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How To Succeed When Printing With ABS

What’s ABS? ABS is without doubt one of the mostly used, and most versatile supplies accessible in 3D printing as we speak. For those who’re new to the scene although, it may be a bit daunting to start out with. Nonetheless, the payoff is price it. Studying to print properly with ABS is important if you need robust, warmth resistant elements.

What’s ABS?

ABS or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is a standard thermoplastic. It’s a preferred plastic for injection molding and it’s used to make legos, devices, sports activities gear and extra.

For those who’re used to printing with PLA, you’ll most likely discover ABS a bit trickier to print with. There are a pair extra steps required for every print, and it has a distinct set of printing settings. Nonetheless, you needn’t despair. ABS is a robust and warmth resistant filament, with superior publish processing choices. With this text underneath your belt, issues might be printing your manner.

Getting that first layer proper

As we mentioned in our PLA article, getting the primary layer down is crucial a part of the print. Listed here 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 top from the mattress.
  3. You want a great adhesive to help your ABS in sticking to the mattress.
  4. And naturally, ensuring that your extruder is heated to the suitable temperature.

Lego bricks created from ABS

Printing on glass with Kapton/PET tape

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

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

Having your mattress stage and extruder on the proper top is extraordinarily essential when printing on tape.  In case your extruder is just too removed from the glass your ABS merely is not going to stick. If the extruder is just too low the glass it’s going to utterly block the extrusion of fabric and will trigger a jam after prolonged durations.

You also needs to just be sure you have an adhesive of some type. ABS requires one thing to bind itself to through the first layer of the print. Essentially the most generally used adhesives are glue sticks, ABS slurry, and hairspray. We want hairspray as a result of it’s straightforward to use and smells good. Be sure to get the sort with a plastic base. (We’ve used “Aqua Internet Further Tremendous Maintain”)

In case your first layer will not be sticking:

  1. Be sure the mattress is stage.
  2. Be sure the mattress is sizzling sufficient.
  3. Be sure that the ambient temperature of the print setting isn’t too sizzling or chilly (or else modify accordingly).
  4. Be sure to put the adhesive on the mattress.
  5. Be sure the print head is shut sufficient to make a pleasant squished first layer.
  6. Be sure to run the extruder sufficient earlier than your print begins so there’s filament going onto the mattress throughout the whole first layer.  In MatterControl you may 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 an effective way to print ABS.  It makes an ideal shiny backside layer and the heated mattress ensures that your elements keep good and flat.

    For extra in depth info concerning ABS mattress adhesion try 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 start out 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 power of the half to be in good stability with one another.

What to search for

If the temperature is just too excessive:

You will note extra strings between the separate elements of your print and it’s possible you’ll discover that the extruder leaks out numerous 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 will not be leaking a lot materials.

Generally you’ll have a cloth that’s merely much less viscous than ABS and can leak extra even at decrease temperatures.  We advocate you improve the retraction a couple of millimeters (3-4 looks as if a great quantity for many each ABS we’ve tried).

If the temperature is just too chilly:

You’ll both see that the filament will not be sticking to the earlier layer and you’re getting a tough floor, or you’ll get an element that isn’t robust and could be pulled aside simply.  In both case, you must improve the temperature by 5 levels and check out once more till you get good line segments on each layer and have a robust half when executed 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 might be able to again it out by hand or it’s possible you’ll must reverse the extruder.
  3. In case you are having bother eradicating the filament, improve the temperature to 180c and check out 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 colour by means of the extruder till it runs clear and the brand new colour is all that’s popping out of the extruder. In case you are switching from a darkish colour (comparable to black) to a lightweight colour (like white or pure) it’s possible you’ll need to extrude for a couple of minutes to be you certain haven’t any darkish contamination.
  7. Print one thing that you do not care if it has bits of the earlier colour 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 may believe that there will not be darkish materials combined with lighter materials.

Be aware: We beneficial eradicating the filament when delicate moderately than when absolutely melted so that there’s a decrease risk of depositing melted materials onto the extruder drive gear or leaving meterial excessive up the soften chamber entrance.  Each of which may trigger jamming and are laborious to wash out.  Mushy removing additionally helps be sure that you get every part out of the extruder tip.

What to do when issues go mistaken

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

“I am unable to get the primary layer to stay.”

  1. Be sure the extruder is on the proper top. Modify the restrict change or extruder to 0 top
  2. Be sure the print mattress is stage. Stage the mattress.
  3. Be sure to’re printing on the proper temperature and that your mattress is the suitable temperature.
  4. Test the ambient temperature of your setting. If it’s too chilly or too sizzling exterior, your print can range drastically!

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

  1. Test the extrusion temperature (it’s possible you’ll want to extend it by 5 diploma bumps).
  2. Test the filament pressure.
  3. Clear the filament drive gear.
  4. Lower your pace.
  5. Be sure your half is correctly cooled.

“The surface edges of my elements have numerous little bumps on them.”

  1. Be sure your printer is getting sufficient information. If printing from a pc, be sure that the pc will not be too busy to feed the printer instructions. If the printer is pausing it’s often as a result of pc being too busy.
  2. Print from the SD card. On some printers you may try to print from the SD card.  This usually helps the printer have sufficient information to run extra easily.

Nonetheless, do not be too fast to imagine the issue is in your ABS.  With the suitable settings and persistence hobbyists have succeeded in printing all types of supplies a lot of which have very low viscosity.  It is best to have the ability to get usable elements 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 may help dramatically with tall sections of your print or when “bridging” (printing prime layers that span gaps).

My half is curling away from bed.”

  1. Just be sure you have a great quantity of adhesive on the mattress and that you just’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 is not going to extrude any materials.”

  1. Be sure your sizzling finish is getting sizzling. Test to verify the new finish is heating in any respect.  If it isn’t, you should have your printer serviced. It’s probably that you’ve got a free 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 pressure. The very first thing we’re going to do is clear the filament touching drive gear and be sure that we’ve correct pressure in opposition to the filament.  Often improper pressure or a clogged drive gear will make the print look extra like the image we’ve for low temperature filament, however it typically does forestall extrusion all collectively.  Clear the pinch wheel with a wire brush, and ensure your pressure is nice and strong (an excessive amount of may forestall extrusion and is extra widespread with direct drives [the motor is directly connected to the drive gear] however much less widespread 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 approach 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 sizzling finish. That is probably the most excessive kind of downside as a result of now it is time to take issues aside.  Generally warmth can creep up the filament within the extruder and trigger a bulge that then cools and prevents any additional extrusion. That is often on the junction between the extruder and sizzling finish. Take off the extruder and take away all of the ABS you may (it’s possible you’ll want the new finish sizzling to get all the fabric out.)  If you cannot get out all of the filament by pulling, it’s possible you’ll must try to drive it down by means of the new finish. We often use a small allen wrench.  If this fails you may try to drill out the extruder or sizzling finish however it’s possible you’ll want to interchange elements.  Remember to take precautions in opposition to being shocked or burned.  In case you are not certified to do that work, discover somebody who’s, moderately than threat harm.

Thanks for studying this text!

If in case you have any feedback, corrections, or contributions, please drop us an electronic mail or give us a name. We’re all the time in search of suggestions, and finest practices – and would love to listen to from you.


The MatterHackers Crew




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