Best ABS 3D Printer Filament

ABS is the second most popular 3d printing material, beaten only by PLA. It’s widely available and cheap to buy. 

With ABS you can create parts that are impact resistant, durable, and resistant to weather and heat.

ABS parts are also easy to post-process, with sanding, painting, and vapor bathing all easy options you can use to get you the finish you want.

Outside of 3d printing, ABS is commonly used because of how useful its properties are. In fact, an array of consumer products are made of ABS, from Legos to keycaps.

Why Use ABS?

Here are some reasons why you might want to use ABS filament for your 3d printing project:

  • You can achieve a super smooth finish using a vapor bath
  • You can obtain a detailed finish by sanding
  • You can create a strong bond with glue
  • It’s weather resistant
  • It’s heat resistant
  • It’s excellent at load carrying strength
  • It has high impact resistance

What is ABS?

ABS plastic was one of the first materials to be 3d printed, and it is still a staple in industrial 3d printing.

ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, and these are the three components that make it up.

Each of these components brings different characteristics to ABS, and their ratios can be adjusted by the manufacturer to give different properties.

  • Acrylonitrile provides chemical resistance and stability at high temperatures
  • Butadiene provides the tough impact resistance
  • Styrene provides mechanical strength and the glossy finish

ABS is easy to clean up and apply finishes to after 3d printing. It can be machined, polished, sanded, filed, painted with ease.

On the downside, ABS is a little more tricky to print with compared to PLA because it is more sensitive to changes in temperature.

Pros and Cons of ABS

Pros

  • ABS is tougher than PLA, this means it is much less prone to breaking and can easily withstand impacts such as being dropped on a hard floor
  • ABS can withstand more heat and moisture than PLA making more suitable for outdoor applications such as plant pots or any use that will make it wet
  • Although it is not biodegradable material, ABS is recyclable and can be used to create new filaments
  • Because ABS shrinks when cool It comes off the bed easily by bending the base plate a little or scraping it gently
  • Useful for printing parts which undergo a lot of wear and tear.
  • ABS is more flexible compared to PLA, and it will bend before it breaks
  • ABS doesn’t need to be cooled with a fan. It is best left to cool on its own, so you don’t need a fancy turbofan on your 3d printer
  • Prints made with ABS can be easily cut with a sharp knife or a cutting tool without splintering or breaking.

Cons

  • To guarantee successful prints, you need a heated bed and an enclosed print chamber to maintain a constant temperature environment
  • ABS produces a slight smell of burnt plastic and unpleasant fumes during printing so good ventilation is essential
  • It can crack along layer lines if it cools down too quickly
  • ABS prints are susceptible to curl or warp while printing due to excessive cooling

Tips For Printing With ABS

Heated Bed: If you don’t have a heated bed then ABS is not for you. ABS is very prone to warping, and if the bed is not near 110℃, your prints will likely fail.

Bed adhesion: You must use build plate adhesion to hold your prints down. You can use glue or hairspray on a glass or metal bed, or apply a grip surface such as BuildTak.

ABS Print Temperature: A general guideline is to have your hotend temperature at 235. However, depending on the brand and color of the filament, you may need to calibrate to determine the right temperature. It can vary between 220C to 250C. This can be done by printing small test prints.

Turn off the fans: ABS needs warmth, and it needs to cool gradually. Turn off your fans and let it cool naturally.

Large Prints and Thin-walled Prints are Harder: Due to irregular cooling, larger and thin-walled prints can be harder to print in ABS. This is because it’s difficult to maintain an even temperature over a larger area, so parts of your print cool quicker than others and delamination of layers or warping could occur. For example, it’s common for heated beds to be warmer near the center and cooler at the edges. If your print covers your bed, the extremities may cool and warp as the extruder is trying to lay more plastic on top.

Enclosure: You will see a tremendous reduction in failure rate if you print in an enclosed printer. If your printer is not enclosed, you can build a simple and cheap enclosure to contain the heat. One of my favorite DIY enclosures is using an IKEA Lack table and polycarbonate side panels.

Clean the Extruder: If you’re printing ABS for the first time make sure to clean the extruder out to ensure no contamination of other materials. In most cases just extruding a reasonable length of new filament should be enough.  

Bed Levelling: Make sure your first layer is right by leveling the bed. It is a simple process, and you only need to do it once every few months.

What is Vapor Smoothing?

Vapor smoothing or polishing is a simple process you can do to smooth out the surface of your ABS prints. It removes all the layer lines that are an unavoidable fact of 3d printing. This gives your prints a super smooth finish as if they were molded.

To vapor smooth your prints you dip into them into a tank containing the vaporizing liquid at the bottom. The liquid doesn’t touch the print. Instead the vapor rises and surrounds the print, gradually melting the surface.

The longer you leave your print in the vapor bath, the smoother it will get. However, you will also begin to lose fine details, so you need to experiment a bit to see how long you need, or at least just remove your print from the vapor bath once you’re happy with the level of smoothing.

Acetone is commonly used for vapor smoothing. However, you should be careful as Acetone is highly flammable as both a liquid and a vapor. It also has an unpleasant smell.

For safety, it’s best to do vapor smoothing outside on a metal or concrete surface.

What to Look for When Buying ABS Filament

Diameter – You need to look for a filament that has a consistent diameter along its length. Filament manufacturers usually quote a tolerance for the thickness, for example, +/- 0.05mm but they don’t always live up to this. If the diameter varies too much as you print, you will be effectively feeding your printer too much or too little material, this means under or over-extrusion.

Moisture – Good filament will be packaged in a completely air-tight sealed bag to prevent any ingress of moisture or damp air. Inside the sealed bag there should be a desiccant like silica gel, which absorbs any moisture that was present in the bag or filament when it was first sealed. The longer filament is stored, the more likely it is to absorb moisture, so it’s good to buy filament from a store that has a high turnover of stock rather than something that might have been in a warehouse for years. If you buy a filament which has absorbed moisture you will notice spitting sounds in the hotend as the pockets of moisture get heated and turn to steam. This causes poor print quality and poor bed adhesion.

Impurities – High-quality filament will contain 100% ABS and color ingredients and nothing else. Poor quality filament may contain unknown impurities due to poor quality controls or deliberately added ‘fillers’ that bulk out the filament and reduce the cost of the material for the manufacturer. impurities can have an adverse effect on your prints in many ways, from just reducing your print quality to excessively wearing your nozzle and extruder.

The Best ABS Filaments

Next up, I’ve reviewed eleven of the best ABS filaments to help you decide which one to pick for your 3d printing projects.  

AmazonBasics ABS

AmazonBasics brand is well known for giving us some high-quality products at reasonable prices, and their ABS 3D Printer Filament is no exception. Not only is it a solid product, but Amazon has also gone the extra mile including some extras, like a resealable bag and a filament usage gauge.

Specification

  • Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Recommended extruder temperature: 245°C
  • Recommended platform temperature: 85°C
  • Net weight: 1 kg Spool
  • Dimensional accuracy: +/- 0.05 mm

Features

  • Colors Available: Black, blue, grey, white, red, and multipack
  • Packaged in a dry vacuum sealed bag
  • Resealable storage bag included, so you don’t need to buy separate zip locks
  • 1-year limited warranty

Opinion

  • The spool comes with a built-in gauge showing the remaining material as well as the remaining length, which is a great feature
  • It prints super smoothly and bridges very well for ABS
  • Hardly any warp with the right settings
  • It comes in many colors and at a great price
  • Some colors don’t quite match the images

HATCHBOX ABS

HATCHBOX is highly regarded for their reasonably priced PLA filament and their ABS filament is equally as good. In fact, it’s one of the most popular and highly rated ABS filaments available. It gives a particularly glossy finish. It tends to print at a higher temperature than most ABS and has a tough finish as a result.  

Specification

  • Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Recommended extruder temperature: 210°C – 240°C
  • Recommended platform temperature: 55°C – 85°C
  • Net weight: 1 kg Spool
  • Dimensional accuracy: + / – .03 mm
  • Print Speed : 60mm/s

Features

  • Only available in glossy black color
  • Packaged in a dry vacuum sealed bag
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Opinion

  • The layer adhesion is good and has a consistent dimensional accuracy
  • The finished prints are super glossy
  • Some users were not happy with the quality of the filament
  • Acetone vapor treatment worked very well and removed all the layer lines
  • There are slightly mixed reviews for this filament, with the majority of the users loving it but a few who don’t like it

3D Hero ABS

3D Hero ABS 3D Printer Filament gets some great ratings by owners. It’s available in a transparent version for a unique finish.

Specification

  • Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Recommended extruder temperature: 220°C – 240°C
  • Recommended platform temperature: 80°C
  • Net weight: 1 kg Spool
  • Dimensional accuracy: + / – .02 mm

Features

  • Colors Available: black, blue, gray, white, red, green, transparent
  • Packaged in a dry vacuum sealed bag
  • Low odor
  • 1-year warranty

Opinion

  • The layer adhesion is excellent
  • Transparent finish available
  • Some users report the quality is inconsistent between spools
  • Good quality product at an economical price
  • It sticks nicely to the bed
  • No warping or shrinking

3D Solutech ABS

3D Solutech has become one of the go-to budget filaments. Because of its low price, it’s often the filament people choose to have their first try at printing ABS.

3D Solutech has one of the best ranges of colors for ABS filaments, so if you want something unique, they are a good choice.

Some users find that different colors print better at different temperatures, so it’s a good idea to do some test prints each time you swap colors.

Specification

  • Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Recommended extruder temperature: 220°C – 230°C
  • Recommended platform temperature: Heated bed not required
  • Net weight: 1 kg Spool
  • Dimensional accuracy: +/- 0.03mm

Features

  • Colors Available: Black, white, real green, navy blue, aqua blue, skin, purple
  • Vacuum sealed packaging
  • Made in the USA

Opinion

  • Highly recommended filament for that price
  • It comes with a consistent diameter
  • There were a handful of comments about the bubbles on the filament
  • It works well in 3d pens
  • Good range of colors        

IC3D ABS

IC3D are based in Ohio, USA, and they test all of their materials in their in-house lab. This ensures their materials, including ABS, are ahead of the competition and meeting a high spec.

The IC3D Black 3D Printer Filament has been tested by many consumers on projects with some good results. It attracts good ratings and positive feedback from most people who give it a go.

You can buy IC3D in a range of spool sizes which can make it an economical choice for big projects.

Specification

  • Diameter: 3 mm
  • Recommended extruder temperature: 235°C – 245°C
  • Recommended platform temperature: 95°C
  • Net weight: 1 kg Spool
  • Dimensional accuracy: + / – .05 mm

Features

  • Variety of colors available
  • Available Sizes:2 lb, 5 lb, 20 lb.
  • Vacuum sealed packaging
  • Made in the USA

Opinion

  • This ABS filament is very consistent
  • The prints come out great with good bonding between the layers
  • Good adhesion on heated glass beds using only a glue stick.
  • The prints are very consistent without any change in the quality on a spool and without any bubbles
  • ICE3D gets excellent ratings with many satisfied customers

eSUN ABS

eSUN ABS 3D Printer filament gets well above average ratings with a lot of satisfied customers

Specification

  • Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Recommended extruder temperature: 220°C – 260°C
  • Recommended platform temperature: 85°C – 95°C
  • Net weight: 1 kg Spool
  • Dimensional accuracy: + / – .05 mm

Features

  • Colors Available: Black, white, orange, gray, natural, yellow, blue, light blue, silver, green, pink, peak green, brown, purple, pine green, red, gold, glow in the dark, skin, luminous blue, brown
  • Vacuum Sealed With Desiccant

Opinion

  • The diameter is accurate and consistent
  • The print quality changes between rolls
  • It comes very well packed
  • It does not clog in the nozzle or leave any residue
  • The filament prints very well once you get to know the correct setting
  • The spool is filled to the brim, so you need to supervise the first few layers in case the filament jumps off the reel

Pxmalion ABS

Pxmalion is a known name in the field of 3D printing, and their ABS 3D Filament is one of their most popular products

Specification

  • Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Recommended extruder temperature: 200°C – 230°C
  • Recommended platform temperature: 80°C – 100°C
  • Net weight: 1 kg Spool
  • Dimensional accuracy: + / – .03 mm
  • Print Speed : 40-90mm/s

Features

  • Wide variety of colors available
  • Vacuumed sealed packing with desiccant

Opinion

  • It produces good prints consistently without any warping
  • Good adhesion to the glass bed with the use of hairspray
  • The transparency will depend on the thickness of the piece, and the amount of heat applied
  • The product gets well above average ratings

Dazzle Light ABS

This Dazzle Light ABS 3D Printer Filament is made with quality materials to give you the best printing results

Specification

  • Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Recommended extruder temperature: 220°C – 240°C
  • Recommended platform temperature: 80-120
  • Net weight: 1 kg Spool
  • Dimensional accuracy: + / – .02 mm
  • Print Speed : 50-100 mm/s

Features

  • The available colors are black, blue, coffee, gray, white and red
  • Vacuum bag package with desiccant
  • Low odor
  • 1-year warranty
  • 100% No-bubble

Opinion

  • The filament works very well with an enclosed printer and the correct settings
  • Adhesion is good on glass beds with glue
  • Good layer bonding
  • Highly recommended filament for that price
  • The prints do not warp or lift off the surface of the bed
  • The diameter can be a little inconsistent on the spool

Gizmo Dorks ABS

Gizmo Dorks have been manufacturing all types of filaments for 3D printers, and they take great pride in this ABS Filament

Specification

  • Diameter: 2.85mm
  • Recommended extruder temperature: 230°C – 240°C
  • Net weight: 1 kg Spool
  • Roundness: + / – .07 mm
  • Dimensional accuracy: + / – .05 mm

Features

  • Black color
  • Vacuum bag packaging
  • Fluorescent colors are available

Opinion

  • It makes some great prints when optimum settings are used
  • There were a handful of comments from users who had some difficulty of prints not sticking to the bed, which could be attributed to the settings
  • Some users report It has quite a strong smell
  • The diameter is consistent
  • Quality is good for the price

Inland ABS

Inland is an experienced 3D printer filament maker. They specialize in manufacturing various filament materials for 3D printing.

Specification

  • Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Recommended extruder temperature: 215°C – 230°C
  • Recommended platform temperature: No heating bed required
  • Net weight: 1 kg Spool
  • Dimensional accuracy: + / – .05 mm

Features

  • A large variety of colors available
  • Vacuum bag packaging
  • Low odor

Opinion

  • It prints very nicely with hardly any stringing
  • The surface finish is immaculate and shiny
  • Good value for money
  • It has a bit of ABS odor which is expected
  • Bridging is reasonably good
  • The filament attracts mixed reviews with average ratings. However, the price attracts a lot of less experienced users

Octave ABS

The Octave company is known for manufacturing ABS filaments. This filament has been tested on a variety of 3D printers.

Specification

  • Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Recommended extruder temperature: 210°C – 250°C
  • Recommended platform temperature: 95
  • Net weight: 1 kg Spool
  • Dimensional accuracy: +/- 0.10mm

Features

  • Black color
  • Vacuum bag packaging

Opinion

  • Reacts very well to acetone vapor smoothing
  • The quality of the filament matches more expensive brands
  • It comes at a reasonable price point
  • The filament diameter is reasonably consistent
  • There were isolated comments about the quality difference between the two rolls

Conclusion

Compared to PLA, ABS has plenty of benefits to offer you. If you’re after making more robust parts that can withstand a drop, or getting weather-beaten, or you want a super smooth glossy finish, then ABS is your answer.

The price of ABS is that it’s not as easy to print as PLA. You will need an enclosed printer (DIY is fine) and a good heated bed.

The ABS filaments can certainly produce quality prints providing you get your printer settings right and most importantly the temperature. The ABS can produce pieces which are impact resistant and durable.

ABS is flexible as compared to PLA, and this means that the objects made with ABS will bend easily and not break. So it’s an excellent choice to make all types of mechanical parts which will be durable.

You can finish the piece in any way you like since you can cut, paint, sand, and bond.

The acetone vapor smoothing process works very well on ABS which can give you smooth and shiny objects.

ABS is probably not the best material if you are new to 3D printing, but you can really benefit from it if you get your printer configuration right.

It allows you to print complicated 3D objects with ease which will withstand many kinds of stress and rough treatment.

I’ve handpicked and reviewed the best ABS 3D printer filaments for you to make an informed decision on which may be the right one for you. With the proper setup and a good quality ABS filament, super smooth, mechanically robust parts are just an STL away…

-Dylan

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2019-08-18 at 15:06 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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