What is ABS?

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a standard plastic filament often used in 3D printing. It is often compared to PLA, as these materials have many overlapping properties. ABS can be more desirable because is tends to produce more flexible 3D prints than PLA. One important difference, however, is ABS does emit a strong odor when melted. Therefore, ensure there is proper ventilation when 3D printing with this material.

Costume designers often use it due to its strength, impact resistant and low production cost.


ABS is an excellent choice for conceptual, functional and design verification prototypes, where you do not need high mechanical properties. Weight and costs can also be saved by designating a lesser infill pattern. It is important to remember that sharp corners in your model will often be rounded and print layers will be visible after printing.

Printing Method

Fused Deposition Modeling, or FDM, is an extrusion-based technology. It use a temperature-controlled print head to deposit a thermoplastic filament layer by layer onto a build platform. The filament is melted due to a heated nozzle, which a motor pushes the filament through.

An FDM printer moves the print head along specified coordinates, laying down the molten material onto the build plate. Once in place, it cools and solidifies. This process continues, layer by layer, until the model is complete. Support structures are used as needed, depending of the geometry and orientation of the model.

Compared to other 3D printing methods, FDM is the most cost-effective way to prototype. It is suitable for both prototyping and non-commercial functional applications. You can choose from a wide range of thermoplastic materials. Models printed in FDM have visible layer lines and therefore require post-processing to have a smooth finish.

Design Specifications

The minimum wall thickness for this material is 0.8 mm to ensure structural integrity. If there are any protruding parts on the model, we recommend the use of support structures to maintain stability.

Included engravings optimally have a minimum requirement of 1.0 mm line thickness, 1.5 mm depth, and 4.5 mm overall height.

For embossments, it’s important to ensure they are thick enough to survive production and shipment. For this reason, the recommended minimum dimensions are 0.8 mm line thickness, 0.8 mm depth, and 3.0 mm overall height.

If the model will be printed in parts to be assembled, a 0.5 mm width is necessary between the different pieces to ensure fit.