How to print with ABS

Printing with ABS is very similar to printing with PLA. Once again, getting the first layer right is always key.

ABS will require a heated bed to print with. This is because ABS contracts when cooling so you want to prevent it from cooling too much during the printing process. You can print ABS onto a glass bed or painters tape, however, ABS likes a rough surface to stick to therefore, a coating of glue on a glass bed will be necessary.

Unlike PLA, it is important with ABS to keep it very hot. It is best to keep the nozzle as hot as possible. Since ABS prints at 220-260deg, it is recommended to keep the nozzle at the top end of these temperatures. Keeping the air temperature around the print hot will also help. Many people enclose their printers with cardboard or insulation foam to ensure that all the heat created by the bed and the nozzle remain around the ABS. This will prevent it warping and then cracking. Without such an aid, the print can often crack whilst still being printed.

ABS is a very stringy plastic meaning that during printing small blobs of plastic can be deposited around the print. These can be cut off after the print is done, however, if you want to prevent this from happening then make sure that your nozzle temperature is hot and your printer is travelling slowly.