When someone is new to 3D printing, it is highly recommended to start with PLA filament, and having mastered that, to begin experimenting with different and more advanced materials. While PLA and ABS filament are the two most popular filaments, they have drastically different properties from each other.

PLA is such a great beginner material because it doesn't warp, doesn't need high temperatures, and it doesn't give off fumes as you print. ABS has the opposite properties on all accounts, however, what it holds over PLA is its temperature resistance; leave a PLA print and an ABS print in your car on a hot day and you will find the PLA has warped but the ABS hasn't. Additionally, ABS has more finishing techniques available from its chemical makeup: it sands easier than PLA and you can use acetone to melt away the layer lines.

Depending on the amount of ABS you mix with acetone, you create different materials: ABS juice, ABS glue, and ABS slurry.

 

Materials

  • Acetone
  • ABS (cut strands off your spool, or you can recycle ABS support material as well) 
  • Metal, glass, PP plastic, or HDPE plastic container. (You can tell if it's PP or HDPE by looking at the recycling symbol on the bottom) 
  • Digital scale or a ruler
  • Snips or wire cutters

ABS Juice

ABS juice is the best way to get your ABS prints to stick to your print surface. Since it has acetone in it, be sure that it is only applied on kapton tape on glass, or on just the glass. Do not apply this to BuildTak or a plastic print bed.


ABS Juice Instructions:

  1. Pour 50mL of acetone into your container. 
  2. Measure out 50cm of 3.00mm ABS filament or 4g of ABS scrap. Keep in mind your juice will be the same color as the material you put in. Natural ABS won't affect the color of the mixture, making it an ideal choice to be used when printing with any other filament. 
  3. Snip the filament into small bits to open more surface area to the acetone and allow it to dissolve quicker. If you're using scraps, try and chop it up as small as you can get it.
  4. Drop the ABS into the acetone and mix it in, this can either be done with a mixing stick or closing the lid and occasionally loosening the lid and burping the fumes it gives off.
  5. Let the ABS sit in the acetone overnight to ensure all of it dissolves. 
  6. When fully mixed, your ABS juice should look like and have the consistency of milk.

ABS Glue

ABS glue is great for welding two ABS parts together, and is better than using other adhesives, even super glue. ABS glue melts the two pieces, fusing them together into one strong piece instead of two glued pieces.


ABS Glue Instructions:

  1. Pour 50mL of acetone into your container. 
  2. Measure out 100cm of 3.00mm ABS filament or 8g of ABS scrap. Keep in mind your juice will be the same color as the material you put in. Natural ABS won't affect the color of the mixture, making it an ideal choice to be used when printing with any other filament. 
  3. Snip the filament into small bits to open more surface area to the acetone and allow it to dissolve quicker. If you're using scraps, try and chop it up as small as you can get it.
  4. Drop the ABS into the acetone and mix it in, this can either be done with a mixing stick or closing the lid and occasionally loosening the lid and burping the fumes it gives off.
  5. Let the ABS sit in the acetone overnight to ensure all of it dissolves. 
  6. When fully mixed, your ABS glue should look like and have the consistency of white school glue.

ABS Slurry

ABS slurry should be used to blend the seam between the two ABS pieces that were glued together. Use it like a filler putty to fill in any gaps between the glued parts or even use it to add more material in places that need to be built up.

 


ABS Slurry Instructions:

  1. Pour 50mL of acetone into your container. 
  2. Measure out 250cm of 3.00mm ABS filament or 20g of ABS scrap. Keep in mind your juice will be the same color as the material you put in. Natural ABS won't affect the color of the mixture, making it an ideal choice to be used when printing with any other filament. 
  3. Snip the filament into small bits to open more surface area to the acetone and allow it to dissolve quicker. If you're using scraps, try and chop it up as small as you can get it.
  4. Drop the ABS into the acetone and mix it in, this can either be done with a mixing stick or closing the lid and occasionally loosening the lid and burping the fumes it gives off.
  5. Let the ABS sit in the acetone overnight to ensure all of it dissolves. 
  6. When fully mixed, your ABS slurry should look like and have the consistency of putty. It should be very goopy.