What you need to know about ASA filament, comparison with ABS
ABS is one of the most popular choice of material to print with in the 3D printing community, because of its great properties. If you’ve printed with ABS in the past and left your prints in the sun, you might’ve noticed that ABS printed parts tend to turn yellow-ish. This is because ABS isn’t resistant to UV rays and the prints also start to wear eventually due to weather conditions. But we’re here to introduce you the alternative for ABS, which is ASA.
What is ASA?
By now you’ve probably heard about ASA filaments. ASA or Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate is a material that is gaining popularity in 3D printing community. It is a material very similar to ABS, but with greater strength and exceptional weather resistance, which makes it a better choice if you’re printing parts that will be used outdoors, since it can withstand rough weather conditions, is UV resistant and very durable.
So far we’ve learned that ABS is a great material to print with, but it is not perfect. It has trouble retaining shape and color over time. This is where ASA steps in and fills the void. Due to its excellent properties, ASA is able to retain shape and color in rough weather conditions. Because of their similar properties, ASA can be post-processed the same way as ABS. The most easy way to do so is applying the acetone vapor process. You can read more about it here.
Temperatures when printing with ASA
Printing with ASA does require a bit higher temperatures. While printing with ABS the bed temperature should be somewhere between 70-100°C, with ASA it should be in the neighborhood of 100-115°C. Also the extrusion temperature should be a bit higher, ranging from 230°C to 255°C. If printing on glass, hair spray works just fine to help the first layer stick to the bed better.
One of the most important things when printing with ASA filaments is cooling. If ASA is cooled to quickly, you can experience problems like layer shifting and warping. We found that when printing with ASA, the cooling fan should be set somewhere between 10-20%. Keep in mind that if you want your prints to be successful, you should never cool first layers. Because of the slow cooling ASA requires it is very recommended to print it in an enclosed printer, so you protect it from drafts and cold air in the room.
With all that said, below is a review of both materials.
In conclusion, if you intend to use your object indoors ABS performs just as well as ASA. However since ABS prints will change color and will start to wear over time due to weather conditions, ASA is your better choice. ASA, similar to ABS is a good material to use when printing engineering parts.
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