SO many issues with ABS!

Hello guys,

So my first two rolls of filament I bought were PLA material. It was pretty good and I usually got decent prints out of it. I recently got my first ABS (found it a lil cheaper, so I got a roll to try). It’s SO much more difficult to use. I had no issues with adhesion to my bed with PLA. ABS kept slipping off. So I invested in a trusty glue stick, which sort of fixed the problem. But then the temperature required caused my printer to have an error.

Oh yeah, and I didn’t realize how bad the smell was. I read it gave off an unpleasant scent, but I didn’t think it’d make me gag.

Has everyone switched to PLA already? Or is there something else I can do to make ABS easier to use? I like the idea of being able to easily smooth over ABS…but so far, doesn’t seem to be worth it

I’m actually making a switch at my workplace to ABS. It is a little tricky to work with and no one filament brand is the same as the next I am quickly discovering. The Hatchbox brand doesn’t seem to work very well with the printer due to the filament tolerance. Has the tendency to glob up a lot. On the other hand, I am loving the brand called iRulu that am currently printing with at work.

Generic tips when working with ABS:

  • Get a enclosure around your printer when working with ABS. A) because it will help eliminate drafts that can cause warping and your print to come off the bed. B) so you aren’t smelling the filament as it prints.
  • Glue stick works. A lot of people (including me) us a hairspray called Aqua Net. Super hold type works really well.
  • Printing with rafts can help keep the print to the bed.

As for your printer error, what type of printer are you using? You really shouldn’t need to go above a 103 c for the bed temp.

Flashforge— it gets a heater error for the extruder I think. I use 250 degrees C for melting the ABS.

Sad that printing with rafts adds to the print time :frowning:

Why are you guys switching to ABS may I ask?

Try setting your temp to 245 and let the printer sit for a few minutes before any actual printing. If you find a big enough cardboard box, stick it over the printer to trap heat so you don’t have to have the print temp so high. My work printer fails too at around 250 C. After I placed a cardboard box over the printer, I was able to drop the temp down to 245 c and the ABS prints have been more consistent.

We’re making the switch at my work because we want to get higher resolution prints for our product prototyping and because with ABS we can print more durable parts that give us a better idea of what the end product may be like. PLA is great, but not accurate or durable enough for what we’re try to design at my work.

I still use PLA on my home printer because I don’t have a heated bed and it suits my hobbyist designs perfects. Plus it is more environmentally friendly than ABS though ABS has some nice results once one can master the use of it.

I use ABS only since my first 3d printer (mid 2013…) so i’m used to it a little :smile:

First,you need to do a proper calibration of your bed (if you can barely move one sheet of paper between your extruder and the bed, it’s good)

For the bed, you need a surface that stick… i never found something better than kapton tape cleaned (when cold) with aceton.
Your bed need to be heated to 105 -110 °c for several minute to be evenly hot (i used to wait 10 min)
Then the extruder come : depending of your abs AND your printer… for example,my solidoodle 2 underestimate the extruder temp…i use 185°c, my solidoodle 4 use 215°c and my i3 use 230 °.
In my opinion, your 250° are too much… even more if your extruder is not a full metal one. My rule of thumb is that you need around 50° more than the start of leaking of the abs from your extruder… start to heat your extruder, then Abs will start to ooze at a given temperature ( mine start at 160°c on my sd4) … add 50°c… and you will be in a good start range… wait one/two minutes to stabilise your temp and extrude something like 100mm of abs… it will ‘clean’ your extruder from old abs and set a good pressure in the head… then go… NEVER let your extruder hot without extruding for a long time (more than 5 minutes) or you will clog it…

Now for the software: the ‘BRIM’ (not raft) function is your friend… add 1 or 2 mm of Brim with one layer height to your piece… it will greatly help for the warping of the abs…
IF your bed if not flat enough, then you can add ‘raft’ to corrected this…

My slicer are set to print the first layer at 90% of the layer height

As Tanya said, an enclosure is a must to prevent warping … a simple cardboard box do the job. Cut a windows in it, and glue a sheet of transparent plexyglass/abs (to look at the print) and it’s good…

If you didn’t use an enclosure, prevent any movement around your printer when you print or your print can suffered from warping and /or delaminating

Depending of your filament, ABS smell are not good… use a well ventilated area (but no air movement near the printer)

I use repetier-host with slic3r at the moment… the last version is very good. The slicing of the last version is superior to cura/simplify3d IMO but it depend of the model…

EDIT : i made an error - i change skirt for BRIM (skirt is only to extrude some platic on the plate to load the extruder… a value of 1 at 3mm is a good value). use a value of 2 for BRIM to fight warping

add raft of 1 if your bed is not flat

i will add that i you use en enclosure, you can add a little fan to extract air from the enclosure thru an active carbone filter (cheap carbone filter that you use to clean water for aquarium… cut to the size of the hole). it will prevent overheating, and will filter the smell of the abs…

I use ABS quite a bit, not as often as PLA but it certainly has it’s place and shouldn’t be ignored as an option. It’ll flex much more than PLA without cracking. It will also tolerate higher temperatures without deforming (If you leave PLA in hot sun it gets soft, ABS doesn’t. It’s also a Polymer not a solid, this means there’s not a specific phase change between solid and liquid you can get away with a much wider range of print temperatures and it’s less apt to clog or jam…that said it is a bit harder to get started with…

I print on Blue Tape and heat my platform to 110C…if you print PLA on the same printer you’ll likely find you have to re-calibrate your platform when you switch between the two materials. This is because the change in platform temperature causes the metal in the springs that tensions your plaform to expand a bit. ABS shrinks a LOT more than PLA as it cools so as others have mentioned you will have much better results if you can enclose your whole print area and print in a room without drafts.

I use a nozzle temp of 230C to print most ABS that I get…I sometimes go a bit lower for slower prints but never higher…I agree with fantasygraph 250C seems extreme…

I would also add that you get used to the smell after awhile (I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not) …


Thanks all. I guess my main issue was starting with the relatively hassle free PLA, then moving to ABS.

Will definitely try out the enclosure that you guys suggested. And probably add a window like fantasy graph suggested.

I was hesitant to lower the temperature, because when I first did, the filament didn’t really come out properly (only in little dots now and then). But I guess dropping it a bit may be worth experimenting.

Interesting, didn’t know the difference between a brim and raft. I first started using rafts and had some difficulty getting the raft off, but I’ll try a brim. Also! Adjusting the bed plate seems pretty important? If the springs expand a bit, does it mean I’ll have to make the plate even closer to the head?

I guess ABS does have some good points. Didn’t realize PLA will get soft in the sun D: To me, it seemed the main difference with strength as Tanya mentioned. But I didn’t notice my PLA prints being “not strong”, so ABS seemed kind of pointless.

Back to more testing on the printer!

I concur 100% with fantasygraph (I’ve even printed quite a few of this designs).

I’ve never found a reason to use anything other than Kapton. Brims are good if needed; rafts are ‘training wheels’ for when you haven’t figured out how to level the surface properly. I’ve never been above 235C and 110C. Rep 1 is completely enclosed with hood and side panels, filament feed is straight down from spool holders on top, no feed tubes needed. When printing above a couple of inches I add a small 200W space heater inside the enclosure and thermostatically control the inside at about 50C. I intend to go to a higher temp when I improve cooling on the cold bar.

Ultimate plans are to insulate the bot, water cool the cold bar, and add a second 200W heater. Aluminum carriage and x-ends of course.

I like that analogy. Sums up my first few months on learning 3d printing. Finally gained enough knowledge about my printers to get the things calibrated and leveled correctly so I don’t need a raft or brim with PLA anymore.

I think I am going to try fantasygraph’s idea and get a little fan to extract air on the printer I am using ABS on.

Fixed levelling today and used a regular cardboard box in my storage cupboard so I could lower temperature. I think I need to work on levelling a bit more though because it’s still a little weird, but print came out better.

@Gary_Crowell how would water cooling work!?

Thanks for the following informational update.I want to include that if any sort of assistance is required for handyman services which includes carpentry,electrical,plumbing,painting,masonry can directly contact with the most reliable maintenance company in dubai who provides 100% assistance with support across the globe for more than a decade.

Got a good place for you guys to buy kapton tapeKapton Tape