Basic facts and tips for using and choosing ABS and PLA materials:

  Made from:
    ABS: Petroleum based
    PLA: Corn or other plants

  Smell: 
    ABS: smell of hot plastic, 
    PLA: gives off a smell similar to a semi-sweet cooking oil. Less intense smell than ABS. 

  Part Accuracy: 

Both PLA and ABS are capable of building dimensionally accurate parts. However, there are characteristics that we need to memorized.

ABS: will be curling upwards of the surface in direct contact with the 3D printer’s print bed.  for fine and delicate features on parts involving sharp corners, such as gears, there will often be a slight rounding of the corner. 

PLA: much less part warping. but it undergoes more of a phase-change when heated and becomes much more liquid. The  increased flow can also lead to stronger binding between layer. 

    Recycling:

ABS: Recycling number 7, most local recycling programs do not accept ABS. It generally being recycled into plastic lumber. 

PLA: it biodegrades, however the process takes a long time when outside of an industrial composting facility

Why we provide vacuum sealed package for ABS and PLA products? 

long term exposure to a humid environment without sealed package may result in detrimental effects, both to the printing process and to the quality of finished parts. 


ABS: will tend to bubble and spurt from the tip of the nozzle when printing, part accuracy, strength are reduced. Raises the risk of clogging the nozzle. ABS can be easily dried by using dry  or hot air.

PLA: bubbles or spurting at the nozzle, also discoloration and a reduction in 3D printed part are found when in long term moisture environment. 

Improving the printing outcomes (Blue tape and kapton tape pictures)


PLA: printing temperature approximately: 190°C - 240°C
ABS: printing temperature approximately: 225°C - 250°C (recommend to use a heated print bed)

A good first layer adhesion is of the utmost importance in obtaining the best results for the prints. 

Using Blue Tape or Kapton Tape.

Hairspray the print bed.

To attain optimal result for the prints, you need to consider variables such as nozzel diameter, printing speed, and layer height.

Summary: 


ABS: 

A preferred filaments for the prints with engineering and professional purposes with its strength, machinability, flexibility, and higher temperature resistance. 

The bad plastic smell is due to the petroleum based origin. 

Required a heated print bed to attain ABS printing reliability. 

PLA:

Wide range of available colors, provide translucencies and glossy feel of the prints. 

Plant based and semi-sweet corn like smelling are appreciated over ABS.

When properly cooled, PLA seems to perform a higher maximum printing speeds, and sharper printed corners. Combining this with low warping on parts make it a popular plastic for household uses, toys, hobbyists, and educational purposes.