What HIPS filament – but also the basic material polystyrene – is used for, you will learn in this article. At the same time, we also explain to you the advantages and disadvantages of the material.
Where can I buy HIPS filament?
Of course, you can buy HIPS filament in the stores you know or on Amazon. Here you can see a small selection of HIPS on Amazon:
* Stand: 2022-09-25 / Bilder: Amazon API
If you are interested in more HIPS, please visit the following page:
HIPS Filament – What actually is HIPS? Is the base material only a support material?
HIPS can be used with 3D printers that work with FDM or FFF technology. At the same time, it is lighter in weight than ABS and PLA, but has a smooth and scratch-resistant surface. The abbreviation HIPS stands for High Impact Polystyrene. Polystyrene PS is one of the world’s oldest thermoplastics. The material is formed by polymerization of monomeric styrene. Among other applications, the material is used in 3D printing as HIPS filament. Here it is used above all for the production of support structures for overhanging objects. Apart from that, there are numerous other applications for polystyrene.
What are the advantages of HIPS in 3D printing?
Polystyrene is actually a transparent, crystal clear element with a glossy surface. Especially for 3D printing, it is definitely an advantage to be able to color the filament.
HIPS has similar properties to ABS, but is significantly lighter. At the same time, it also offers very high hardness and impact strength. It dissolves easily in various chemicals, including limonene. This is especially crucial as a support material in 3D printing. When using the D-limonene solvent, be aware that it is highly flammable, irritant and at the same time hazardous to the environment. Wearing gloves is therefore strongly recommended. Since vapors are also generated during 3D printing of ABS and HIPS, proper ventilation should be ensured during processing of these filaments. You yourself should be careful not to inhale the vapors, as they can cause irritation of the respiratory tract as well as the eyes.
Polystyrene and thus also HIPS is resistant to alkalis, mineral oil and acids. Its heat resistance and strength, as well as hygienic properties, make it versatile. Among other things, it is a cost-effective injection molding material.
When using HIPS filament, it makes sense to use a 3D printer with two extruders. For example, ABS filament should be used for the main structure, while the support structure is printed from HIPS filament. The finished object should then be allowed to cool completely before it is separated from the print bed using a spatula, etc. and placed in D-limonene solvent. Here, the support structure is washed out, while the main structure consisting of ABS is not attacked.
What are the disadvantages of HIPS filament?
In terms of processing, HIPS is roughly comparable to ABS. Warping can occur here, which in most cases can be controlled with a heating bed and a closed installation space. Of course, the vapors that may occur during printing also have a disadvantageous effect.
What are the applications for HIPS filament?
HIPS is mainly used as a support material in 3D printing. This makes it easier to realize overhangs of printed objects and they remain dimensionally stable until they cool down. Of course, it may also be possible to make smaller objects directly from HIPS filament. However, these should not come into contact with solvents later.
However, polystyrene is also used in the packaging and food industries. For example, disposable plastic tableware and cutlery are made of this material. DVD and CD cases as well as building materials (the latter in the foamed state) are also made of polystyrene. Housings of electronic assemblies and insulating parts are also made of this material. This is due, among other things, the excellent strength, heat resistance and also hygienic properties of the material.
What settings are used to print HIPS filament?
We would like to say in advance that these are only general recommendations. It will probably take you a while to find the ideal settings for processing HIPS filament in a new 3D printer.
- Pressure temperature: about 235 degrees Celsius,
- Temperature of the heating bed: 90 – 110 degrees Celsius,
- Printing speed: 40 to 80 mm/s
Some other important data
- Material density: Low (about 1.04 g/cm³),
- Building material class: B2, normal flammability,
- Dimensional stability: Up to a maximum of 85 degrees Celsius,
- UV resistance: fading under long-term UV influence,
- Elongation at break: 8 to 10 percent.
Is a heated print bed (heatbed) required in the 3D printer for HIPS filament?
Yes, a heating bed is required for 3D printing of the HIPS filament. If such a filament were not available, it would be very difficult to bond the two filaments – in our case ABS and HIPS. The supporting function would thus be lost.
Can HIPS filament be glued? If so, which adhesive is recommended?
Yes, HIPS filament can be glued, according to various manufacturers. Commercially available plastic adhesives should be used for this purpose. However, we have not yet tried this out ourselves, so we cannot pass on any empirical values.
How can HIPS filament be post-processed?
HIPS filament can be post-processed using various measures. Very effective is, for example, sandblasting, sanding, as well as painting (with acrylic varnish) of the finished object. Just as with ABS, smoothing with acetone is also possible. However, we advise you to be extremely careful, because acetone is highly flammable. You should therefore proceed with caution when steaming. If in doubt, get help from a professional who has dealt with acetone several times.
As already mentioned, Limonene can also be used for finishing. Although these contain many natural components (such as those found in orange peels), it is still a chemical that must be handled with appropriate care. If larger parts have been produced with a HIPS support structure that is now to be removed, it makes sense to break off the bulkier part by hand, thereby saving time and, above all, solvent. This is not exactly cheap to buy and – as already mentioned – also has some negative features.
What should I pay attention to when storing HIPS filament?
Filaments should generally be stored dry and protected from light. Until their first use, you should leave them in their original packaging. Later you can store them, for example, in plastic boxes that can be closed with a lid, and in plastic bags. However, you should also close the latter. To prevent the filament from drawing moisture, you can add a few packets of silicate to each plastic bag. This absorbs the moisture.
You should be especially careful when using solvents such as limonene or acetone. You should store them separately and securely, preferably in a lockable cabinet or on a shelf mounted on the upper part of the wall that is not easily accessible. This is especially important if there are (younger) children in your household. At the same time, you should educate the children about the dangers of the solvents, but also of the filaments themselves.