ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is another commonly used 3D printer material. Best used for making durable parts that need to withstand higher temperatures. In comparison to PLA filament, ABS plastic is less “brittle” and more “ductile.” It can also be post-processed with acetone to provide a glossy finish. When 3D printing with ABS filament, a heated printing surface is recommended, as ABS plastic will contract when cooled leading to warped parts. ABS filament is available in both 1.75mm and 3mm diameter sizes.
ABS Filament Properties:
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.
- Great mechanical properties: The material is known to be strong, tough and durable. It is also forgiving to scratches, offers good resistance to heat and everyday chemicals. It can endure heat, pressure and stress like no other home 3D printer material, making it a great choice for „wear and tear“ prints. You can try this out yourself: If you move a strain of ABS filament, will distort and bend before breaking. PLA breaks much more easily.
- Great results: It’s quite forgiving, as long as you print with the right settings and a proper temperature management. You can even achieve overhangs of around 45 degrees. If the print succeeds, the results are very convincing.
- Easy to process: Most makers like the material because you can process its surfaces with acetone, glue parts and even file off some material. Lastly, it can be easily painted with acrylic colors.