The science of 3D Printing with ABS

Author: Kathleen of 3D Print Works

Over the next few weeks we will explore “The science of…” different issues related to 3D printing. This week we are exploring the magic of ABS filament!

We will explore these topics through a series of interviews with Colin Hindle, Lecturer in Polymer Technology at Edinburgh Napier University, who is developing materials alongside us at 3dprintworks. With over thirty years experience in the plastics and polymer industries, Colin has been a great asset to the company and so we decided to take this opportunity to pick his brain.

What is ABS?

ABS is short for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene – bet you wished you never asked!

What qualities are looking for in ABS in order to achieve good print outs?

You are looking for a good flow behaviour for it to melt and obviously flow from the head. You might also be wanting it to be a very tough material. ABS combines reasonable toughness with rigidity, good surface gloss.

What makes the strands adhere together in ABS?

The styrene’s got an acrylonitrile phase, a rigid styrene acrylonitrile phase and a rubbery styrene rich phase. But it is styrene acrylonitrile that makes it easily mould together.

Why do you need to heat the bed if you are printing ABS?

Well again it comes back to glass transition. Glass transition of ABS is round about 100 so you want the bed to keep material above the 100 degree mark. So that’s why for ABS you would use a heated bed.

So will it stick better to the bed because of that?

It will stick better initially, yes.

How do you find out your TG? What is TG?

TG is the glass transition temperature. It’s the temperature above which large scale polymer chain rotation becomes possible. We usually measure it by measuring a physical property which changes markedly at TG. An example of that would be a specific volume, the volume occupied by the given mass of material. But an easier quantity to measure perhaps is a change in specific heat. Which is a measure using Differential Scanning Calorimetry, DSC for short. That’s quite a quick and easy automated test for most people to determine TG by DSC.

What is conductive ABS and what makes it conductive?

Well, you can make plastics like ABS conductive by incorporating into them a conductive additive. It could be particles of metal, you don’t need to have them actually touching but the particles need to be near to each other so the metal charge can be carried, like stepping stones if you like across a river jumping from one to the next. Or you can use intrinsically conductive polymers which are incredibly expensive, but you don’t need a great deal of it to make it conductive. If you’re only looking for a low level of conduction, that’s to say just dissipating static electricity rather than conducting a current, then you can get away with things like carbon black – although in that case you can only have one colour of course, black!

EinScan-Pro Handheld 3D Scanner Now Available

EinScan-Pro Handheld 3D Scanner

EinScan-Pro from Afinia 3D and Shining 3D Multi-functional Handheld 3D Scanner

The EinScan-Pro is the newest 3D scanner available from Afinia 3D and Octave Systems.

This multi-functional 3D scanner can be used in handheld modes, or with a tripod and turntable for automatic scanning. Using safe, white light LED scanning, the EinScan-Pro rapidly captures and delivers watertight 3D data of real objects for 3D printing, or non-watertight data for reverse engineering applications. With its ergonomic design, and weighing only 1.75 lbs (0.8 kg), the multi-functional 3D scanner is portable and fit for any duration of handheld scan. An optional external camera is also offered to enable full-color 3D scanning.

Four Scan Options

Choose the scan mode that best suites your needs. The EinScan-Pro offers Handheld Rapid Scan, Handheld HD Scan, Free Scan, or Automatic Scan.

  • Handheld Rapid Scan for portable, rapid scanning
  • Handheld HD Scan for capturing objects with high accuracy (50 microns)
  • Automatic Scan for completing a 360-degree scan in just 1.5 minutes
  • Free Scan for scanning larger objects
  • See the EinScan-Pro Multi-functional Handheld 3D Scanner in Action

    Introducing the UP mini 2 3D Printer!


    Now Taking Pre-Orders! ETA is first week of August. Get your today as the first shipment is selling out fast!

    UP mini 2 is not only affordable, reliable and easy-to-use like the first generation UP mini, it also comes with many new features related to usability, portability and connectivity.

  • Touch screen control: Provides better 3D printing user experience.
  • WIFI connection: WIFI support, enabling better user control of the 3D printer via mobile APPs.
  • Built-in HEPA air filtration: Reduces 3D printing fumes and emissions making for a healthy and safe 3D printing environment.
  • Aluminum handle and separate spool container with built-in toolbox: Easy to carry, easy to use.
  • One of the many new features to come to the UP Mini 2 is the ability to resume printing after power loss! With this new feature you will not have to worry about those long prints that leave the printer unattended. Once the printer regains power it is able to detect the unfinished print and will prompt the user with a simple yes or no question “would you like to resume the previous print”. In the world of 3D printing there are not many printers that have this capability and even fewer in the price range of the UP Mini 2.

    Visit our online store to see this product as well as our full line of products. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or just need help in making the right selection for your needs. 800-626-8539

    Octave Spends the day at Ceres High School

    Octave Systems spent the day at the Ceres High School MPGT Academy! Check it out!!




    Free Shipping on Octave ABS Filament!

    For the month of July, get Free UPS Ground shipping with the purchase of the Octave 1.75mm ABS Filament 8 Spool Bundle, 1kg (2.2lbs) each, Choose Any 8 Colors. Only $25 per spool!!


    Choose from 16 different colors – white, black, natural, red, green, yellow, pink, orange, purple, blue, brown, grey, transparent, galaxy blue, silver, gold.

    Octave 1.75mm 3D printing Filament 8 Spool Bundle. High quality 1.75mm 1kg spool each ABS filament from Octave. Produces excellent 3D printing results.

    High-quality ABS filament, manufactured to very tight tolerances and a wide extruder temperature range, making for smoother 3D printing, and fewer extruder nozzle problems.

    Look for in the Coming Months – Zortrax M300

    Zortrax introduces you to Zortrax M300, the 3D printer for those who want make their big ideas really BIG.

    And it certainly is bigger. While the M200’s 200x200x180 mm build space wasn’t the smallest around, many users will quickly get used to the M300’s comfortable 300x300x300 mm build space – large enough to 3D print entire motorcycle helmet in a single session.


    Of course many of the familiar features of the M200 have returned with this new 3D printer, but the M300 also contains several new features that are intended to optimize the prototyping experience. “The new 3D printing material spools are larger than those used in the M200 and allow users to check how much material has been used; making it easier to plan each subsequent print and project,” its makers say. “The M300 also comes bundled with Side Covers. These protect a user’s 3D print and help maintain a constant temperature within the build space, which can help prevent any model deformations.”

    But like its predecessor, the M300 also relies on Zortrax’s layer plastic deposition (LPD) 3D printing technology. 3D printing at a resolution of anywhere from 90 to 300 microns for a single extruder, the Zortrax M300 is capable of using 4 different types of Zortrax 3D printing filaments: the versatile Z-ULTRAT, the matte Z-HIPS, the semi-transparent Z-GLASS and Z-PETG, which is known for its resistance to just about all kinds of salts, acids and a lot more.

    Download the Latest Version of Z-SUITE

    To improve user experience even more, Zortrax has introduced a new set of upgrades in the Z-SUITE software.


    The 1.6.0. version includes new types of infill in high speed mode
    and 3MF file format.

    We’ve also:
    • enhanced slicing performance in Mac version,
    • added new geometry reading in .dxf file,
    • improved random seam in shell mode,
    • added dynamic view of estimated print time and material usage in pause mode,
    • improved top surface of the models,
    • added hotkeys.

    Download Z-Suite HERE

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