Abs filament 3d printing

Ultimate Materials Guide - Tips for 3D Printing with ABS


ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) has a long history in the 3D printing world. This material was one of the first plastics to be used with industrial 3D printers. Many years later, ABS is still a very popular material thanks to its low cost and good mechanical properties. ABS is known for its toughness and impact resistance, allowing you to print durable parts that will hold up to extra usage and wear. LEGO building blocks are made from this material for that same reason! ABS also has a higher glass transition temperature, which means the material can withstand much higher temperatures before it begins to deform. This makes ABS a great choice for outdoor or high temperature applications. When printing with ABS, be sure to use an open space with good ventilation, as the material tends to have a slight odor. ABS also tends to contract quite a bit as it cools, so controlling the temperature of your build volume and the part inside can have major benefits.

  • Low Cost
  • Good impact and wear resistance
  • Less oozing and stringing gives models smoother finish
  • Good heat resistance
  • Heavy warping
  • Needs heated bed or heated chamber
  • Produces a pungent odor while printing
  • Parts tend to shrink leading to dimensional inaccuracy

Hardware Requirements

Before 3D printing with ABS make sure your 3D Printer meets the hardware requirements listed below to ensure the best print quality.


Temperature: 95-110 °C
Heated Bed Required
Enclosure Recommended

Build Surface

Kapton tape
ABS Slurry


Temperature: 220-250 °C
No special hot-end required


Part Cooling Fan Not Required

Best Practices

These tips will help you reduce the chances of common 3D printing issues associated with ABS such as warping and fumes.

Control Warping

One of the most common print quality issues with ABS is warping. As the plastic cools from its extrusion temperature down to the room temperature, this change in temperature causes the plastic to shrink and contract. This can be particularly troublesome for the first layer, as this change in size can frequently cause the part to separate from the bed, ruining the print. You can minimize this effect using a proper build surface heated to 110º C. The build platform will transfer some of its heat to the first few layers of your part, which will prevent them from shrinking and separating from the bed. It is also common to set the extruder temperature about 10 to 20 degrees higher for the first few layers of your print, which can also help reduce the risk of separation. Simplify3D gives you complete control over your bed and extruder temperatures, so you easily set the desired values on a per-layer basis using the Temperature tab of your process settings. While these changes can help with the bottom layers of your print, taller parts may have issues as the layers get further away from the bed. When printing larger parts, consider adding an enclosure around your printer to maintain a higher temperature around your print. The enclosure can also prevent wind drafts that could rapidly cool the part during printing. If you’ve followed these steps, but you’re still having trouble with warping and separation, our Print Quality Guide has an entire section dedicated to warping which can give you even more information on the topic: How to Prevent Warping.

Using Brims and Rafts

When printing large parts, or thin delicate parts, you may find that you still have trouble getting these parts to properly adhere to the bed. In these cases, adding a brim or a raft to your print can be a great way to anchor these part to the build platform and prevent warping. A brim will add several rings of plastic around your model on the first few layers, creating extra surface area to hold down the edges of your part. Using a raft will actually print an entirely new plastic structure underneath your print, which can be removed after the print is completed. The rafts in Simplify3D were heavily optimized for Version 4.0 allowing them to print faster and use more material, but you may still find that a brim is faster for larger parts. If you want to learn more about these options, we have an in-depth article that explains all of the differences between rafts, skirts, and brims to help you get started.

Print In a Well Ventilated Area

Printing with ABS is known to produce a strong odor with fumes that could potentially be harmful if inhaled in large quantities. Avoid confined spaces and place your printer in a well-ventilated area to avoid these issues. Newer 3D printers may include a separate air-filtration system or HEPA filter that can deal with these fumes right from the source. If you printer doesn’t include these features or you’re limited in where you can place it, consider opening a window or using a flexible air duct from your local hardware store to help route the fumes outside.


  • Bed adhesion can be improved by using an ABS slurry. You can make this slurry on your own by mixing small pieces of ABS filament with acetone and applying the mixture on the bed. There are also several pre-packaged versions of the product that can be purchased.
  • When doing a dual extrusion print, PLA can be a good break-away support material as it does not adhere strongly to ABS.

Get Started with ABS

Here are a few tips to help you get started with ABS. You can view some common applications below, select from a typical sample project, or even view popular filament brands if you’re looking to stock up on this low cost material.

Common Applications

  • Cases or Project Enclosures
  • Toys or Action Figures
  • Automotive hardware

Sample Projects

  • Lego Bricks
  • Door Catch
  • Fidget Spinner

Popular Brands

  • Hatchbox ABS
  • FormFutura ABS pro, EasyFil ABS, TitanX
  • eSun ABS, ABS+
  • HobbyKing ABS

PLA vs.

ABS Filament and 4 More - Choose Wisely

PLA and ABS filaments are the most commonly used ones out there.

But which one should you pick? And are there other filament options for your application?

The power of 3D printing is the ability to produce impossible designs that lead to enhanced functionality and performance. While it’s important to evaluate different technologies and processes, never underestimate material selection and capabilities.

With so many different 3D printing options in the marketplace and countless material options available, what makes the most sense for you? In this post we will compare several FDM materials and how these thermoplastics can be augmented to service a wider range of manufacturing applications. PLA vs. ABS, ASA, PLX, PRO HT, HI-TEMP, Carbon Fiber, Bio-ABS, and more.

ABS Filament

The most commonly used 3D printing material is ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). ABS variations are used in every industry imaginable (transportation, consumer products, electronics, etc.). For example, plastic components make up 50 percent of a vehicle’s volume, but only about 10 percent of its weight. Therefore, prototypers, product developers, and production engineers feel comfortable printing materials that mimic the end-use product or purpose. 3D printing with ABS is an acceptable and easy solution for many manufacturers.

  • Excellent mechanical strength and durability properties
  • Cost effective & recyclable
  • Better heat performance compared to PLA
  • Great for 3D printing prototypes that require multiple iterations or low volume production requests

PLA Filament & PLX

Second only to ABS, PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a highly preferred 3D printing material because it is inexpensive, easy to use, and accessible on many platforms. Compared to ABS, PLA has slightly better tensile strength properties but generally doesn’t have enough flex strength. Both materials are comparable when it comes to pricing. However, under the right conditions, PLA is biodegradable and oftentimes used for food and packaging products making it rather attractive for many consumer product industries. In many instances, PLA is the preferred material choice. PLX, a PLA derivative, was recently introduced by BigRep and available on all platforms. PLX prints up to 80% faster and produces excellent surface features, eliminating the need for post processing.

  • Biodegradable
  • Up to 80% faster extrusion throughput
  • Tensile strength (ISO 527) | 48 MPa
  • Key industries: Consumer products, food packaging, prototyping, form, fit, and function

ASA Filament

ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) is an ABS alternative material with improved weather resistance properties that make it ideal for many outdoor applications. Compared to ABS, ASA has better mechanical properties, superior aesthetics, and it’s UV resistant. Printing with ASA is advantageous for industrial and end-use parts, oftentimes used for automotive, sporting goods, and consumer appliances. The downside is that ASA is slightly more expensive than ABS and produces toxic smoke when burned. Many UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) developers will prototype with ASA material and even consider using it in the final product due to its UV stability and weather resistance.

  • Enhanced UV stability
  • Ideal for outdoor applications
  • Improved aesthetics compared to ABS and PLA
  • Key industries: Consumer products, defense applications, automotive, and aviation

PRO HT: High Temperature Filament

PRO HT, BigRep’s flagship material, is the most popular filament amongst BigRep customers and users. With a softening resistance up to 115 °C, it has significant increase in temperature resistance compared to the average PLA, making it ideal for practical, end-use applications. In addition, PRO HT is FDA compliant for food safety and meets all requirements of EU Directives for food contact. Derived from organic compounds, PRO HT is biodegradable under the correct conditions and has a much lower ecological impact than other plastics derived from fossil fuels. Most common applications include consumer products, packaging, general prototyping, manufacturing and low production tooling.

  • Simple to print and easy post processing
  • Low warping and shrinkage
  • Biodegradable
  • Heat resistance up to 115 °C

HI-TEMP CF: Carbon Fiber Filament

Carbon fiber materials are unique and fairly new to the 3D printing industry. Highly stiff and incredibly durable, HI-TEMP CF is heat resistant up to 115 °C and perfect for many tooling applications. For example, thermoforming, pattern and mold making will use HI-TEMP CF for class A surface finish and low moisture absorption.

Compared to many other thermoplastics, the carbon fiber attributes provide significant strength capabilities (>65 MPa) and is recommended as a superior alternative to ASA for functional prototyping or production. HI-TEMP CF is robust and resilient to withstand harsh manufacturing environments.

  • Jigs, Fixtures, and Tooling
  • Automotive prototyping and production
  • Assembly line, manufacturing, and production
  • Tensile strength (ISO 527) | 65 MPa

Positioning jig for car production 3D printed with HI-TEMP CF


How to truly maximize the right filament for your application? When it comes to general prototyping, all of these materials can be considered and will most likely yield positive results for your product development. However, prototyping goes beyond just form, fit and function so we recommend taking a deeper dive into specific material characteristics to determine which makes the most sense for you. When it comes to production, it’s very important to consider the mechanical properties of your chosen material and how it will perform. Tooling or end-use products are required to meet certain standards and more often than not, sacrifices cannot be made.

To simplify, we recommend:

  • PLA and ABS for simple prototype development.
  • If you own BigRep 3D printer equipment, reach out to us to learn about PLX and the time savings it can provide.
  • If you’re looking for UV stability or slightly better strength performance for prototyping or production, we recommend ASA.
  • Finally, PRO HT and HI-TEMP CF are the most robust materials for low volume production, tooling or any other application that requires parts to perform in harsh environments.

Check out our wide range of 3D printing filaments and find the right material for your application:


About the author:

Dominik Stürzer

SEO Manager 

Dominik is a mechanical engineer whose passion to share knowledge turned him to content creation. His first 3D prints started in university. Back then the 3D printers were big on the outside and small on the inside. With BigRep the machines are finally big in their possibilities.

ABS for 3D printing

The high strength of ABS makes it suitable for structural applications

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, ABS) is a high-impact thermoplastic that has become very popular in industry and additive manufacturing.

The excellent mechanical and physical properties of ABS plastic make it possible to use this material to create all kinds of objects of practical value. ABS plastic is widely used in the automotive, medical and souvenir industries, in the production of sports equipment, plumbing, bank cards, furniture, toys, etc.

The relatively low cost of ABS plastic and the relative ease of use as a consumable have led to ABS's high popularity among 3D printing enthusiasts. ABS is one of the most popular materials for FDM/FFF printing.

Safety ABS

ABS is relatively safe and does not pose a threat under normal conditions. However, heating ABS releases toxic acrylonitrile fumes, which means you need to take some precautions when 3D printing. Evaporation is generally low due to the relatively slow material consumption of FDM printing. To ensure a completely safe environment, only good ventilation of the room or an extractor is required. It is also worth bearing in mind that ABS plastic reacts with ethanol, which leads to the release of styrene.

Do not use finished ABS products to store hot food and drinks or alcohol at any temperature.

ABS Specification

Glass Transition Temperature About 105°C
Flexural strength 41 MPa
Tensile strength 22 MPa
Tensile modulus 1627 MPa
Elongation 6%
Shrinkage on cooling Up to 0. 8%
Material density Approx. 1.05 g/cm³

Please note that the actual dimensions of the 3D printed ABS will depend on the manufacturer's specifications. In many cases, ABS is blended with other thermoplastics (such as polystyrene), resulting in changes in extrusion temperature, resistance to certain solvents, etc.

Advantages and disadvantages of ABS

The main disadvantage of ABS is its relatively low resistance to direct sunlight. In addition, the potential toxicity of the material somewhat limits its use in the manufacture of toys, food packaging and medical instruments.

A wide range of colors is demonstrated with Lego bricks made from ABS plastic

At the same time, ABS plastic has a number of positive qualities:

  • Almost unlimited colors
  • Moisture resistant
  • Acid resistance
  • Oil resistance
  • Relatively high heat resistance, reaching up to 115°C in some material grades
  • Non-toxic at relatively low temperatures and in the absence of alcohol exposure
  • Increased impact resistance
  • High elasticity
  • High durability in the absence of direct sunlight
  • Easy to machine
  • Good affordability
  • High solubility in acetone

Use in 3D printing

The result of processing a model from ABS plastic with acetone vapor

Printing with ABS plastic is associated with certain technological difficulties due to a rather high tendency to shrink, that is, to loss of volume during cooling. As a result, the formation of deformations and delamination of models is possible. This point is taken into account by manufacturers optimizing 3D printers for ABS printing by installing heated work platforms and providing varying degrees of climate control in the working chamber. Some methods for dealing with deformations are described in the section "How to avoid deformation of models when 3D printing".

In addition to being machinable, ABS is easily soluble in acetone and some other solvents, which makes it possible to produce fairly large models from component parts by gluing. In addition, the processing of finished models with acetone vapor allows you to smooth the outer surfaces and achieve complete tightness. For more information on processing with acetone, see the "Processing 3D Printed Models" section.

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PLA ​​and ABS for 3D printing: what's the difference?