Printing ABS on a 3d printer can be a little harder than PLA. Up until now, I have avoided it after a couple of poor prints. I built a tri-copter that used a PLA 3d-printed yaw mechanism but I’ve broken it twice on some heavy landings. So I decided I needed to get to grips with ABS. I’m glad I did because after a couple of simple mods to my printer it prints ABS really well. I think I will use it all the time instead of PLA.
I’ve had my Anet A8 for a couple of years now and use it to make parts for Radio Controlled Models. All my prints up until now have been with PLA filament. So what are the modifications that have allowed me to get great results with ABS?
Insulating the Heated Bed
I think this has been the key to my successful 3d printing using ABS filament. Before insulating the underside of the heated bed it took around 40 minutes to reach 100 degrees Celius. So after some research, it seems that insulating the underside of the heated bed to stop the heat radiating out makes a big difference and it did around 12-15 minutes now.
I removed the bed and insulated it with 6mm Depron foam cut to the size of the bed. It’s glued on with UHU Por glue which is a contact adhesive. I applied glue to the bed and the foam and left for about 20 minutes and then placed the Depron foam on the heated bed and so far it’s working well. Cork can be used as well.
My Setting for 3d Printing ABS
I’m using the latest version of Cura 4.3 at the time of writing this post and always print using a raft to ensure good adhesion. I did try some bigger pieces with a brim but noticed some curling at the edges. The heated bed is set to 95 degrees and the nozzle to 230 degrees. I use a 0.2mm layer height and switch off cooling. Make sure your printer is not in any drafts or in a room with air conditioning that lowers the temperature. ABS needs more heat than PLA. That’s it and I mostly use 20% infill unless it’s a part that needs to be stronger.
If my printer hasn’t been used for a few days I will recheck the bed level, but rarely need to adjust it. The auto level sensor I added never worked that well so I removed it. I just check the level with a 0.1mm feeler gauge which picks up the vibrations of the fan really well. My method is to just slide the feeler gauge until you can feel the vibration while adjusting the bed. Make sure you preheat the nozzle and bed for ABS and give it a couple of minutes to stabilize. Doesn’t take long and I know its right, what’s a couple of minutes in a 6-hour print.
I’m using AMZ3d ABS black filament which is very good and the prints are amazing in my opinion.
Printing with ABS is not as difficult as I thought and with a simple modification and the settings I’ve used you should be able to do the same. If you would like to check out my Anet A8 printer review and some other modifications I’ve made here’s the post https://www.rckeith.co.uk/anet-a8-3d-printer/
The Anet A8 from AliExpress is on sale now and is good value