list.
Best ABS Filament for Ender 3, Prusa i3, and Other 3D Printers
Below is a list of recommended ABS filaments. The recommendation results from discussions in forums, social networks and personal conversations, numerous positive online reviews and of course your own tests and attempts to print with the ABS filament.
1. SUNLU ABS Filament
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2. Kodak ABS Filament
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3. HATCHBOX ABS Filament
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4. OVERTURE ABS Filament
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5. Polymaker Polylite ABS Filament
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6. NOVAMAKER 3D ABS Filament
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7. eSUN ABS Filament
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8. Gizmo Dorks ABS Filament
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frequently asked Questions
Although we have been dealing with 3D printing ourselves since 2013 and have also realized one or two 3D objects , we have of course not yet come across all of the problems described here ourselves. We researched the questions extensively and answered the questions to the best of our knowledge and belief. Nevertheless, we assume no liability for the correctness of the information.
You can also use the comment function to ask us further questions. We will then try to provide the appropriate answers as soon as possible.
What can I do if my printed object cannot be removed from the printing surface?
First of all, the print bed should be completely cooled down. If this is the case and the object still cannot be removed, you can try acetone. This can be found in every hardware store with the painting utensils. A small amount of acetone in a spray bottle (for example, an empty and cleaned glass cleaner bottle) and carefully spray onto the lower edge of the object. If it could now be solved, take up the remaining acetone residues with a damp cloth.
If you don’t want to use acetone or don’t have it at home, you can also try to remove the object from the printing surface by steaming it.
Other makers report that they spray the printing plate with hairspray before printing. This in turn ensures good adhesion during printing, after which the objects can be easily removed. Instead of hairspray, you can also try wood glue, which should be mixed with water in a ratio of about 40:60.
The ABS filament warps when printing, what can I do?
There could be several causes for this problem. For example, the work in progress may be exposed to drafts. Here you should look for a way of better ventilation, precisely because heating the filament can create an intense smell of burned plastic.
Another possibility is to dissolve some ABS filament in acetone and apply this liquid to the glass bed (print bed) with a brush. When heated, the acetone evaporates, but this also ensures good adhesion. After cooling down, the object can also be easily removed from the glass plate. There may still be a residue of the acetone-ABS mixture that can then be easily rinsed off.
How do I best apply the wood glue to the glass plate?
As already mentioned, wood glue can also ensure good adhesion to the glass plate. To apply the glue correctly, you can proceed as follows:
First, the edges of the glass plate are masked with an adhesive tape, for example insulating tape. Then water-soluble wood glue (Ponal was recommended here) is spread on the glass plate with a brush and then peeled off with a clean ruler or other smooth object. Now you only have to carefully remove the tape and dry the glass plate. This is possible, for example, by heating the heating bed to around 100 degrees Celsius while the plate is on it. In this way, the applied layer of wood glue quickly sticks and lasts for about 1 to 2 years. Any contamination, such as grease stains from fingers, can usually be easily removed from this layer.
How can I re-glue an object printed from ABS filament?
Every now and then it happens that 3D printed objects later show a defect or break completely. So you don’t always have to throw it away, you can try to repair it first. For example, a broken piece of ABS can be reattached with superglue or acetone. If you have a 3D pen, you can also try to connect the broken parts with it again, similar to how it is done with conventional glue. If the object is not exposed to any stress and is more used for decoration, it can also be “puttied” with hot candle wax.
Can ABS also be processed with 3D printers that do not have a closed installation space?
It usually makes sense to use a printer for 3D printing with ABS filament that has a closed installation space. This means that the smell of burned plastic cannot get into the surrounding air as quickly. In addition, the property is safe from drafts. Nevertheless, many makers also use ABS filament in 3D printers that do not have a closed installation space. If you use a hobby room, for example, it shouldn’t be a big problem. In the living room, however, a closed installation space is certainly more advantageous.
If I change the filament and want to print ABS instead of PLA, will there be problems with the nozzle? What about switching from ABS to PLA?
In general, the filaments can be changed without affecting the nozzle. When changing from PLA to ABS, it is only recommended to extrude about 10 cm of ABS so that the PLA residues come out of the nozzle before they possibly char due to the higher processing temperature. However, it may be enough to push in the ABS thread manually.
Switching from ABS filament to PLA may be a bit more complicated here. Of course, you can also try to push the PLA thread here. For this, the nozzle should have cooled down a bit, since ABS filament is processed at a higher temperature than PLA.
Some users have decided to “burn out” the nozzle when changing. To do this, they chose a processing temperature of 235 for ABS and around 200 degrees Celsius for PLA. This made it easy to remove all of the old filament from the nozzle.
When changing from ABS to PLA, it is very often recommended to heat the nozzle to 240 degrees Celsius (the temperature may vary depending on the quality of the PLA) and then to extrude the PLA thread at the highest possible speed of the extruder. For this, the hotend should be switched off. The flow of material ensures that the old remaining ABS is flushed out, but that the PLA does not have enough time to char either. The PLA also ensures that the hot end is cooled. If the extruder loses steps, i.e. starts to click, the device should be switched off. ABS residues should then no longer be present in the nozzle.
It is a little more complex – but also very effective – to load some white nylon filament between the two materials. This should then be extruded until white liquid comes out of the needle. Then it should cool down and a cold pull should be carried out. Pretty much all filament residues can be removed with this.
Can 3D printed objects be painted with ABS filament? And if so, how?
Of course, ABS can also be painted. However, since the element does not have a very suitable surface for the application of paint, you should take a few preparatory measures. Some consider the material to be slightly self-lubricating, but this is certainly also related to the quality of the filament chosen. We generally recommend using high-quality filaments, as these often lead to a better print result. But back to the original question.
It makes sense to roughen the surface of the object produced and cooled with the 3D printer first, i.e. to sand it off. Then a primer or a plastic primer can be applied, preferably with a spray can. A plastic primer is a transparent adhesive primer that was specially developed for plastics. Once the primer has dried, the desired varnish can then be applied – ideally also sprayed on again. Acrylic paint can also be applied to the primer in this way.
For example, some makers recommend using Revell colors that are also used for model making. These would also cover without a primer or primer. Here too, however, the recommendation is made to lightly sand the printed object. Some makers also believe that primer, which is otherwise used in the automotive sector, can be used. Revell paint or paint from spray cans could then be applied to this. For smaller objects there is of course the possibility of applying both the primer / primer and the final layer of paint or varnish with a brush.