ABS Filament – What are its properties? How to print?

In this article I will introduce you to the most popular 3D printer filament after PLA: ABS. You’ll learn what makes the material tick, the pros and cons of ABS, and also where you can buy ABS to fill out your stock.

Where can I buy ABS filament?

Here you will first find a small selection of ABS:

eSun 3D Drucker Filament ABS 1,75mm 1kg GRAU
eSun 3D Drucker Filament ABS 1,75mm 1kg GRAU
ABS Material mit hoher Schlagfestigkeit und Oberflächenhärte; Es ist hitzebeständiger als PLA und nachbearbeitbar (Drehen, Fräsen uvm.)
ICE FILAMENTS, ABS Filament, 3D Drucker Filament, 1.75mm, 0.75kg, Young Yellow (Gelb)
ICE FILAMENTS, ABS Filament, 3D Drucker Filament, 1.75mm, 0.75kg, Young Yellow (Gelb)
Hohe Schlagzähigkeit; Extra stark; Stabile Verwendung; Leicht und dauerhaft; Geringer Verzug im Vergleich zu anderen ABS Filamente
16,94 EUR

* Stand: 2022-09-25 / Bilder: Amazon API

If you would like to have a look at the current bestsellers, please visit the following page:

Buy ABS Filament – The current bestsellers

What is ABS?

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a terpolymer. This means that a polymer consists of three different monomers. This mixture consists of acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene in varying proportions. Each of these monomers serves to give ABS an advantage:

  • Acrylonitrileoffers chemical and thermal stability,
  • Butadieneincreases toughness and impact strength and
  • Styrenegives the plastic a beautiful and shiny surface.

Variations in the relative proportions of the individual monomers can logically lead to changes in the physical properties of ABS. The proportions of the individual monomers can vary from 15% to 35% acrylonitrile, 40% to 60% styrene and 5% to 30% butadiene, resulting in a variety of plastic products suitable for different applications.

ABS plastics became widely used in the 1950s. The variability of copolymers and the ease of processing made ABS one of the most popular engineering polymers. ABS is one of the most widely used and versatile thermoplastics due to its superior hardness, toughness, gloss, electrical and chemical resistance. As a bridging polymer whose properties lie between standard plastics and high-performance engineering thermoplastics, ABS has become the best-selling engineering thermoplastic.

Click here now ➡ if you Buy ABS Filament want

Advantages of ABS Filament

ABS filament is considered the second most popular material after PLA. This is due on the one hand to the fact that these materials have been “with us” from the beginning, so to speak, and on the other hand also to the advantages presented here.

Very robust and hard

You run into a child’s room (no matter whose child’s room) and what happens after no more than three steps?

Yeah, you step on a Lego brick and… We know the rest.

ABS is simply very robust and hard, which makes it used for many purposes that require these properties, just like the Lego bricks. In addition, this makes the material suitable for functional components that are subjected to high loads.

High melting point

The high melting point of ABS ensures that high temperatures do not affect the material as they do other materials (for example PLA).

Longer life

The above-mentioned chemical composition has created a material that is designed for high durability. While other materials can quickly become brittle, this is not the case with ABS until much later.

Disadvantages of ABS Filament

Despite the advantages that distinguish the material for many uses, you should also look at the disadvantages before you order ABS filament directly now.

Odor and fumes during printing

If you are sitting in a basement room with no ventilation options or windows and want to print ABS, you should either think twice or work out a solution because ABS filament emits fumes during the printing process. The good thing (in terms of recognizability) is that these also smell very strong. I myself do not print ABS since my tests in the early days, because I am very sensitive to it, despite ventilation and filters. If you have small children or pets, I would either go to the basement for ABS printing or not let anyone in a room with the printer. In addition, ABS is not suitable for use with food.

More difficult to print, warping

ABS is considered difficult to print because it warps relatively quickly if the printing conditions are not optimal. If you don’t have a closed build space, you may be able to print ABS, but in many cases it will cause problems sooner or later. It can work up to a point, however, an open door with a small draft can negate the complete pressure.

Warping 3D printing error
A frequently occurring 3D printing error is the so-called warping

Application examples for ABS filament

ABS itself is used, among other things, for the production of many household appliances, but also for parts in the automotive and electrical industries. For example, housings of electrical appliances and computers are made of ABS, but the surfaces of espresso and other coffee machines have also been finished with this material.

ABS filament can be used, for example, for the production of prototypes, but also for the series production of plastic elements in vehicles. At the same time, in addition to Lego bricks, other toys can be printed from this material, such as figures, towers, vehicles and the like. There are hardly any limits to your imagination here.

What settings are used to print ABS filament?

It should be mentioned in advance that the information provided here is only recommendations. Whether they can be realized in this way depends, among other things, on the exact composition of the ABS filament, but also on the 3D printer used. An enclosed build space is generally recommended, but that doesn’t stop anyone from trying – and actually making it – without one.

Settings you can use as a guide:

  • Pressure temperature: 200 to 250 degrees Celsius,
  • Temperature of the print bed (heating bed): 100 to 110 degrees Celsius,
  • Print speed: approx. 40 mm/s to 80 mm/s

Is a heated print bed (heatbed) required in the 3D printer for ABS filament?

Yes, to be able to process ABS, a heated print bed is essential. It ensures that the material, whose softening temperature is between 110 and 125 degrees Celsius, can be optimally processed.

Can ABS filament be glued? If so, which adhesive is recommended?

There are a few ways to glue materials made of ABS. However, conventional superglues are often not sufficient here, as they often “bleed out”. However, there are some adhesives that provide a strong bond between ABS and other materials.

For example, ABS can be bonded very well with ABS using a solvent. Methyl isobutyl ketone, methyl ethyl ketone, butanone and dichloromethane (methylene chloride) may be mentioned as examples. The adhesive surfaces should be cleaned beforehand and allowed to dry. The bonding surfaces should then be coated once and allowed to air briefly before being pressed together. You can improve the viscosity of the solvent by adding some ABS granules beforehand.

If methyl ethyl ketone is used for bonding, be aware that it is both irritant and highly flammable. Corresponding instructions and safety data sheets of the manufacturer must be observed. ABS can also be placed in acetone and softened slightly. You can then fix this and let it dry for about 10 hours at 20 degrees Celsius. The same also applies to solvent-based adhesives containing athyacetate, cyclohexanone or even dichloroethylene.

If ABS is to be bonded to a rubber substrate, it is advisable to use a solvent-based plastic adhesive based on nitrile rubber.

If ABS is to be bonded to other materials – for example, steel, copper, aluminum, brass, rigid PVC, glass or ceramics – it is advisable to use a 2-component epoxy resin-based plastic adhesive. Before that, the surfaces should be dried, roughened and cleaned with methanol. They should be allowed to flash off briefly after application. Since it takes only about 3 to 5 minutes to glue the elements, the joined parts can be loaded after a short time.

Superglue can also be used for smaller areas, especially if ABS is to be bonded to brass or aluminum. Both surfaces must be roughened and cleaned with solvent beforehand. Here, it is best to opt for medium-viscosity cyanoacrylate adhesives based on ethyl cyanoacrylate. Incidentally, the same applies to superglue pens, which are often used in model making and in the workshop at home.

Metal bonding can also be achieved with classic VHB adhesive tape. An additionally used adhesion promoter increases the adhesive strength on critical surfaces, which undoubtedly include ABS. If, for example, decorative trim is to be applied, adhesive tapes with transfer adhesive are a means of choice. Adhesive tapes, on the other hand, are not suitable for force-transmitting bonding.

Another very effective adhesive is methacrylate. If the surfaces are well prepared and cleaned in advance, it can be assumed that the material itself is more likely to be damaged than the bond to give way.

How can ABS filament be post-processed?

Objects made from ABS filament are usually very easy to rework. This is due to the soft surface hardness and high impact resistance of the fabric. For example, it is possible to saw it, mill it, paint it, glue it, sand it and drill holes in it.

ABS can be reworked particularly effectively with acetone. This ensures a particularly smooth surface. However, extreme caution must be exercised, as acetone is highly flammable. Therefore, steaming should be done with extreme caution. If you have not done this before, it is better to get help from a professional who has worked with acetone several times.

What should I pay attention to when storing ABS filament?

As with other filaments, you should take care to store ABS filament in a dry place. Until their first use, the coils should remain in their original packaging. After that, you can easily store the started filament spools in sealable plastic bags, to which you add, among other things, a few sachets of drying granules – also known as silica. Of course, you can also use vacuum bags for storing the started filament spools, from which the air has been extracted with a vacuum cleaner tube. You should store the bags with the started filament rolls again in a stable plastic box or also in a cardboard box. These are best stored away from light.