As a 3D printing filament business, we annually analyse production volumes – per material – and compare to the previous year. This has the environmental benefit of assessing our recycled material usage but it also serves as a tool to check if there has been significant changes – up or down – for certain materials.

In our 2021 analysis, two of the key findings were:

ABS filament production down by more than 50%

ASA filament production up by more than 90%

A conventional polymer used in traditional manufacturing methods such as injection moulding, ABS filament has been commonly used in 3D printing also, however its’ usage has been decreasing with the emergence of the easier-to-print PLA filament as well as the increased popularity of PETg filament which offers the printability of PLA, with the durability of an ABS.

Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate – better known as ASA – is industrial-grade 3D printing material for 3D printing. ASA is very similar to ABS in terms of chemistry, but has been specially-formulated to provide enhanced properties. 

Improved 3D Printing

Versus ABS, ASA generally offers improved 3D printing performance. As an inherently dimensionally stable material, it offers minimal warping which helps ensure more efficient 3D printing, with less failures. ABS on the other hand is often associated with warped prints and unsatisfactory adhesion – which leads to substandard 3D printing which all contribute to the problem of 3D printing waste.

Enhanced UV resistance

With increasing democratisation of 3D printing – coupled with material advances – 3D printing is moving beyond prototyping, and is now a real production tool.

As such, 3D printing is increasingly used to produce sculptures, artworks and installations – many of which are outdoors, or at least, exposed to sunlight. An example of this was the 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Pearlfisher Garden, which features a 3D-printed sculpture of a Pearl Diver made from Filamentive materials.

Another exciting – and potentially disruptive – 3D printing application is signmaking. Our friends at Lunia 3D recently manufactured 3D printed signage made from our ASA filament.

Whilst its mechanical properties are akin to ABS, ASA reigns superior on UV resistance. In fact – when compared to ABS – ASA is ten times more weather resistant and UV resistant. Overall, ASA filament is the most UV resistant material for 3D printing. 

Broader Chemical Resistance

As a 3D printing filament supplier, we frequently receive questions and queries regarding the chemical resistance of different filament materials.

ABS Filament Chemical Resistance (H = high, V = very high)

Water (VH)

Acid (H)

Alcohol (H)

Salt (VH)

ASA Filament Chemical Resistance (H = high, V = very high)

Water (VH)

Acid (VH)

Base / Alkali (VH)

Alcohol (VH)

Salt (VH)

Oil (H)

Overall, ASA filament has superior chemical resistance, versus ABS – namely, water, acid, base / alkali, alcohol, salt and oil resistance.

Why ASA Filament is superior to ABS

Production data shows that whilst ABS has decreased by more than 50%, ASA has increased by 70%, providing evidence that ASA has more than replaced ABS in the (FFF) 3D printing market.

Whilst ABS certainly has its place in industry – especially for application requiring vapour smoothingASA is a better 3D printer filament when it comes to 3D printing performance, UV resistance and also (broader) chemical resistance.

Filamentive ( – is the market leader in sustainable materials for FFF 3D Printing. The company was founded to address the environmental need to use more recycled plastics in 3D printing, and also alleviate market concerns over quality and long-term sustainability. Filamentive has experienced rapid growth and continues to address the questions surrounding 3D printing recycled materials. Headquartered in Bradford, United Kingdom, Filamentive materials are trusted by thousands of educators, engineers and makers globally.