Sunday, January 11, 2015

Printing Multiple ABS Parts

multiple ABS parts printed "all at once"

Summary: Print ABS parts one at a time, not "all at once".

Lately I have been printing a lot in ABS to make some custom parts for my multirotor helicopter. When I need to print several copies of the same part, I have been using the "print all at once" option just as I did with PLA. With PLA, this setting allows time for each layer to cool and generally gives higher quality prints.

layer separation

However with ABS, I noticed some layer separation in my prints with printing with the "print all at once" setting. There were obvious gaps in some of the layers. With just a little pressure, the layers pulled apart very easily.

layers pulled apart

I think this is due to the fact that ABS shrinks some as it cools. Print continuously and the previous layer is still hot while the next layer is printed. But given extra time to cool, the previous layer shrinks before the next layer is printed and you end up with the layers not touching.

Luckily, print quality has not been an issue; it seems easier to get good prints with ABS. So the print all at once option does not seem to be necessary. I have been printing my ABS parts one at a time and the quality and strength are perfect.