ABS is one of the most popular 3D printing materials, but many people struggle to get it to stick to the bed. Bed adhesion for ABS does take a little bit of extra knowledge to get it perfect.
This article will detail the best ways to get your ABS prints to stick to the print bed.
The best way to get ABS to stick to your print bed is to use a higher bed temperature and a good adhesive, before printing. The higher heat and sticky substance on the print bed is a perfect combination to get the first layer of ABS to stick down properly to the print bed.
That’s the basic answer but there are a few things to know before getting started. Keep on reading on to get some important details about temperature, the best adhesive substances, and other questions about getting ABS to stick nicely.
Best Ways to Get ABS to Stick to Print Bed
ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is a well-known plastic material that is widely used as filament in 3D printers.
Its high-temperature resistance and strength are some of the major factors that make it one of the most popular materials to use for 3D printing.
ABS is mostly used in 3D printing applications that need to be strong. They provide a great smooth finish that provides extra charm to your print. As it is mentioned above that ABS is strong, there may come a problem of ABS print not sticking to the bed.
The first layer of any 3D print is the most important part of the print and if it does not stick to the bed properly then all your efforts can be ruined.
There isn’t a magic solution to solve this problem, just take care of a few things and you can avoid the problem of ABS not sticking efficiently.
- Set Adequate Temperatures
- Decrease Printing Speed
- Increase Flow Rate
- Use Bed Adhesives
- First Layer Height and Speed
- Turn Off the Cooling Fan
Set Adequate Temperatures
Temperature is the most crucial factor in 3D printing. Most of the problems that occur in the 3D printing process are just because of printing at the wrong temperature.
There is a point of temperature known as the glass transition temperature, this is the point where the filament converts into a melted form and becomes ready to be extruded from the nozzle.
With the perfect temperature, accurate extruder settings are also necessary. It is important for the extruder and nozzle to keep pace with the temperature to print flawlessly.
To get ABS stick to the bed perfectly and to get rid of warping it is recommended to:
- Set bed temperature a bit higher than the glass transition temperature – 100-110°C
- Increasing your printing temperature to ensure a good flow of melted ABS filament
Decrease Printing Speed
The next factor to look into is decreasing your printing speed. This works together with the temperature because you increase the time the filament is interacting with those higher temperatures.
When you decrease the printing speed, the ABS filament has an easier time flowing through the nozzle, but a speed too slow can bring negative results.
- Use a slower printing speed for the first 5-10 layers, of around 70% of your normal speed
- Find an optimal printing speed by using a speed calibration tower to see the best results
Increase Flow Rate
Flow rate is an important 3D printer setting that many people overlook, but it makes a big difference in your prints. When it comes to ABS sticking to the print bed, flow rate can be used to your advantage.
If increasing your printing temperature and decreasing print speed hasn’t worked, then increasing flow rate may help get ABS to stick down a little better.
The usual flow rate settings in your slicer is 100%, but this can be adjusted to help increase the amount of filament coming out the nozzle, which helps out if your filament is extruding thin.
Getting ABS to stick can take a thicker first layer for a better foundation. It also cools down less quickly so it has a lesser chance of warping or curling.
Use Bed Adhesives
One of the more common methods that 3D printer users use to make their ABS prints stick to the bed is by using bed adhesive, namely a mixture called ABS slurry. It is a mixture of ABS filament and acetone, which dissolves into a paste-like mixture.
When put on your print bed, it acts as a great adhesive specifically for ABS and enhances the success of your 3D prints.
Do keep in mind that when ABS slurry is heated on the print bed, it can start to smell quite badly.
Glue sticks also work pretty well for ABS, so I would try a few alternatives and see how they work out for you.
Increase First Layer Height & Width
The first layer is the most important part and if it gets stick to the bed perfectly you will have a great resultant print. First layer height and width can help with your ABS prints not sticking to the bed.
If the first layer covers a larger surface area, there is more of a chance that it will stick to the bed because it will cover a large area.
Just like layer height, print speed should be adjusted accurately as high-speed prints can damage the sharp edges of your print.
- Increase ‘Initial Layer Height’ for a better foundational first layer and better adhesion
- Increase ‘Initial Layer Line Width’ also to get ABS prints to stick better
Turn Off the Cooling Fan
The Cooling fan helps the filament to get solidify quickly but while printing the first layer, it is recommended to keep the cooling fan off. ABS filament takes time to stick to the bed and if the filament becomes solid quickly there is a high probability that the print will detach from the bed and will cause the warping.
Try turning the cooling fan off for the first 3 to 5 layers and then turn it on.
Best Nozzle & Bed Temperature for ABS
Compared to other filaments, ABS takes more time to melt and it requires a higher temperature as well. The most suitable and ideal range of temperature for ABS filament lies between 210-250°C.
The best thing to do is look at the temperature range given by the filament manufacturer themselves and run a temperature calibration tower.
You can go with the Smart Compact Temperature Calibration Tower by gaaZolee on Thingiverse, which tests for multiple performance features such as overhangs, stringing, bridging and curvy shapes.
It’s usually better to start at a lower temperature and work your way up, because you want to print as low as possible where your flow is still good for the best print quality.
The ideal bed temperature for the ABS to get stick to the bed properly about 100-110°C as previously mentioned.
Is it Possible to 3D Print ABS on an Aluminum Bed?
Printing on an aluminum bed is possible but it is not that easy. With the increase in heat, the aluminum bed may start expanding which can disturb the bed level because its shape will be changed.
If you really want to print on an aluminum bed, then experts suggest using a glass plate on the aluminum bed. It will not only prevent you from expansion problems but printing on a glass plate also provides better finish and smoothness.
ABS slurry on a glass surface works very well to get ABS prints to stick nicely. You don’t want a situation where your prints are sticking too well, so don’t use too much of the slurry and implement a good temperature, both for printing and the bed.
How Do You Stop ABS from Warping?
Warping is a common problem in 3D printing when you are using ABS filament. The corners of your print tend to bend or warp when they cool down and detach from the print bed.
This is because hot filament expands while cool plastic contracts. To stop ABS from warping you should consider the following tips. We hope this will be beneficial:
- Control the temperature of the immediate environment with an enclosure
- Prevent drafts from affecting your ABS prints
- Use a higher temperature on your build plate
- Make use of adhesives such as glue, hairspray or ABS slurry
- Make sure that the print bed is leveled accurately
- Use Brim and Raft
- Calibrate the first layer settings properly