How To Succeed When Printing With ABS


What’s ABS filament? ABS is among the mostly used and versatile supplies out there in 3D printing right now. Whereas it is slightly trickier to print with when in comparison with PLA, the payoff is price it – studying to print effectively with ABS is crucial if you would like robust, heat-resistant components.

What’s ABS?

ABS or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is a typical thermoplastic. ABS filament is among the hottest sorts of 3D printing filament as a consequence of its versatility and energy, and is commonly used for injection molding and merchandise like Lego, devices, sports activities gear and extra.

Getting that first layer proper

As we mentioned in our PLA article, getting the primary layer down is a very powerful a part of the print. Listed below are the important thing factors:

  1. You want the print mattress (or print floor) to be stage
  2. You want the extruder to be homed to the right peak from the mattress.
  3. You want an excellent adhesive to help your ABS in sticking to the mattress.
  4. And naturally, ensuring that your extruder is heated to the correct temperature.

Lego bricks constituted of ABS

Printing on glass with Kapton/PET tape

With a purpose to print with ABS, you want a temperature managed mattress. The beneficial mattress temperature for ABS is 110°C.

As a substitute of printing straight on the glass, it’s higher to print with Kapton/PET tape. This makes it simpler to scrub the mattress after you’ve been printing for some time, as you possibly can merely take away the tape, clearing any leftover adhesive or filament. For directions on making use of Kapton tape see the video under or learn our article: Mattress Surfaces – Easy methods to apply Kapton Tape

Having your mattress stage and extruder on the proper peak is extraordinarily necessary when printing on tape.  In case your extruder is simply too removed from the glass your ABS merely won’t stick. If the extruder is simply too low the glass it would fully block the extrusion of fabric and will trigger a jam after prolonged durations.

You also needs to just remember to have an adhesive of some type. ABS requires one thing to bind itself to throughout the first layer of the print. Probably the most generally used adhesives are glue sticks, ABS slurry, and hairspray. We want hairspray as a result of it’s simple to use and smells good. Ensure you get the type with a plastic base. (We now have used “Aqua Web Further Tremendous Maintain”)

In case your first layer just isn’t sticking:

  1. Ensure the mattress is stage.
  2. Ensure the mattress is scorching sufficient.
  3. Guarantee that the ambient temperature of the print atmosphere isn’t too scorching or chilly (or else modify accordingly).
  4. Ensure you put the adhesive on the mattress.
  5. Ensure the print head is shut sufficient to make a pleasant squished first layer.
  6. Ensure you run the extruder sufficient earlier than your print begins so there may be filament going onto the mattress throughout the complete first layer.  In MatterControl you possibly can set how a lot materials you want to extrude earlier than the print begins, both with loops, or in case your an professional GCode instructions.
  7. Kapton/PET tape is a good way to print ABS.  It makes an ideal shiny backside layer and the heated mattress ensures that your components keep good and flat.

    For extra in depth data concerning ABS mattress adhesion take a look at this text we wrote for extra detailed steering.

Getting the temperature proper

When working with a brand new roll of filament for the primary time, we typically like to begin out printing at about 230c after which adjusting the temperature up or down by 5 diploma increments till we get the standard of the print and the energy of the half to be in good stability with one another.

What to search for

If the temperature is simply too excessive:

You will notice extra strings between the separate components of your print and chances are you’ll discover that the extruder leaks out a variety of plastic whereas transferring between separate areas of the print.  If this occurs you must attempt to incrementally decrease the temperature by 5 levels till the extruder just isn’t leaking a lot materials.

Typically you should have a cloth that’s merely much less viscous than ABS and can leak extra even at decrease temperatures.  We suggest you enhance the retraction a number of millimeters (3-4 looks like an excellent quantity for many each ABS we’ve got tried).

If the temperature is simply too chilly:

You’ll both see that the filament just isn’t sticking to the earlier layer and you might be getting a tough floor, or you’ll get an element that isn’t robust and may be pulled aside simply.  In both case, you must enhance the temperature by 5 levels and take a look at once more till you get good line segments on each layer and have a powerful half when performed printing.

A print gone chilly. Test your retraction and warmth for clear prints.

Altering filament

When switching ABS colours:

  1. Whereas the extruder is chilly set the warmth to 120c and await it to warmth up.
  2. Whenever you attain 120c take away the present filament from the extruder.  You could possibly again it out by hand or chances are you’ll must reverse the extruder.
  3. In case you are having hassle eradicating the filament, enhance the temperature to 180c and take a look at once more.
  4. Clear the extruder gear and blow out any particles from the extruder entrance. 
  5. Improve the warmth and cargo the brand new filament usually.
  6. Run the brand new shade by the extruder till it runs clear and the brand new shade is all that’s popping out of the extruder. In case you are switching from a darkish shade (equivalent to black) to a lightweight shade (like white or pure) chances are you’ll wish to extrude for a couple of minutes to be you positive haven’t any darkish contamination.
  7. Print one thing that you do not care if it has bits of the earlier shade in it, or run the extruder for a number of minutes.  It could take as a lot as 10 to fifteen minutes of extrusion earlier than you possibly can believe that there will not be darkish materials blended with lighter materials.

Be aware: We beneficial eradicating the filament when comfortable reasonably than when absolutely melted so that there’s a decrease chance of depositing melted materials onto the extruder drive gear or leaving meterial excessive up the soften chamber entrance.  Each of which might trigger jamming and are laborious to scrub out.  Delicate removing additionally helps be certain that you get every thing out of the extruder tip.

What to do when issues go flawed

There are a number of key issues to test when your prints aren’t working.  However earlier than we take a look at options we have to have a short description of your signs.

“I can not get the primary layer to stay.”

  1. Ensure the extruder is on the proper peak. Regulate the restrict swap or extruder to 0 peak
  2. Ensure the print mattress is stage. Stage the mattress.
  3. Ensure you’re printing on the proper temperature and that your mattress is the correct temperature.
  4. Test the ambient temperature of your atmosphere. If it’s too chilly or too scorching outdoors, your print can fluctuate drastically!

“The half has unhealthy inner layers and high surfaces.”

  1. Test the extrusion temperature (chances are you’ll want to extend it by 5 diploma bumps).
  2. Test the filament rigidity.
  3. Clear the filament drive gear.
  4. Lower your velocity.
  5. Ensure your half is correctly cooled.

“The surface edges of my components have a lot of little bumps on them.”

  1. Ensure your printer is getting sufficient knowledge. If printing from a pc, be certain that the pc just isn’t too busy to feed the printer instructions. If the printer is pausing it’s normally because of the laptop being too busy.
  2. Print from the SD card. On some printers you possibly can try to print from the SD card.  This typically helps the printer have sufficient knowledge to run extra easily.

Nonetheless, do not be too fast to imagine the issue is in your ABS.  With the correct settings and persistence hobbyists have succeeded in printing all kinds of supplies lots of which have very low viscosity.  You must have the ability to get usable components even with some decrease high quality filament.

“Tall sections of my prints look melted or squished collectively.”

  1. Activate “Cooling”. In case your printer has a fan you must allow “Cooling” within the print settings.
  2. Get a small fan. In case your printer doesn’t have an built-in fan you must look into getting a small desk fan. This will help dramatically with tall sections of your print or when “bridging” (printing high layers that span gaps).

My half is curling up and doing.”

  1. Just be sure you have an excellent quantity of adhesive on the mattress and that you simply’re making use of a recent layer with each print. As well as, activate a brim. Having a brim that extends out a bit helps give the half a big base to work with, in addition to having extra to stick to.

“My printer won’t extrude any materials.”

  1. Ensure your scorching finish is getting scorching. Test to ensure the recent finish is heating in any respect.  If it isn’t, you could have your printer serviced. It’s doubtless that you’ve got a unfastened connection, or your electronics have been fried (assuming the printer remains to be linked and responding to your host software program).
  2. Clear the drive gear and modify rigidity. The very first thing we’re going to do is clear the filament touching drive gear and be certain that we’ve got correct rigidity in opposition to the filament.  Normally improper rigidity or a clogged drive gear will make the print look extra like the image we’ve got for low temperature filament, but it surely generally does forestall extrusion all collectively.  Clear the pinch wheel with a wire brush, and ensure your rigidity is sweet and stable (an excessive amount of may also forestall extrusion and is extra frequent with direct drives [the motor is directly connected to the drive gear] however much less frequent with geared drives).
  3. Take away the present filament. It could be that you’ve got a small particle in your extruder tip jamming the plastic.  Use the change filament method described above to drag out any particles which can be within the extruder tip.
  4. Test for and take away jams between the extruder and scorching finish. That is essentially the most excessive sort of downside as a result of now it is time to take issues aside.  Typically warmth can creep up the filament within the extruder and trigger a bulge that then cools and prevents any additional extrusion. That is normally on the junction between the extruder and scorching finish. Take off the extruder and take away all of the ABS you possibly can (chances are you’ll want the recent finish scorching to get all the fabric out.)  If you cannot get out all of the filament by pulling, chances are you’ll must try to drive it down by the recent finish. We normally use a small allen wrench.  If this fails you possibly can try to drill out the extruder or scorching finish however chances are you’ll want to exchange components.  Be sure you take precautions in opposition to being shocked or burned.  In case you are not certified to do that work, discover somebody who’s, reasonably than threat damage.

Thanks for studying this text!

When you’ve got any feedback, corrections, or contributions, please drop us an e-mail or give us a name. We’re at all times searching for ideas, and greatest practices – and would love to listen to from you.


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