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Printing with ABS/ASA filaments and vapor smoothing your prints

By Ferretpass with huge help by Cathode_G

What will you need to get started printing ABS or ASA?

  1. You are going to need filament for ABS Cathode and I recommend https://amzn.to/3gpRnvR There filaments are very consistent and well-made they have excellent layer adhesion and printablity and strength. For ASA I recommend https://amzn.to/3gegp20 Polymaker is a very well known brand and the filament is fantastic.
  2. A 3d printer enclosure is essential for getting clean prints. I personally recommend this one if you have an Ender 3 sized printer. https://amzn.to/3pX0cSf they are very well-made and keep heat in the printing area. 
  3. I would also recommend if you have an Ender 3 sized printer getting a https://amzn.to/3wgiaBv this glass beds print surface makes the first layers stick very well with glue stick
  4. This is necessary https://amzn.to/35bSbPI since we are printing at hotter temps than PLA materials the standard white PTFE tube will not work and the tube will melt and clog the Hotend.

What print settings will you need?

You will need a hot nozzle temp of 245c to 255c for standard Hotends with the upgraded PTFE tube if you have an all metal Hotend like Cathode you can print 275c+ generally the hottest temps grant the best layer adhesion. You will also need a Print bed temperature of 80c to 100c for stock machines if your print bed can go hotter you can bump the temps up to 120c+ (Cathode recommends 120c) this grants the best chance of the material sticking to the build plate. You will also need to turn your cooling fan OFF. Any cooling will cause the material to warp off the build plate and your print will be brittle. For print speeds I recommend 50mm/s to 60mm/s if you are printing hotter than 255c Cathode recommends 70mm/s. It is required to use some sort of build plate adhesion to insure prints sticking to the bed of the printer I recommend printing on a (Raft with zero top layers and a 0.2mm air gap) (Cathode recommends if you are printing above 255c and 100c on the bed to use a brim). Layer heights is another very important setting I recommend if you are printing 255c and below using a 0.16 layer height that has given me the best results. Cathode Recommends a 0.2 layer height for prints below 255c for Prints above 255c Cathode Recommends a 0.28 Layer height for Prints

https://youtu.be/8k0h1Ln9l_E?t=92 this video goes over my personal settings for abs the video is my Fakelite video but i go in depth of my settings from 1:32 to 4:30

How do I vapor smooth my prints?

  1. You will need 100% acetone, which can be found at hardware stores. Do not use nail polish remover. The part will not be as strong because the layers won’t be as fused together, and it has an overall worse finish.  (Image 1)
  2. You will be needing a polypropylene container and a polypropylene lid for that container, you can tell if the container and the lid are polypropylene if it has a “PP” symbol on the container. (Image 2)
  3. You will be needing metal wire to hang the print in the container. I personally use nichrome wire and I tape the ends to the sides of the container. (Image 3)
  4. You will need to put toilet paper in the bottom of the fixture, this keeps some acetone from evaporating.(Image 4)
  5. Hang your print in the fixture. Make sure the part isn’t hitting the toilet paper or the sides of the container. It will show up in the finish of the part. (Image 5)
  6. (Heat your printer’s build plate before you pour your acetone.) Pour in the acetone. I usually pour in the container somewhere around ⅓ cup of acetone or around 79 ml. (This amount isn’t very crucial, just somewhere around 70 ml will work.) (Image 6)
  7. Close the container with the lid(Image 7)
  8. Put container with part on your 3d printers bed for around 10 minutes it may require less time or more time depending on filament brand and container size (things to note make sure you take the filament roll out of your enclosure if anything goes wrong with your container, the roll of filament will be ruined) (Image 8)
  9. Once vapor smoothed, take the container with the part off the printer and open it in a well ventilated area (DO NOT TOUCH THE PART!!! The print will be very soft and putting your hands on it will destroy the print. Let the print set for at least 2 hours after printing before touching the part. )
  10. After letting the part sit in the open air for 2 hours, you are finished with the vapor smoothing process. (Image 9)

Finished part 

This video is also my Bakelite video I talk about the vapor smoothing video from 4:35 to 9:22

Strength testing 

Here’s a video of me doing push-ups on a printed AR15 Lower receiver with these settings and vapor smoothed I know my push-ups weren’t the best but the lower survived my tests 

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Ferretpass

Author Ferretpass

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