Best ABS 3D Printing Filaments of 2017

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is a 3D printing plastic. It’s a versatile petroleum-based material that belongs to a family of thermoplastic polymers. It’s a popular choice for many, but it’s not the only option on the market. There are different brands and grades of ABS filament, which makes them unequal in terms of usage and design. ABS is popular for a few reasons. To start with, experienced users like ABS because it’s strong, affordable, and it’s easy to modify the parts after printing. The downside is that it’s a tricky filament for the novice to work with. The main reason is because it flows slowly from the print head and shrinks as it cools down. Unless all the printer settings are exact, too much shrinking can make high-precision printing difficult.

The Importance of Using a Quality ABS

In this guide we list seven of the most popular ABS filaments of 2017. Most of these are users’ choices, chosen because of high ratings and positive feedback. It’s easy to zoom in and focus on the ABS with the cheapest price tag, but it can be a false economy. Affordable and cheap are not the same thing. Bargain basement filament is usually in the ‘basement’ for a reason. Quality issues from cheap ABS filament will cost you more time and money in the long run.

ABS filament is trickier to use than its eco-friendly counterpart, PLA. It’s also best to use ABS with a 3D printer that has a heated print bed. This is important as this reduces warping and the potential of cracking during the cooling down process. Both ABS and PLA filaments have their pros and cons. Your specific needs and expectations will determine which one is right for you.

You can read our introduction and top picks for PLA here.

The main benefits of 3D printing with a good quality ABS filament include:

  • Very hard and sturdy
  • Slightly flexible
  • Heat resistant
  • Finished part is easy to sand and glue
  • Easily soluble in acetone
  • Great plastic properties
  • Nice smooth finish
  • Solidifies quickly
  • Durable (difficult to break)

What to Print Using ABS

Professionals, hobbyists, and educators all like to use ABS 3D printing filament for different things. If you expect to create parts that will take some knocks and punishment, then ABS is a good choice for you. It’s also an ideal choice of 3D filament for printing mock-ups, concept models, figurines, and all kinds of gadgets. In short, if you want to create something for regular, practical use, consider ABS.

The purpose of our ABS guide is to highlight the best options around today. This means we only list the brands that check enough boxes to make it onto this shortlist. We introduce each product by brand name and highlight the main reasons why it’s on the list. There’s also a simple table under each product where you can read other details at a glance. The table includes things like the star rating, colors available, and sizes. We’ve added the printing and bed temperatures for your convenience too, as well as where to buy the filament.

OK, let’s now take a look at the top ABS 3D printing filaments of 2017.

#1 IC3D ABS 3D Printer Filament

IC3D-pla

IC3D is a US company based in Ohio. They currently produce one of the highest rated 3D ABS filaments online. They make the filament and perform quality-tests on all their materials in-house. The quality of their ABS 3D printing materials keeps them on top of their game and has given them a loyal customer base. Users like to use IC3D ABS because it’s easy to work with compared to some other brands. The diameter is always consistent, which prevents a 3D printing clogging nightmare. Layer bonding is exceptional too, at any printing speed. The 3D parts display beautiful details and a nice glossy finish. If you want to enhance the appearance still further, a simple acetone bath will give it a final polish. Acetone helps to remove any tiny imperfections that there might otherwise be. With so much going for it, you might think the price is going to be high, but it’s not. A 2 lb. spool shouldn’t cost much more than $35. There’s also an option to buy bigger spools of 5 lbs and 20 lbs.

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The table below shows some product highlights for IC3D ABS

Brand/Product Name:IC3D ABS
Star Rating:
Colors available:Black, blue, green, orange, white, red, and natural
Size available:1.75mm, 3mm, 2 lbs., 5 lbs., 10 lbs., spools
Print temperature:220°C – 230°C
Price Check:Product Link

#2 Hatchbox ABS Printer Filament

hatchbox-abs

Although Hatchbox is not the biggest name in ABS printing filament, this Chinese brand still has a lot to offer. With its super-glossy finish, it presents an affordable option without losing out on quality. Give or take a couple of dollars, you can usually pick this product up for somewhere around the $23 mark for a 1kg spool. The quality is equal to that of a higher priced material, which makes it an especially good buy. Hatchbox has hundreds of glowing reviews on Amazon, making it a product well worth considering. In fact, it’s now one of the most highly-rated 3D ABS printing filaments globally. Note that Hatchbox ABS prints at the higher temperature ranges. This means the 3D parts are particularly tough and incredibly durable. Manual finishing in acetone is straightforward enough and does a great job at polishing the 3D printed models.

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The table below shows some product highlights for Hatchbox ABS

Brand/Product Name:Hatchbox ABS
Star Rating:
Colors available:Red, pink, orange, green, black, blue, silver, glow, and many others
Size available:1.75mm, 1kg (2.2lbs) spool
Print temperature:210°C – 240°C | Bed Temperature: 55°C – 85 °C
Price Check:Product Link

#3 MakerBot ABS Printer Filament

makerbot-abs

If you own a MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer, then look no further than MakerBot ABS filament. This is by far the best material for the machine and all your ABS 3D printing jobs. Nothing is more consistent in quality or better tested than this product. Today, Makerbot is a world leader when it comes to manufacturing high-tech 3D materials. The company has become famous for adhering to strict standards in its quality control procedures. You’ll find a plethora of personal users, major companies, and various institutions that swear by MakerBot ABS.

This is an especially good material for mechanical type designs. It’s perfect for producing parts that include pin-connections or interlocking pieces in their makeup. It’s unlikely you’ll ever experience clogging with MakerBot ABS, thanks to its high tolerances. Anyone who’s been 3D printing for a while will know how frustrating clogging can be, and so a no-clogging material is a godsend. If you want to print 3D parts that are long-lasting, tough, and durable, then add MakerBot to your shopping list.

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The table below shows some product highlights for MakerBot ABS

Brand/Product Name:MakerBot ABS
Star Rating:
Colors available:Black, white, orange, purple, and natural
Size available:1.75mm, 1kg (2.2lbs) spool
Print temperature:230°C
Price Check:Product Link

#4 Ultimaker ABS Printer Filament

ultimaker-abs

Ultimaker is a Dutch brand that produces only high-end 3D printing filaments. Their ABS products are perfect for making 3D functional parts. The material has excellent layer bonding and displays little to no warping. It’s an easy filament to print with too. This ease-of-use is a huge attraction for newbies in particular, who may otherwise find ABS tricky to get used to. If you need to do a little post-processing of your parts, Ultimaker ABS responds really well to an acetone vapor bath.

Because of its consistent quality, strength, and durability, it’s a perfect choice of ABS for producing high impact 3D parts. This includes functional prototypes and various other manufacturing applications. After all, the automotive industry relies on this brand of ABS for a reason. On the whole, Ultimaker ABS helps users to realize their goals. And, compared to other brands, you get high-quality, better looking aesthetics to your printed models.

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The table below shows some product highlights for Ultimaker ABS

Brand/Product Name:Ultimaker ABS
Colors available:Blue, black, white, orange, yellow, green, silver, others
Size available:2,85mm, 1kg (2.2lbs) spool
Print temperature:236°C – 244°C | Bed Temperature: around 90°C
Price Check:Product Link

#5 PUSH PLASTIC ABS Printer Filament

pushplastic-abs

PUSH PLASTIC may not be the name on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but perhaps it should be. Seriously, this is a significant contender in the world of quality ABS for 3D printing. PUSH PLASTIC produces all their ABS filaments using 100% virgin materials and premium resin. It’s a versatile ABS that works with most modern 3D printers that accept 1.75mm or 3mm filaments. Like the other top ABS picks listed here, PUSH PLASTIC filaments are also incredibly strong. They’re durable too, and have consistent diameters. Some users report that PUSH PLASTIC ABS needs a slightly higher melt temperature than others. Once you figure it out for your machine, printing becomes easy with this material. The suggestions are to start at 220ºC and tweak from there. Best of all is the competitive price of this quality filament that can retail at around $10 less than some of its main rivals.

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The table below shows some product highlights for PUSH PLASTIC ABS

Brand/Product Name:PUSH PLASTIC
Star Rating:
Colors available:Amber, black, white, blue, green, grey, natural, orange, translucent and more
Size available:1.75mm, 3mm, 1kg (2.2lbs) spool
Print temperature:220°C – 235°C | Bed Temperature: Around 110°C
Price Check:Product Link

#6 Octave ABS Printer Filament

octave-abs

Octave ABS 3D printing filament is the last of our top picks. The company is renowned for producing its ABS material to strict specifications. The filament works with a variety or modern 3D printers with heated beds. The filaments have consistent performance while printing and produce good end results. Users don’t experience those common extruder nozzle issues that plague so many inferior materials on the market. With Octave filaments you get to make smooth 3D parts that are strong, durable, and long lasting. At around $27 per 1kg spool, it’s an affordable option as well.

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The table below shows some product highlights for Octave ABS

Brand/Product Name:Octave ABS
Star Rating:
Colors available:Black, white, green, blue, red, gray, yellow, others
Size available:1.75mm, 1kg (2.2lbs) spool
Print temperature:210V – 250c
Price Check:Product Link

Our Final Thoughts on 3D ABS Filament Picks

Compared to the more eco-friendly PLA, ABS—at the recommended temperatures—has superior layer bond. What this means is that printed parts have greater strength and are more impact-resistant. Therefore, ABS filaments are a great choice for making functional, mechanical parts that must be durable, longer lasting, and weatherproof. ABS is also more flexible than PLA which means they’re more likely to bend under pressure, not break. Post processing is another key feature of ABS. This means you have more control on how to finish the end piece. For example, you can cut, sand, file, bond, and paint the 3D parts easily. You can then use acetone to produce models that are even shinier and smoother. Acetone is also useful for welding two or more printed parts together. Out of the two, PLA is the easier filament to work with if you’re new to 3D printing. Which one you choose all depends on the kind of things you want to print and your overall expectations.

To summarize: ABS is not usually the best choice if you’re a total novice to 3D printing. PLA is better for printing household items, toys, and gadgets, and where flexibility is not a major prerequisite. ABS is an ideal filament to choose for printing more complex 3D objects that have to withstand rough treatment and knocks. It’s the best option for parts exposed to hot environments and that need to be weatherproof more generally.

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