What is ABS?
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) ranks as the second most popular 3D printer filament, after PLA. But that just means it’s the second most commonly used. With respect to its material properties, ABS is actually moderately superior to PLA, despite being slightly more difficult to print with. It’s for this reason that ABS is found in many manufactured household and consumer goods, including LEGO bricks and bicycle helmets!
Products made of ABS boast high durability and a capacity to withstand high temperatures, but 3D printer enthusiasts should be mindful of the filament’s high printing temperature, tendency to warp during cooling, and intense fumes. Be sure to print with a heating bed, and in a well-ventilated space.
3D Printer Filament Properties: ABS
- Strength: High | Flexibility: Medium | Durability: High
- Difficulty to use: Medium
- Soluble: In esters, ketones, and acetone
- Food safety: Not food safe
When Should I Use ABS 3D Printer Filament?
ABS is tough – able to withstand high stress and temperature. It’s also moderately flexible. Together these properties make ABS a good general-purpose 3D printer filament, but where it really shines is with items that are frequently handled, dropped, or heated. Examples include phone cases, high-wear toys, tool handles, automotive trim components, and electrical enclosures.