3D PRINTING INFO

3D Printing Filament Guide: ASA Filament

3D printing filament guide

As the manufacturing industry is being democratized by 3D printing, the technology is also being studied, researched, tested and used by people from across sectors. The technology is not restricted to engineers but even designers, hobbyists, and enthusiasts are using technology and building products.

Since this technology is also used by numerous non-technical users, we observe a high failure rate and this creates a wrong impression of the 3D printing technology.

So through this 3D printing filament guide, we will explain how to succeed while 3D printing with ASA Filament. This will help users to print with taking the necessary precautions and will help in achieving higher 3D printing success.

What is ASA Filament?

3D printing filament guide
Above: Fillamentum natural ASA filament/Image Credit: Fillamentum

ASA or Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate is not known to many users. It is widely considered as an alternative to ABS filament. Being thermoplastic, it can be heated to their melting point, cooled, and re-heated again without significant degradation. Even though ASA is quite similar to ABS, it is partially better than ABS in most of the important factors like strength, UV & water resistance.

ASA is a thermoplastic that combines mechanical strength & UV resistance with applications in the automotive exteriors, sports goods, garden equipment & housings or other outdoor components.  

Why ASA is an alternative to ABS?

ABS is widely used in a lot of applications due to its good mechanical properties but ASA betters these properties in almost every way. The biggest advantage of ASA is that it has higher resistance to UV. This means it can sustain longer periods of direct sunlight. This comes in handy when the 3D printed part has to perform in outdoor conditions like housing equipment’s, gardening tools, planters, automotive exterior parts, etc.

In such outdoor conditions, ABS turns yellowish while ASA shows higher resistance.

In the case of post-processing the ASA material, it performs similarly to an ABS filament. It is easily smoothened by using acetone vapours like in the case of ABS.

It exhibits better shape and colour retention properties, it has higher durability over time and shows exceptional weather and chemical resistance.

3D Printing Filament Guide: Properties of ASA Filament

In this 3D printing filament guide, we now will list down the properties of the ASA filament:

Superior Mechanical Properties: ASA filament has a high wear and impact resistance which makes it a good alternative to ABS filament.

Superior UV resistance: ASA material exhibits better shape and colour retention properties, has higher durability over time, and shows exceptional weather and chemical resistance.

Easy to post-process: ASA filament is quite easy to post-process. The post-processing can be carried out similar to that carried out on ABS filaments.

3D Printing Filament Guide: Understanding ASA Filament

Owing to its comparative properties to ABS filament, ASA can also be widely used in industrial applications and replace ABS material, almost, altogether. While it has a lot of advantages over ABS, it also exhibits a few disadvantages.

The ASA filament can release potentially toxic fumes while printing. It is also costlier than ABS filament and availability is comparatively lower than ABS. It also demands a higher extruder temperature as it has a higher melting point. This affects the overall energy utilisation impacting the economics of the product.

As a precautionary measure, it is always recommended to wear proper masks while printing with ABS

ASA material can also be post-processed very easily. The post-processing techniques are again, very similar to what is applied to ABS material.

Price for ASA Filament

ASA filament costs higher than an ABS filament.

In India, an ASA filament would cost onwards of Rs. 2000 per kilogram.

3D Printing with ASA Filament

3D printing filament guide
Above: Rake 3D printed in ASA material/Image Credit: Stratasys

We first take a look at the general print settings for ASA filament and then look at the tips to print with ASA filament.

General Printing Settings
Printing Temperature: 240oC to 260oC

Bed Temperature: 90oC to 110oC
Print Speed: 20-30mm/sec
Enclosure: Recommended

ABS Filament 3D Printing Tips

3D printing filament guide
Above: Parts 3D printed in ASA filament. Without proper settings & precautions (left) & with proper settings & precautions (right)/Image Credit: MatterHackers

While most of the 3D printing tips are similar to what is followed for ABS filament, in this 3D printing filament guide, we will share some tips while 3D printing with ASA filament.

First Layer Adhesion: It is important to get the first layer to stick to the bed. For this, the bed can be heated to around 100oC. Additionally, Kapton tape, glue or ABS slurry can be applied on the bed surface to increase adhesion of the print.

Bed Levelling: It is important to make sure that the bed is levelled. Nowadays, a lot of 3D printers do come with automatic bed levelling systems but still, it is a precautionary measure.

Use Bed Adhesion Tools: Always use bed adhesion tools like brim and rafts from the slicer settings so that it can help assure the bed adhesion for the entire duration of the printing.

Use within Manufacturer Temperature Range: Always use the ABS filament within the temperature range as specified by the filament manufacturer. Different manufacturers have a slightly different ideal temperature setting and so it is always recommended to follow that reference.

Closed Enclosure: A closed enclosure will ensure that the bed temperature is not affected and the printing occurs in a controlled environment. This will help in avoiding layer cracking.

Switch-Off Fan: Switch off the fan while printing with ASA filament. This will also help in ensuring a successful print.

Slow Initial Layer Speed: Use advanced slicer settings to set slow initial layer speeds to ensure better first layer adhesion.

 

It is important to understand that FDM 3D printing involves a fair amount of trial & error and it is always great to experiment and tweak print settings to achieve better print results. This 3D printing filament guide will serve as a resource for every new learner so that he is able to achieve a successful print, every time.


About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D printing which publishes the latest 3D printing news, insights and analysis from all around the world. Read more such informative articles on our 3D Printing Info page.

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