We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
A few days ago we’ve tried using a perfboard build plate for ABS trick and we got very good results. Since then we have done some more experiments and cans hare our experience based on our printing efforts using ABS filaments over a piece of perfboard. We have created and printed a build plate base that was designed to house the perfboard we use for testing ABS 3D prints with in order to make it easier to swap the PCB build plate with the glass build plate we use for printing PLA. The idea was to have the two at the same height, so there will be no need to do a leveling adjustment when changing the build plates. This however was not too successful as the perfrboard build plate does need slight readjustment of the distance between the nozzle and the PCB for good prints.
Finding the perfect level is still a bit of an issue, so the first two or three layers that we get printed of the object over the raft we use are not perfect, but there is still no warping. We even tried printing some PLA objects on the perfboard build plate and they worked just fine, so once you have the perfboard build plate installed and the extruder properly leveled for it you should be able to print with various materials, though with PLA filament it might be a bit harder to remove the raft from the perfboard. The only problem with the perfboard is finding a large enough PCB for prototyping with holes to cover the whole build plate that your 3D printer has. We are going to continue playing with the perfboard trick for printing ABS as we do have some more interesting ABS-based filaments to test printing with, though we do still prefer to work with PLA most of the time, unless there is something specific that ABS is better for.
3D printing using ABS filament does have some specific requirements for the printing device, the most important of which is to have a heated buиld platform in order to prevent the printed part from warping up and to have it stick well to the base. Unfortunately not everyone has a printer that is capable of using ABS thermoplastic materials for printing as is also the case with us and our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer that is designed to support only PLA printing officially. That is precisely why we were looking for various things that may allow us to print using ABS filaments without the need to add a heated build platform to our Replicator 2 and we might have found a good workaround. We have stumbled across this idea and have decided to try it out – printing on a prototyping perfboard used for generic electrical projects. So we have found out some different perfboards and bought them to try out printing with ABS on them and our initial tests have produced very good results as you can see on the photo above. With that however there are a few catches that you should be aware of if deciding to try out this workaround, the important thing is that it works however.
The trick that prevents the warping of the prints using this method are the holes of the perfboard where some of the filament gets in and thus, you need to print the models with a Raft however to get good prints that stick to the build plate. Do note that this solution has some drawbacks and other inconveniences that we’ve discovered while trying things out. First we had trouble finding big enough perfboards to cover our full build platform, so we have settled with the biggest ones we could find, but thiс means a more limited size for the prints using ABS. When we got the perfboards it has turned out that they are not perfectly flat and that can cause issues while printing, so we’ve used the flattest one to get better results. After inserting the perfboard on the build plate you will need to do a level adjustment as it will add something between 1 and 2 millimeters on top of the level you normally would use for the standard build plate oф the printer. You need to attach the perfboard well to the buиld plate so that it will not move during printing, but at the same time will still be easy to be removed when you need to get hte printed part off it and then you would need to clean the holes of the perfboard from the remaining material. The cleaning part is very important as the holes do the trick and if they are not cleaned after a print you may start getting the prints warping again, you can use a paperclip to easily remove the remaining ABS material. We are still playing with the ABS printing on perfboard, but things are really looking promising on the Replicator 2 based on the results we are getting, so stay tuned for more information based on our experience.
This seems to be a question we are getting quite often from people. The ABS filament used for 3D printers has some advantages over PLA filament, however it also has some additional requirements from the 3D printer in order to get good and problem free results. The main problem that ABS has is that it does not stick well to cold build platforms and as a result the bottom of the 3D printed part gets warped, other than that a normal 3D printer designed for PLA materials could handle ABS as well. Printing on such 3D printer meant for PLA filament using ABS and including a Raft material can somewhat help in getting a better print, however the material will still warp if you do not have a heated build platform. So essentially what differentiates 3D printers designed for ABS from those meant for use with PLA filaments is the heated build platform – something that is needed by ABS, but not by PLA. Do note however that even with a 3D printer designed to support ABS filaments and with heated build platform you can still experience the printer 3D filament warping at the edges if the conditions are not right. This is precisely the reason why many people prefer the use of PLA filaments instead of ABS, even if their 3D printer does have support for ABS as well.
Using ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) filament gives you a harder and more durable object that is also more temperature resistant than PLA. With ABS you can usually go over 100 degrees Celsius before the 3D printer part starts to soften unlike 65-70 with PLA. The parts printed from ABS however are often harder to print with good results (not to have warping and curling) from the first try and the 3D printed object may not turn out to be as detailed as when using PLA filament. Another thing to be careful when using ABS filaments – make sure that the printer is in well ventilated area as the fumes produced when melting the filament are not so safe to breath whereas the ones form PLA should not be a problem. So there are some advantages and some disadvantages for both PLA and ABS filaments, and it really depends on what you are going to be using the 3D printer objects when deciding what material you should go for. If you are going to need to work with ABS materials however make sure you plan that before you decide on a 3D printer and go for a one that supports ABS and has a heated build platform as this could save you a lot of headaches, even though the device will be a bit more expensive. For some 3D printers there are also options to upgrade the build platform with a heated one if originally the device did not come with such and thus become able to support ABS as well.