ABS is arguably a dying material,

ABS is arguably a dying material, superseded by co-polyesters where toughness is required and PLA for high-quality, rigid prints. Is there even still a need for parts made from plain ABS?

I couldn’t help but laugh when you snapped off the chimney to Benchy…

Edit: However, I was really impressed with how little it flexed after being exposed to the hot water.

I dont print with ABS anymore. too much hassle with drafts and warping with my open delta printer. petg is a little less frustrating and less fumes…

Thanks, so far I have only printed in ABS and am getting ready to try Nylon. Btw got an ABS benchy with almost identical defects.

Im back to ABS because i ran out of PETG.

ABS is still my favorite material… it produces extremely good detail and smooth surfaces, with high strength when printed in the correct environment, better rigidity than PETG or nylon, reasonably good impact toughness, and much better dimensional stability than PLA or nylon. (It doesn’t creep, swell due to humidity, or deform except with very high heat.) Oh, and you can print ABS 50-100% faster than other filaments, because it simply melts and solidifies faster and has better viscous flow properties for extrusion. It’s simply an incredibly well-behaved polymer. There’s a good reason it’s so dominant in injection molding and industrial 3d printers.

But yes, you definitely need an enclosed “warm chamber” at minimum. I print ABS in a 55C chamber and I would go higher if my machine could handle it. ~80C with lots of airflow is optimal.

yes, I agree mostly with @Ryan_Carlyle I can print insainly fast on my delta with ABS. but any part taller than 2 inches starts to shrink unevenly and slowly destroy itself. (why a heat chamber is required). and I would also agree that ABS is slightly more rigid than PETG. What i have also discovered (maybe a ABS quality thing) is that my ABS gets brittle and snaps in my bowden tube if it gets too old/moist. I havnt seen that issue with PETG,PLA or any other material i have been printing with.

ABS isnt a bad filiment, but I would argue that it has a very limited and specific implementation for certain parts/usage. alot of the things we print could be better printed in another type of filament.

side note: i have a buddy that swears by ABS. he is a big fan of acetone fusing and baths. As far as i know, PETG and PLA dont react the same way to acetone. So if you are looking to finish or fuse parts, there is another application you could and probably should still use ABS.

I’ve been holding on to ABS much longer than most people because it was and still is a very predictable polymer to me. There will be a few extra tests on how much of a difference a heated chamber makes for strength and printability, but so far the consensus (ha!) in the YouTube comments seems to be that it’s pointless to print ABS without an enclosed chamber. Out of all the printers I’ve used so far, only one had a closed build chamber - the CEL Robox. Does that mean that 99% of the machines out there are not suitable for ABS?

@Thomas_Sanladerer I would say 99% of machines are POORLY SUITED for ABS. Without an enclosure, I personally wouldn’t bother with ABS, and without a >40C enclosure, prints will be weak and warpy. Although there are some hacks you can do to improve results in non-enclosed printers, like printing extra-hot (say 250+) and putting a wiper wall around the print to trap bed heat.

But that’s not just an ABS issue. A large percentage of “off the shelf” machines (>50%?) lack either adequate print cooling for good PLA quality or a suitable hot end for avoiding jams with PLA. Another large percentage of stock machines (>80%?) can’t print Ninjaflex without modification. PC requires a heated chamber, PEEK and PEI require an oven chamber. Nobody’s machines print LDPE or HDPE well. So let’s be fair to ABS and treat it like Ninjaflex or whatever else – it’s a great material if you have the right hardware, but you’ll get bad results if your printer isn’t set up for it.

I’m also an ABS advocate and run mostly small/medium sized parts on an unenclosed delta. But now I’ve switched to ABS+ for dramatically reduced warp/shrink. I produce very accurate, flat , strong (enough) mechanical parts with that material. ABS also sands and polishes easily if surfaces need refining - with PETG not so much. ABS support removal is not nearly the problem presented by PETG. I do us a fair amount of PETG when it’s special properties are desired.

Love the series!

I do think you dismissed ABS too quickly, though. For parts that are either intrinsically strong or just have to look pretty, ABS is perfect since it prints with a noticeably higher quality surface finish (it’s much easier to produce dimensionally accurate ABS filament than most plastics), is much easier to sand and polish and can be brought up to an almost mirror finish with much less work than PLA.

It’s not as strong as PLA and PETG outranks any other material for interlayer adhesion (I have smashed a lot of plastic), but it is the most heat resistant material other than polycarbonate or PEEK.

I buy cheap Chinese ABS from Ebay - Excelvan brand for 5-7 British monies a kilo including postage - and its perfect for the kind of prints that go in the bin once the design is verified, which I do a lot of, and for a host of other purposes, such as toys for the kids, large thick-walled vases, t-rex shower heads etc.

I don’t have a heated chamber, and compensate for that by adding extra hand-made supports that prevent it warping which I remove later, if the part requires it. Provided you understand how ABS will behave in the printer, you can still print it very successfully without a heated chamber. I print at least half a kilo of the stuff a week.

I forgot to mention that I do use cooling with ABS (horrors!) for layers that will print very quickly. This is a double-edged sword since the cooling will warp the living daylights out of Cura’s auto-generated supports, which is precisely why I avoid or augment them as it is and especially when using cooling.

I’m currently figuring out a way to shoehorn a nozzle fan for my ABS machine… because tall, rectangular, columns will have warped edges (corners that round inwards) because each time a layer is laid down, the corners of that new layer will curl upward. However when I blow on the part when the upper-layer warping occurs, the corners of the next several layers flatten and square out again. (and I get wicked dizzy)

@Francis_Lee I have also experienced a better print when using about 40% print fan speed using DesignShop ABS. Last night I started a print and started to notice the layer warping, although I had the print fan engaged it was no on full till the last layer. So I manually adjusted it every other layer… Need to do this in Cura… But it worked great.
I see the layer warping on small parts of the print and on infill. Is this what you are seeing?

@Jeremiah_Coley I might… Although “small” parts I tend to think that it was just too much heat or my extrusion stepping being off.
However for something like the 20mm cune, the upper corners will turn into subtle cat ears or devil horns. (I’m thinking that top layer “blistering” would benefit from a fan as well.) Those corners can be prevented with a cooling breeze.

“Cat’s ears” are due to the hot plastic in the layer below being wiped around by the nozzle and building up at the corners. Cooling will make a big difference, but will affect inter-layer adhesion, so you need to increase you printing temperature a little to compensate for that.