3D Printing & Filament Printers

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS is a plastic derived from oil very resistant to impact (shock) widely used in auto parts and other industrial uses both as domestic. It is called engineering plastic, because it is a plastic whose processing and processing is more complex than ordinary plastics, such as polyolefins (polyethylene, polypropylene).

It is a very tough plastic even at low temperatures (-40 ° C) and is very hard, rigid and has a very good resistance to abrasion. It is easily machinable and therefore can be filed or drilled. In addition to being soluble in compounds such as acetone, there are treatments to soften the surface of the printed parts and to disguise the layers, the acetone vapor is possibly the most effective.

polylactide or PLA is a biodegradable thermo-plastic from renewable resources such as maize (from USA), tapioca roots, and various starches and sugar cane (the world) starches. Thanks to its more fluid consistency at extrusion temperature (180-220 ° C), it is ideal for printing thin-walled parts such as boxes. In addition it suffers much less retraction than the ABS reason why it is not necessary the use of the hot bed. The smell is also a favor in favor of this material, it is more pleasant and has some resemblance to hot wood

The ABS filament requires less force to be extruded than the PLA Filament kaufen because it has a lower coefficient of friction. This extrusion feature makes it ideal for making small parts, compared to the PLA. The disadvantage of the ABS filament is that it must be extruded at a higher temperature, it is an amorphous filament and therefore does not have a true melting point, but 230~240 ° C is the standard for printing, whereas the PLA requires less Extruder temperature (depending on the extruder between 180 ° C and 220 ° C)

Another difference of impression between both, is that in the case of the ABS filament the hot bed in which the plastic is deposited should be higher than 80 ° C, whereas in the case of the PLA filament must be at 50 ° C (recommended) although It is possible to print with the base completely cold. In this respect, the difference lies in the speed of 3D printing, being faster in the case of PLA since the temperature is not such a critical factor.

Another aspect to consider is the emission of harmful gases. In the case of ABS, being a synthetic plastic derived from petroleum, when it melts in the extruder, it emits harmful light fumes. These fumes, while generally tolerable, can be dangerous for people with chemical sensitivities or respiratory difficulties, so it is recommended that when working with ABS filaments, the 3D printer is located in a well ventilated place, which does not happen In the case of using the PLA filament. Following in the line of negative external effects, the PLA stands as a biodegradable filament and respectful of its surroundings. However, the ABS filament has a recycler, which allows us to pick up the leftover filament from our creations and the ABS recycler makes us a new coil. At the moment, the PLA does not have this complement, so that the ABS begins to gain ground in the field of reuse and respect with the environment.

On the other side of the balance, the PLA is more fragile, less hard and it is more difficult to mechanize it and drilling is impossible. It is also advisable to use a fan in the cold part of the hotends so that they do not get stuck and for this reason the impressions can be somewhat noisier.

Both filaments are hygroscopic, that is, they absorb moisture from the atmosphere. They should be stored in a container with a lid and some form of desiccant to keep the indoor air dry. The ABS filament affected by moisture will tend to the bubble at the time of extrusion and the result of the printed piece will be a rough and porous surface.

As for the possibilities offered by the market, we have a very wide range of colors in the case of PLA and ABS, and two standard thicknesses, 1.75 mm and 3 mm. In the beginning was used more than 3 mm format, but lately is taking force by the users the 1.75 mm format, as this allows according to the opinion of these, better finishes.

In conclusion, we can say that ABS is preferred in industrial applications, while PLA is suitable for domestic use. For example, a company that makes mechanical parts, must use the ABS filament, for its strength and rigidity. On the other hand, a study of architects that designs models of their projects, will be able to use the PLA filament. If the printed part has to withstand relatively high temperatures, the ABS filament is almost obligatory, since the PLA deforms quickly in high temperature environments.

As an additional comment, a group of scientists are working on the manufacture of new filaments that start from materials known as ABS or PLA, two widely available materials but with some drawbacks in their use. Both one and the other become soft when treated at high temperatures and therefore lose rigidity that is necessary depending on the case. The team that has developed this project has released three new materials to be used in desktop 3D printers. They are the Fiber Reinforced PLA Carbon, high temperature PLA and polycarbonate with ABS alloy. “With this project we want to make new materials that are available and that absorb some of these issues without sacrificing the capacity of printing or accessibility,” comments the research team. The carbon fiber of PLA, Carbon Fiber Reinforced PLA, is a resin composed of 15% of Tenax and cut carbon fibers. It is designed to maintain rigidity and withstand flexion despite environmental and external conditions.

Another of the materials that have developed, the High Temperature PLA, is formed by a mixture of minerals, PLA and a nucleating agent that helps to promote crystallization. This material has the characteristic that it is much more resistant to heat than the normal PLA.
Finally, ABS Polycarbonate Proto-Paste is an alloy that results in a very durable material, designed for parts that need a hardness and extreme resistance.




Extrusion temperature: ~ 240 ° C Extrusion temperature: ~ 200 ° C
Requires warm bed> 70 ° C No hot bed required
It works quite well without layer cooling. Benefit greatly from layer cooling during printing
Worse adhesion, polyamide or lacquer tape is needed. Good adhesion to a wide variety of surfaces
High Temperature Resistant Low temperature resistant
Prone to cracking, delamination, and deformation Prone to the undulation of the equine and salient
Harder and Tough (88 to 110 Rockwell) More fragile
Parts can be joined using adhesives or solvents (acetone or MEK) Parts can be bonded using specific adhesives
Smoke is unpleasant and harmful in enclosed areas Non-harmful fumes and more pleasant smell
Plastic derived from petroleum Plastic of vegetable origin
Can be machined, once the piece is finished It is practically impossible to mechanize finished parts
Filament waste is recyclable Waste can not be reused

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