PLA and ABS are two of the most popular 3D printer filament materials. This comparison will hopefully give you more knowledge on both materials and help you select the best filament for your project.
ABS – Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
- Sturdy, strong
- High melting point
- Not easy to print
ABS is a very common thermoplastic known in the injection molding industry. It is used for toys such as LEGO, constructions in the automotive industry and in protective headgear. Compared to PLA, parts printed in ABS tend to have higher strength, flexibility and last longer. However, ABS filaments tend to warp and it is an absolute must to have a heated bed for successful prints. ABS also tends to give out more toxic and unpleasant fumes while being printed and hence it is extremely important to have good ventilation while printing.
Did you know? Our ABS 3D Printer Filament is strong, minimal warp and contains up to 64% recycled material.
PLA – Polylactic Acid
- Biodegradable, derived from corn starch / sugarcane
- Shinier / Smoother finish
- Easy to print
- Very little issues of shrinkage, warp or cracks while printing
PLA is one of the most popular bioplastics that is usually used in plastic cups, disposable tableware or food packaging. Along with a much lower printing temperature compared to ABS, PLA does not require a heated bed to be printed. However, it is important to note that PLA is a lot more brittle than ABS. As a result, PLA is more commonly used in applications where form is more important than function. The overall 3D printing experience would be a lot better with PLA as it does not give off an unpleasant odour while printing.
Did you know? Our PLA 3D Printer Filament low warp, has limited smell and premium print quality – plus contains a high percentage of recycled material.
With similar price ranges between the two materials, it often comes down to the application of the print as to which material is superior. Although ABS has superior mechanical properties, it is a lot harder to print with and requires a heated bed. On the other hand, PLA is ideal for prints where aesthetics are important.
ePLA engineering PLA – best of both worlds?
Do you know our ePLA range of products aims to take the best aspects of PLA and ABS and combine them into a single material?
An engineering-grade PLA filament, with performance comparable to ABS. Features a heat resistance of 95°C< (after annealing) and the ability to print at speeds up to 120mm/s. ePLA gives a semi-matte finish. Tough and strong PLA.
With the mechanical properties of ABS and the ease of printing of PLA, e-PLA might just suit the exact requirement for your next project! Check it out here!