Know Your Filament - ABS
What is ABS?
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is one of the most popular plastics. We use ABS plastics in our daily life, be it your car, your appliances, computer, TV, Kids Bicycle… It is one of the popular plastics in Injection molding. Before ABS, Bakelite was used extensively. ABS became available in the 1940s and was instantly marketed as an alternative to Bakelite. But it wasn’t until the 1950‘s it became the plastic material worldwide. Its variability of copolymers and ease of processing has led to this plastic becoming the most popular of the engineering polymers.
It is made from the monomers Acrylonitrile, Butadiene and Styrene – the basis is petroleum. While its increased toughness over styrene made it suited for many applications, its limitations led to the introduction of rubber (butadiene) as a third monomer and hence was born the range of materials popularly referred to as ABS plastics. ABS can be processed easily, can be painted, can be electroplated. ABS can be injection molded, extruded and can be vacuum formed.
ABS Filaments & Benefits
When it comes to 3D printing Filaments PLA and ABS are two popular filaments. PLA filaments are very easy to use and you need not have great knowledge of using PLA filament. If you follow the guidelines of the filament manufacturer you will succeed. PLA does not need any special type of printers. Any open type printers can do your job.
ABS, on the other hand, is a difficult filament to print. As a thermoplastic polymer, it can melt and cool without altering its chemical properties. That makes it an interesting 3D printer filament. There are some companies like Zortrax, which have dedicated 3D printers for the material.Mechanical Properties:
ABS is known for its strong, tough, and its durability. ABS offers good resistance to heat. It can withstand pressure and stress. If you need any assembly parts which require self-locking, ABS is the best material.
Easy Post Processing:
ABS can be post-processed easily using Acetone. The parts can be painted easily. You can glue parts easily.
Drawbacks for ABS Filament
To 3D print ABS filament, you need proper temperature management. It needs to cool slowly, otherwise, you get split layers or cracks in your prints. If you use the 3D printer with enclosure, you may have a better chance of a perfect print.
This is an issue with ABS filament. The object tends to warp when using ABS filament. This will be more predominant when your object with the big bottom surface (standing surface)
ABS during printing emit fumes and foul smell. Fumes during the melting processing may cause eye, skin irritation. Not recommended to use in 3D Pens.
How to succeed when printing with ABS filaments?
Use closed Printer:
Before printing ensure that the 3D printer is closed or ensure that your ambient temperature is too hot or cold.
Use a heated bed:
Heat the bed to 110oC. Instead of printing on the glass bed it is better to print with Kapton/ PET tape. This makes it easier to clean the bed after you’ve been printing for a while, as you can simply remove the tape, clearing any leftover adhesive or filament. If you are printing directly on the glass make sure that you use some adhesive. The most commonly used are glue sticks, ABS slurry or hair spray.
Getting Temperature right:
In ABS filament printing getting the right temperature is very important. Set your nozzle temperature to 230oC and then adjust the temperature 5oC up or down until you get a good print.
If the temperature is too high you will see strings between two separated part or the plastic will leak from the nozzle. You should reduce the temperature by 5oC. If the temperature is too cold, you will see either the layer is not sticking together or the printed surface is rough. You should increase the temperature by 5oC.
Printed part warped (Curled):
- Ensure the build plate is leveled correctly. ...
- Use a heated build plate. The best way to avoid warping is by using a heated build plate. ...
- Apply an adhesive. ...
- Use a brim.
- Adjust the initial layer settings. ...
- Use the fan settings properly. ...
- Print with a draft shield.
Finishing ABS printed parts
ABS is dissolvable in acetone and this characteristic is sometimes used to smooth the surface of a 3D Print. Sanding an ABS print and then wiping it with acetone will dissolve the outer layer, essentially smoothing it by reducing the visibility of layers in the print. You can get a smooth finish using acetone vapor. You need to take care during this process.
Originally from DIY Perks Channel
ABS can finish with acrylic paints. After sanding, fill the gaps and holes with ABS slurry. Smoothen with sandpaper, apply primer and finish with the paint.
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