3d Printer Retraction Setting for Abs Vs Pla

3d Printer Retraction Setting for Abs Vs Pla

Ready to outset 3D printing with ABS filament just aren’t sure where to start? You’re not alone. ABS is ane of the more difficult materials to employ in 3D printing and needs the correct print settings and environment for the best results.

In this commodity, we’ll cover what ABS is, when you should employ it, and what settings you should use in your slicer. Nosotros’ll also affect post-processing ABS, and what upgrades you tin add to your machine to make your ABS prints wait meliorate.

What is ABS Filament?

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is a petroleum-based thermoplastic used primarily in 3D printing and injection molding. ABS is used to make many different products, including electronics casings, machine interior panels, lego bricks, and much more.

ABS is a stiff, durable textile that can withstand high temperatures. It’southward too relatively easy to print with and has a low melting point, making it ideal for 3D printing.

In filament class, information technology’s one of the most popular 3D press materials available and has several advantages over other filaments.

Why Use ABS Filament?

ABS is a heat-resistant filament that is often used when a 3D print needs to withstand environments with higher temperatures. It is a practiced textile to use for parts that need to stay in hot cars, outside, or about estrus sources. It has a softening point around 100°C, which is much college than
(lx – 65 °C) and even
(80 – 85 °C).

With its loftier heat tolerances, ABS is one of the few 3D printing materials that tin can exist placed in boiling water for sanitation. This makes information technology great for something that requires frequent sterilization similar confront shield mounts and other PPE items.

ABS is also a durable textile that doesn’t hands interruption or shatter. This makes it platonic for 3D printed parts that need to withstand high impacts or be used in demanding environments.

Disadvantages of ABS

While ABS has its advantages over other 3D printing materials, it also has some drawbacks that brand information technology unsuitable for some uses.

The biggest complaint with ABS is that it is difficult to impress with. Even the
best ABS filament
has a tendency to warp and shrink, making it one of the more than hard materials to use in 3D printing.

ABS also has poor press bed adhesion. Information technology tends to lift off the build plate while printing, making it challenging to get skillful results unless you maintain a constant elevated temperature in the print chamber.

A warping ABS 3D print
Warping is a big event with ABS

You will also run into high levels of
3D printing fumes
when press with ABS. The fumes can be harmful to your health and should not exist inhaled.

ABS prints are besides decumbent to UV damage, moisture memory, and weak resistance against solvent-based chemicals. While the last is as well seen every bit an advantage (information technology is what makes ABS and then like shooting fish in a barrel to smooth with acetone), it can also atomic number 82 to a ruined ABS print if information technology comes into contact with a solvent unintentionally.

Printing ABS Without Warping


ABS needs to be printed at high temperatures and has a loftier shrinkage charge per unit. This ways that if the temperature of the 3D print drops during the printing process, the cooled parts of the impress will get-go to compress. This leads to warping, curling, and other print quality problems.

To avoid this effect, information technology is best to continue an ABS print consistently higher up a certain temperature. A 3D printer enclosure is platonic for this.

3D printer enclosure
is a box or heated bedchamber that surrounds your 3D printer and helps to go along the temperature of your ABS print stable during the printing process. This can be a challenge without an enclosure because drafts of cooler air cause temperature instability.

At that place are many dissimilar types of enclosures available on the market, from simple boxes to complex chambers with congenital-in heaters. The simplest way is to buy an off-the-shelf
enclosed 3D printer, but you can also build a DIY 3D printer enclosure.

A modified IKEA LACK table as a 3D printer enclosure
This IKEA LACK enclosure is a popular option

If y’all’re looking to build your own enclosure, there are a few things to proceed in mind. The enclosure should be big enough to fit your 3D printer and should not exist flammable. Information technology should besides be well-insulated to maintain a consistent temperature.

Print Bed Material

While you tin can print ABS on a number of dissimilar surfaces, the easiest and nearly consistent results come from press directly onto a piece of drinking glass attached to your heated bed. The smooth glass gives the bottom of your parts a smooth surface and distributes estrus well.

A drinking glass print surface works best when a sparse layer of glue or melted ABS is spread across the build plate. A PVA glue stick is normally plenty to keep nigh prints stuck to an fifty-fifty printing bed then long equally the heated bed temperature remains consequent, simply nosotros’ve likewise listed some more powerful alternatives below for those really stubborn prints.

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Bed Leveling

When the build plate isn’t fully level, ABS is more than susceptible to bed adhesion issues than other 3D press materials. Getting the press bed as even as possible will result in much better prints overall and save you a lot of hassle with failed and warping parts.

When the build plate is uneven, some parts of the get-go layer print closer to the print bed than others, making information technology harder for the function to stay attached. Leveling the printing bed ensures that all parts of the first layer adhere consistently and within the right distance.

Automatic or assisted leveling systems are best for keeping the build plate consistently level. Our go-to solution for this is the
leveling sensor, merely there are other solutions besides.

If your 3D printer doesn’t have an automatic leveling organisation, you can use a manual leveling method like the 3-point leveling system. Information technology is more than fourth dimension-intensive, but information technology works merely fine with enough practice.

Bed Adhesion

Showtime layer adhesion is incredibly important (and somewhat difficult to reach) in gild to foreclose warping in ABS prints. At that place are many ways to ensure skilful bed adhesion, merely one of the easiest ways to ensure a good bond with the build plate during printing is by using an appropriate adhesive on the bed.

The best bed adhesive for 3D printing with ABS filament is commonly considered to be ABS slurry. Information technology is possible to make this yourself and information technology produces a solid bond between your first layer and the print bed. ABS slurry is made up of ABS material dissolved in acetone. You lot tin make it past cutting upwards your scrap pieces of ABS and letting them dissolve in acetone.

Another option is to employ a PVA glue stick to assistance ABS adhere to the print bed. They are inexpensive, simple to use and don’t brand a mess. Elmer’due south has a
variety of glue sticks
well-suited for 3D printing.

Glue sticks used to increase bed adhesion with ABS
Glue-sticks are an essential component of whatever 3D printer accessory kit

Alternatively, you lot can as well apply the acetone from your vapor smoothing setup, if you lot take one. Fifty-fifty though it can be harder to tell when this acetone reaches the right ratio of acetone to ABS.

3D Gloop!
is a set-made solution for ABS bed adhesion. Information technology’s a glue specifically designed for use in 3D printing and with 3D printed parts. Not only can it
glue 3D prints, but it can also adhere your ABS prints to the bed while printing. Simply castor a sparse layer of it onto the build plate before you kickoff your ABS print.

They brand a formula for both PLA and ABS, and while information technology is best to use the product designed for the cloth you lot are using, y’all can technically use the PLA gloop for ABS if that is all you take on mitt.

Recommended Settings for 3D Printing ABS Filament

Printer Setting Value
Impress temperature 220°C – 250°C
Bed temperature 90°C – 100°C
Bed surface Drinking glass with mucilage
Impress speed twoscore-threescore mm/sec
Cooling fans Start layers off – 0-xxx% afterwards
Enclosure Yes
Retraction 2-iii mm (direct drive) / four-5 mm (Bowden)
Layer top 0.2 mm
Storage Airtight container when non in employ / commonly okay to exit out while in utilise

Nozzle Temperature

ABS filament prints hot, which is one of the reasons it tin can be difficult to work with. Virtually ABS brands work with a press temperature range of 220°C – 250°C. Nonetheless, it’s too not uncommon for ABS brands to have a recommended printing temperature with an upper end of 260°C – 270°C.

It is worth noting that basic extruders take difficulties with press temperatures above 240°C. This is because at that temperature the PTFE tubing inside the extruder starts to melt. Fifty-fifty if the heater cartridge in the hot end can achieve even the highest ABS temperatures, you run the take chances of damaging the extruder if you try to print at them.

This is why many users upgrade their printer to an all-metallic hot end if information technology does not come standard. It is one of the almost popular
Ender three upgrades
Ender 5 upgrades
you can do to improve either of these
budget 3D printers.

Bed Temperature

Near brands of ABS filament accept a recommended heated bed temperature within the range of 90°C – 100°C. Unlike PETG and PLA, 3D press with ABS filaments requires a heated build plate. If the bottom layers don’t stay warm enough throughout the entire print process, they will first to shrink. This detaches them from the build plate and leads to warping and print failures.

ABS slurry tin can aid with bed adhesion. If you lot are using it, you don’t need to worry about the heated bed temperature as much. However, if y’all are not using ABS slurry, it is important to keep the heated bed at a temperature that volition keep your prints from warping.

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Print Speed

ABS works with the aforementioned standard print speed as most other 3D press materials at 40-60mm/sec. This is boring enough to ensure that the impress quality won’t endure while still beingness fast enough so that it does not excessively wearisome down your ABS print.

Cooling Fan Settings

Since ABS needs a high bed temperature to print correctly, it’s important to keep the cooling fan off during the first few layers. This helps with layer adhesion and prevents the bed temperature from dropping.

You can turn the cooling fan on to almost xxx% later the initial layers print, but it unremarkably isn’t necessary.

The cooling fan settings practise change depending on whether or not the 3D printer is in an enclosure with a heat chamber. If it is, a depression cooling fan setting of around 30% is more helpful in keeping the heat consistent.


Retraction is a flake more forgiving with ABS than a stringy filament like PETG. Usually, you can get peachy ABS prints by setting a straight drive extruder to two-3mm retraction and a Bowden  extruder to 4-5mm retraction. These settings can change betwixt different ABS filament brands and 3D printers, and so adjust them equally needed if yous notice whatsoever stringing or blobbing on your ABS impress.

Layer Height

ABS works well with the standard 0.2mm layer meridian for a 0.4mm nozzle. All the same, just like with other 3D press materials, changing the layer top while press ABS tin can affect how long the print takes and what the print quality looks like. A shorter print peak produces more detailed prints with less noticeable layer lines, while a taller layer height reduces print times and quality.

Brim and Raft

Brims and rafts are common ways to avoid warping with ABS since they help with bed adhesion. It is best to utilise brims and rafts to print ABS when your part does not cover a lot of surface area on the printing bed in the first layer. An case is a figure with just the feet touching the print bed.

Rafts are best when those small contact points happen inside the print, whereas brims are all-time when parts on the outer perimeter of the impress need stabilization.

Draft Shield

A draft shield is an experimental characteristic in some
3D printing software
options like Cura. It essentially prints an out case around the impress to protect information technology from common cold air drafts. The shield and the print are separate pieces, then the shield can easily exist removed from the print bed and discarded.

A draft shield used to prevent warping on an ABS 3D print
Don’t be afraid to utilise a draft shield when working with ABS

This is a good feature to try if y’all are consistently having problem keeping your press temperature stable when printing ABS.

ABS and Moisture Absorption

While ABS does absorb some wet, it usually takes on much less than other printing materials like PETG. ABS also doesn’t degrade in water like PLA or PETG, then even if it does take on some moisture content, information technology is unlikely to ruin the structure of the material.

That said, fifty-fifty with ABS filament it is best to properly shop information technology in a
filament dry box. That way, y’all can avoid whatsoever moisture assimilation that could cause printing problems.

Smoothing ABS

I of the biggest advantages of using ABS is its piece of cake mail-processing. Smoothing the layer lines is especially effective since ABS is a solvent-based fabric. As such, it reacts with solvent chemicals such as acetone. This makes it possible to utilise acetone to smooth the outer layers with acetone instead of sanding them.

This can exist a huge fourth dimension-saving tactic if yous have several 3D prints to smooth. However, it is also somewhat unsafe depending on which method you use, and it requires working with acetone which is an irritant and requires protective equipment like gloves, spectacles, and a respirator.

Cold smoothing is the safer option, but it takes more fourth dimension to produce results. It requires putting a small corporeality of acetone in the lesser of the container, usually soaked up by napkins or paper towels, and putting your print on peak of it on an elevated platform so that there is no directly contact. You so place a lid on the container and go out it until your prints are sufficiently smoothen. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending on the size of the model.

An acetone smoothed ABS 3D print next to a regular version
Acetone smoothing tin create beautiful results

Vapor smoothing requires heating the acetone until it vaporizes, assuasive you to smooth a part inside seconds. Yet, information technology is extremely dangerous and we don’t propose trying it. Purchasing a smoothing station is a far improve (and safer) alternative and will produce the same great results.

Recommended ABS filament brands

Our go-to ABS filament brands are
Hatchbox. Both brands have a wide variety of colors and produce high-quality prints.

Prusament ABS
is also a great selection. Information technology is a petty more expensive than the Polymaker and Hatchbox brands. Only it has a very high quality, great dimensional accuracy, and is easy to impress with.

Troubleshooting ABS filament

There is a nasty smell during ABS printing

ABS printing gives off a strong olfactory property that some people find unpleasant. The all-time way to combat the smell is to impress in an enclosed 3D printer. This volition assist to contain the fumes and make them less full-bodied.

The impress is warping

Warping is ane of the most common problems with printing ABS. At that place are a few things yous tin do to try and prevent it: use a brim or raft, print in a draft-free surround, and make sure the bed is level and clean. If you lot are all the same having trouble with warping, you tin can try using an ABS slurry.

The impress is stringing or blobbing

If you are experiencing stringing or blobbing with your ABS prints, information technology commonly ways that the retraction settings are non prepare properly. Try adjusting the retraction settings for your straight drive extruder to 2-3mm and for your Bowden extruder to 4-6mm. You tin can also try decreasing the print temperature by 5-10 degrees Celsius.

I tin can’t get the showtime layer to stick

If the offset layer of your ABS print isn’t sticking to the bed, you can try using an ABS slurry or increasing the bed temperature. If that doesn’t work, yous tin also endeavour adjusting the bed level or bending.

Things to 3D print with ABS filament

ABS is a versatile printing textile that can be used for a broad variety of applications. Here are some things you can 3D print with ABS:

  • Prototypes
  • RC car parts
  • Functional parts
  • Cosplay props and costumes
  • Phone cases
  • Tools
  • Toy parts
  • Camera mounts
  • Household items


Is ABS or PLA stronger?

PLA is amend than ABS in both force and stiffness. However, because of its depression estrus resistance, PLA is less ideal for prototyping purposes.

What do you lot apply ABS filament for?

ABS filament tin be used for a wide diverseness of applications, including Prototyping, RC automobile parts, functional parts, phone cases, tools, toy parts, camera mounts, and household items. Because of its ease of mail service-processing, ABS is as well great for creating a
3D printed helmet
3D printing cosplay armor.

Which is stronger, ABS or PETG?

PETG has increased forcefulness and immovability compared to ABS. It is besides easier to print. The only reason to option ABS over PETG is when you lot need increased temperature resistance or if you lot need to postal service-process your print by gluing or painting it.

Are ABS fumes toxic?

The fumes from ABS printing are considered toxic. Additionally, they can be unpleasant to exhale in. The best manner to combat the odour is to impress in an enclosed 3D printer. This will help to incorporate the fumes and brand them less concentrated in the surrounding air.

What temperature should I print ABS?

ABS prints best at temperatures betwixt 220°C and 250°C. However, the exact temperature you utilise will depend on the type of printer you are using and the brand of filament yous are using. You tin figure out the optimal temperature by using a
temperature tower

Does ABS filament need print cooling?

In general, it’due south best to exit the fan off when printing ABS plastic because also much cooling can cause warping and other problems.

Can you print ABS without a heated bed?

No, you can’t impress ABS without a heated bed. The reason is that the filament needs to be kept warm to prevent warping. Without a heated bed the ABS print would cool downwardly as well quickly and would not produce the proper results.

Last Thoughts

ABS is a durable plastic that has a great heat resistance and piece of cake postal service-processing methods. It’due south great for parts that need impact, temperature, or certain chemical resistances. However, it’south besides a hard and frustrating cloth to print with.

Its loftier press temperature, shrinkage charge per unit, and propensity to warp mean it usually takes a lot of trial and fault to get the perfect settings for your printer and brand of ABS filament. Beyond your basic print settings, adding an enclosure, heated sleeping accommodation, and all-metallic hot stop can make working with ABS much easier.

Do you lot still take questions about 3D printing with ABS? Let usa know in the comments!

  • Emily is a content writer who focuses on DIY, 3D printing, graphic design, and engineering. She grew upwardly learning virtually pattern, drafting, and machining from spending her afternoons at her father’s tool and die store.

3d Printer Retraction Setting for Abs Vs Pla

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