ABS gets a rough rap in the 3d printing community, so I wanted to give a small defence of ABS filament for your 3d printer consideration …
Now, just because I am defending ABS, does not mean it is perfect or even that it is my favourite filament!
I am simply saying it is still worth considering.
- Yes, it is stinky, but so are a lot of filaments, and even PLA stings my lungs – you should be printing with good ventilation, anyway, and if you can, monitoring even from another room.
- Vapour smoothing – Yes, there is now a special formulation of PLA that can be smoothed with a special machine, but ABS is the OG and doesn’t need anything special.
- Solvent welding – Solvent welding ABS for rock-solid joins is awesome.
- Heat and wear resistance – PETG is good, but there is a reason why car manufacturers make car interiors out of ABS.
- Price – You can get ABS cheap.
- Paints and Sands well – Yeah there are other filaments that finish well, or better, but it is definitely one of the attributes that help ABS.
So imagine you are going to be making a full-size R2-D2 style astromech robot replica, you are going to be lugging it around in your car, possibly on hot days. What could you use?
ABS would be cost-effective, would finish looking top-notch, parts would go together well, and it wouldn’t wilt on the way to the convention.
OK, it takes some dialling in, but with a cheap enclosure and PEI on your bed, it prints almost as well as any other filament.
Worth thinking about?
Here are a couple of ABS prints where I chose ABS especially because of heat tolerance (and because silver ABS is pretty!):