All ABS is Not created equal

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DrewPetitclerc
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All ABS is Not created equal

Post by DrewPetitclerc » Thu May 24, 2012 3:18 am

Hello everyone, I love my printer and as some of you may know my "Day job" is as a "Senior Principle Designer" with the largest hard drive company, I design clean room tooling and testing equipment for very high volume, tight tolerance manufacturing line, I have been performing this job since 1980.

Since getting my printer I have purchased a lot of plastic spools from many suppliers and had a lot of varying success, the following statements are based on my experience only and you all know yours may vary, but I thought it would be nice to have a start point for this.

The one thing I have done repeatedly with ever ABS roll I have is to print a "Bearing spool holder" with the new plastic, I use the same settings every time, Normal, 0.2 layer, raftless, normal support setting. This is what I use to support the spools for my printer since I removed the hanger and pre-feeder motor from it.
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:7001
I find this can tell me a lot right away about the formula of the plastic.

The consideration I will use is on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the original OEM plastic from PP3DP, this takes into account the following measurement criteria.
1. How well it melts/extrudes.
2. How well it sticks to the Kapton tape on my glass build plate.
3. How much lift or warp it has inherent.
4. Ease of raft-support removal.
5. How well does it hold tolerance, inside-outside diameters and dimensional surface to surface.
6. Overall surface finish, texture of finished plastic part.
7. Last (for me at least) is cost, not including shipping (varies). For this comparison we will consider 1kg spools of ABS.
So let's start, in no particular order I will talk about one supplier at a time.

MakerBot
http://store.makerbot.com/plastic/1-75mm-filament.html
• 15 colors with an average 1kg cost of about $51.00 each (I have bought 1 of each color).
• Average overall rating is 4 (cost consideration) .
• Standout performance by White for best surface finish
• Lowest performance by Silver with more "Stick to raft/support" removal issues.
3D Printer Stuff
http://3dprinterstuff.com/shop/page/6?s ... hop_param=
• 10 colors with an average 1kg cost of about $36.00 each (I have bought 1 of each color).
• Average overall rating is 6.
• Standout performance by Purple for best surface finish
• Lowest performance by Yellow with more "Lift/warp" issues.
Octave Systems Inc.
http://www.octave.com/ABS-Filament-Octa ... index.html
• 18 colors with an average 1kg cost of about $34.99 each(I have bought 3 spools).
• Average overall rating is 9.
• Standout performance by Orange for best surface finish (best closest to OEM performance).
• Lowest performance by none, not a large enough sample yet.
Maker Gear
http://www.makergear.com/products/filament
• Various colors (low count) with an average 1kg cost of about $46.00 each (I have bought 3 spools).
• Average overall rating is 3 (in stock varies too much).
• Standout performance none.
• Lowest performance none.
Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_seeal ... 1333480720
• Various colors with an average 1kg cost of about $35.00 each (I have bought 1, Gold).
• Average overall rating is 7 (in stock varies too much but a good deal can be found).
• Standout performance Gold for best surface finish (best closest to OEM performance).
• Lowest performance none, not a large enough sample yet.
3D Ink
http://buy3dink.com/175ABS.aspx
• 8 colors with an average 1kg cost of about $34.95 each (I have bought 1, Purple).
• Average overall rating is 4 (in stock varies too much, out most of the time).
• Standout performance Purple (only color I have).
• Lowest performance none, not a large enough sample yet.

This all I have for now, I will post another time about my experience with PLA.

I hope this will be helpful, I have my preference list now and it is fortunate for me that my number one preferred reseller is located here in the valley so my list from first to last is this.
1. Octave Systems Inc. :D
2. MakerBot :)
3. 3D Printer Stuff ;)
4. Amazon ;)
5. Maker Gear :(
6. 3D Ink
:o
My rating of who I will buy from is based on performance then cost, then in stock selection.
I thank you for listening and happy printing.
Drew
Last edited by DrewPetitclerc on Fri May 25, 2012 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Drew Petitclerc
Petitclerc Designs
Owner/Senior Principal Designer, prototype, tooling and test equipment design and 3D printing
http://flash-graphics.deviantart.com/
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wilsonj
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by wilsonj » Thu May 24, 2012 9:03 am

Nice write up drew. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Is there one particular colour you use the most?
Regards
Jamie
3DPrinterGear.com.au

mr6k
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by mr6k » Thu May 24, 2012 10:43 am

Drew,

Great comparison notes.

There seem to be many suppliers of ABS now. Are there really as many manufacturers out there as suppliers or is it possible that there is / are only 1 or 2 manufacturers who make and extrude 1.75mm ABS and the differences are either storage or factory quality selection? Maybe the less good material is early versions from the manufacture while he/they were still on a learning curve. It seems to me that for the number of 1.75mm ABS printers out there the numbers would not stack up to have that many ABS 1.75mm extrusion companies and any extrusion company I would have thought would purchase raw stock from a favorite supplier.

As a comparative example, having been part of the technical side of the motion picture industry, Eastman Kodak manufacture very high tolerance perforated 35mm negative film stock to the professional movie market. The perforations are punched very accurately, but of course over time the punch dies wear. Kodak, did, not sure if the still do, reserve the stock punched with new dies and sold/supplied it to users for special effects where absolute image stability was critical.

Just wondered if the same sort of thing happens with ABS manufacturers ?

cheers

Peter

pleppik
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by pleppik » Fri May 25, 2012 12:37 am

Drew:

Great information.

One thing which you didn't include is the tolerance of the filament diameter. You (and I) have modified our printers to be more forgiving of filament which doesn't have a consistent diameter, but most people here haven't.

In particular, a lot of people have reported problems with 3dPrinterStuff filament having wildly inconsistent diameters. I have one roll of orange from them which varies from 1.55mm to 2.05mm, and is nearly unusable even with the mods I made. Most people would not be able to use this and the company has a strict "no refunds" policy.

billyzelsnack
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by billyzelsnack » Fri May 25, 2012 1:50 am

Thanks for compiling this.

What's the Amazon link? You have the Makergear link listed twice.

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DrewPetitclerc
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by DrewPetitclerc » Fri May 25, 2012 2:17 am

wilsonj wrote:Nice write up drew. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Is there one particular colour you use the most?
Natural(bone) and White.
Drew Petitclerc
Petitclerc Designs
Owner/Senior Principal Designer, prototype, tooling and test equipment design and 3D printing
http://flash-graphics.deviantart.com/
http://www.thingiverse.com/DrewPetitclerc

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DrewPetitclerc
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by DrewPetitclerc » Fri May 25, 2012 2:36 am

[quote="mr6k"]Drew,

Great comparison notes.

There seem to be many suppliers of ABS now. Are there really as many manufacturers out there as suppliers or is it possible that there is / are only 1 or 2 manufacturers who make and extrude 1.75mm ABS and the differences are either storage or factory quality selection?
/quote]

There several suppliers both here in the States and China.
Drew Petitclerc
Petitclerc Designs
Owner/Senior Principal Designer, prototype, tooling and test equipment design and 3D printing
http://flash-graphics.deviantart.com/
http://www.thingiverse.com/DrewPetitclerc

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DrewPetitclerc
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by DrewPetitclerc » Fri May 25, 2012 6:20 am

billyzelsnack wrote:Thanks for compiling this.

What's the Amazon link? You have the Makergear link listed twice.
Sorry, long day fat fingers.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_seeal ... 1333480720
Drew Petitclerc
Petitclerc Designs
Owner/Senior Principal Designer, prototype, tooling and test equipment design and 3D printing
http://flash-graphics.deviantart.com/
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by DrewPetitclerc » Fri May 25, 2012 6:40 am

pleppik wrote:Drew:

Great information.

One thing which you didn't include is the tolerance of the filament diameter. You (and I) have modified our printers to be more forgiving of filament which doesn't have a consistent diameter, but most people here haven't.

In particular, a lot of people have reported problems with 3dPrinterStuff filament having wildly inconsistent diameters. I have one roll of orange from them which varies from 1.55mm to 2.05mm, and is nearly unusable even with the mods I made. Most people would not be able to use this and the company has a strict "no refunds" policy.
I've been very lucky in that regard as all the plastic I have purchased has at worst been undersized, that was one of the reasons for my mods, I hope I don't see the king of trouble I've notice a few have had with blobs in the middle of a spool.
The purple I got from 3D ink has been fine, no trouble, I was going to buy more from them but they have been out of stock of everything but the purple I already have.
Now due to how much plastic I have on hand I will probably only buy from Octave unless someone else has a color they don't and from their first offering it looks pretty good, I have high hopes for this new supplier we shall see if they keep coming through with nearest OEM product.

Side note, the Wind Barrier/cooler damper I redesigned and mounted on my machine and the 2 printers at my work are what makes any of these after market plastics work, the support is easier to remove than without it and I print large square and rectangular parts raft-less on Kapton without warp, my secret is to pause after the first layer has printed and drip single drops of MEK on all corners where lift might occur then continue printing, this wicks under any corners that may have begun to lift and re-sticks them down.
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:21091

Regards
Drew
Drew Petitclerc
Petitclerc Designs
Owner/Senior Principal Designer, prototype, tooling and test equipment design and 3D printing
http://flash-graphics.deviantart.com/
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Madox
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by Madox » Sun May 27, 2012 1:40 am

Thanks, never heard of the Octave one until now.

I've recommended against almost every other supplier except the OEM pp3dp one but I'll give that '9' mark a try :)

ata0921
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by ata0921 » Sun May 27, 2012 8:05 pm

So are all the plastics you tested using the same parameters for Z height, fill density , speed, etc?

n other words, are you using specific settings with non-OEM plastic? Or any settings work?
- Andy

gotya77
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by gotya77 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:12 pm

pleppik wrote:Drew:
One thing which you didn't include is the tolerance of the filament diameter. You (and I) have modified our printers to be more forgiving of filament which doesn't have a consistent diameter, but most people here haven't.
Which modifications would these be ?
Just the "Pressure Extruder Block and Arm" ? Or are there any other ones that need to go in conjunction with this ..

Thanks!

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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by DrewPetitclerc » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:31 pm

ata0921 wrote:So are all the plastics you tested using the same parameters for Z height, fill density , speed, etc?

n other words, are you using specific settings with non-OEM plastic? Or any settings work?
As I stated in my first post on this thread I print the same bearing spool holder with the same settings for every color of abs I get. :D
Drew Petitclerc
Petitclerc Designs
Owner/Senior Principal Designer, prototype, tooling and test equipment design and 3D printing
http://flash-graphics.deviantart.com/
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by DrewPetitclerc » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:37 pm

gotya77 wrote:
pleppik wrote:Drew:
One thing which you didn't include is the tolerance of the filament diameter. You (and I) have modified our printers to be more forgiving of filament which doesn't have a consistent diameter, but most people here haven't.
Which modifications would these be ?
Just the "Pressure Extruder Block and Arm" ? Or are there any other ones that need to go in conjunction with this ..

Thanks!
The pressure extruder block arm and the new fan mount that directs air over the plastic cooling it, also I use compressed air fed directly to the extruder gear to prevent pre melt of the filament due to excessive heat from the motor. :geek:
Drew Petitclerc
Petitclerc Designs
Owner/Senior Principal Designer, prototype, tooling and test equipment design and 3D printing
http://flash-graphics.deviantart.com/
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by DrewPetitclerc » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:39 pm

Madox wrote:Thanks, never heard of the Octave one until now.

I've recommended against almost every other supplier except the OEM pp3dp one but I'll give that '9' mark a try :)
Remember my success is supported by the modifications that I have done to my extruder and system, so your results could vary. :D
Drew Petitclerc
Petitclerc Designs
Owner/Senior Principal Designer, prototype, tooling and test equipment design and 3D printing
http://flash-graphics.deviantart.com/
http://www.thingiverse.com/DrewPetitclerc

pleppik
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by pleppik » Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:55 pm

gotya77 wrote:
pleppik wrote:Drew:
One thing which you didn't include is the tolerance of the filament diameter. You (and I) have modified our printers to be more forgiving of filament which doesn't have a consistent diameter, but most people here haven't.
Which modifications would these be ?
Just the "Pressure Extruder Block and Arm" ? Or are there any other ones that need to go in conjunction with this ..

Thanks!
I made two modifications to my printer to handle the problem of inconsistent filament diameter.

One is the printable extruder feeder: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:18010

This handles the problem of undersized filament. It accomplishes the same thing as Drew's part, but in a more homebrew fashion.

The other modification I made is to drill out the metal feed tube in the hot end with a 5/64 (2mm) drill bit to cure the problem of oversized filament jamming in the tube. See this post for my comments:

http://pp3dp.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f= ... t=20#p6155

I have some filament which still jams even with these modifications--it's a roll of orange from 3Dprinterstuff which varies from 1.55mm to 2.05mm--but with these two mods I can deal with almost any third party filament supplier.

ata0921
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by ata0921 » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:12 am

Any further feedback on others experiences with Octave plastics? I just ordered 4 rolls (blue, green, gold and purple). I'll post results following Drew's tips, but it'd be nice to know people's results with other colors.
- Andy

rolandsimons
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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by rolandsimons » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:09 pm

For those of you in Australia - Bilby CNC provide really good and cheap ABS - especially the carboard spool versions - colors are good. Use the new extruder fan casing too released by UP Aus/NZ site... it is great..... plastic snaps off where you want it to regardless of plastic melting point (but best buy their 230 degree ABS).

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Re: All ABS is Not created equal

Post by JuliaDee » Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:24 am

ata0921 wrote:Any further feedback on others experiences with Octave plastics? I just ordered 4 rolls (blue, green, gold and purple). I'll post results following Drew's tips, but it'd be nice to know people's results with other colors.
I've had great results with Octave's yellow, orange, and "gold". Black has been so-so - nozzle clogging and delamination seem to be more of an issue with black; I don't know if that's true of other brands or not because Octave is the only ABS I've ever used apart from the white that came with the printer. Apart from nozzle clogs with the black plastic, I've had no feed problems at all with Octave filament.

julia

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