ABS filament; Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene for strength and flexibility
By Site editors - Disclosure - Price update: 2020 February 21 -
ABS, the abbreviation for one of the most widely used 3D printing materials, stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. It is a petroleum-based plastic and a popular choice mainly because of its high strength and nice flexibility.
ABS has different properties that can be seen as an advantage but also as a disadvantage. During printing the ABS thermoplastic is melted at a temperature between 437 and 482 degrees F (225 and 250 degrees Celsius) and the odor of the molten thermoplastic also smells like real molten plastic. This is important to know if you want to print next or near the work place.
ABS falls under recycle group 7, meaning that ABS objects can be recycled. However, one disadvantage is that it is very expensive to recycle, so only very few organizations will take ABS products for recycling. If environmental friendliness is an important feature you're looking for, then go for PLA.
ABS is a hard thermoplastic that is impact resistant and has a high melting temperature. The unique property of ABS is that aside from being hard it is also very flexible and that is something you do not often see in hard thermoplastic. Because of this, ABS is most often used to make hard and solid products like car bumpers and Lego bricks.
ABS is known as an excellent print material for more advanced 3D printers. When people talk about ABS and 3D printing, then ABS filament is meant.
The word filament is derived from the Latin word filum, which means wire. When people talk about 3D print material filament, then the 'ink' of the 3D printer is meant which is usually made of thermal plastic.
Advantages of printing with ABS filament:
• Higher melting point, so that your creations will not deform under high temperatures;
• Flexibility makes the creation of interlocking pieces easier.
Disadvantages of printing with ABS filament:
• Long cooling period, making models more prone to warping;
• Fumes during printing.
ABS versus PLA filament
ABS and PLA are the most common 3D filaments and with both you can create beautiful 3D models. If your object needs to be sturdy, opt for ABS which is formed at high temperatures, so that robust objects can be created. PLA is especially good for projects where previous colors were needed. In fact, PLA filament is available in many different colors. PLA also gives your objects a glossy look. If this not want you want, then opt for ABS.
Check out our Special about PLA for more information about this...