ABS (short for Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a popular thermoplastic polymer generally characterized by it’s strength and impact resistance, therefor making it a popular choice amongst a wide margin of 3D printing enthusiasts. In comparison to other common 3D printing materials, such as PLA, ABS requires a higher temperatures to work with, which also means that it has a higher variable of shrinkage after cooling down. Thus, factors such as a firm build plate adhesion and extra attention to print parameters are necessities for printing successfully. Although ABS is popular with all types of users, it retains a high support amongst many of the 3D printing community’s most avid enthusiasts; many preferring it for personal reasons that “It just looks great!”. The latest line of CraftBot 3D printers provide all the means for manufacturing an impressive ABS print, not to mention 260°C hot end and 110°C heated build plate capabilities -the needed temperature to keep that print grounded!
One benefit of ABS over PLA is that, after the print has finished, it is much easier, and especially safer, to smooth the surface chemically to a nice sheen if you so wish to do so. A standard Acetone liquid or “fume bath” is all you need -even though Acetone is much less harmful than the chemicals used to smooth PLA, you must use proper ventillation any time that you use chemicals to protect yourself from harmful fumes. The acetone method of smoothing the surface is an art of it’s own depending on the texture of the print and your desired outcome, but with a little practice you will get a handle on it.
WARNING! AVOID SWAPPING PLA AND ABS BETWEEN PRINTS IN THE SAME HOTEND! MANY CLOGS OCCUR BECAUSE OF THIS MISTAKE!
Optimal Temperature of printing with ABS: