Summary: Printing in ABS is easy. Lower default nozzle temperature for best print quality.I have a number of parts to make for my custom hexacopter. I needed to print them in something tougher than PLA that can hold up to some hard landings and withstand high temperatures like in a car. So I ordered some Pro Series ABS filament from MatterHackers. If you read up on printing with ABS you can easily psyche yourself out. So much advice on getting successful prints with ABS. I chose to ignore all of it and just print the Ultimaker Robot with the default ABS settings at normal quality.
|normal quality print at 260 C|
The default ABS settings are 260°C nozzle, 90°C bed, 50% fan, 2.85 mm filament diameter and 107% flow. I used glue on the bed to help the part stick. The part printed without any problem and stuck to the platform firmly. Print quality was pretty good but it looked like it printed a little hot. The color also looked to go a little light and matte compared to the bright gloss red of the filament. The first few layers printed a little messy with nubs of material, same for some of the infill. The small details like the antennae and ears looked melted and the bridges looked bad. The Pro Series ABS is rated for 230°C - 240°C so I decided to print again at 240°C. This time I adjusted the filament diameter to 2.90 mm.
|260C print (L) vs 240C print (R)|
This 240°C print turned out a little better. The initial layers printed clean as did the infill. The color of the part also got brighter. The fine details printed much better and the bridges improved slightly. On another note, many people complain about the smell of ABS during printing. While it does have a faint smell of melting plastic, I found it underwhelming. It was only really noticeable when close to the printer; not a problem. Let's try one more print at 230°C.
|240C print (L) vs 230C print (R)|
At 230°C the small details and bridges improved a little more. Most noticeable, the sides of the print were smoother. At this point, the ABS prints nearly as well as PLA. Larger prints may not be so easy, bed adhesion and warping may become an issue, we'll see. But for now I'm ready to make some parts in ABS.
|ABS (L) vs PLA (R) prints|