Fancy dabbling in ABS 3D printing but aren’t sure where to start? We’ve pulled together a comprehensive guide showcasing the very best ABS 3D printers under the sun. You’ll find budget picks, professional-grade workhorses, and everything in between, with a guarantee that each one is money well spent.
Not every printer has what’s needed to craft quality prints, but, as is increasingly the case in the 3D printing space, there are quite a few options out there. It’s no longer a case of finding a lone suitable printer but picking the right one from a sea of potential candidates. We’ll help you sort the wheat from the chaff and hone in on the very best out there.
What Is ABS?
ABS filament, or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, is, alongside PLA, it is one of the most popular filaments used in 3D printing. Makers favor ABS for its durability over PLA, which tends to be more brittle and less flexible. Due to its high melting point, ABS fares better in high-temperature environments and is prized among makers for its impact and chemical resistance.
This makes ABS a favorite in manufacturing, including injection molding, for applications as broad as plastic toys such as the ubiquitous Lego block to car dashboards by way of the plastic shell on countless home appliances.
ABS is notoriously difficult to tame and challenging to work with, though. The thermoplastic requires relatively high and stable temperatures to melt, unlike PLA, which becomes malleable at a comparatively lower temperature.
Other challenges surface as a consequence, notably ABS’ propensity for warping, a symptom of thermal contraction, something ABS is prone to due to its fast solidification properties. In other words, ABS shrinks when cooling. It’s vital to manage the speed at which the filament sheds temperature to avoid issues.
Best ABS 3D Printers 2022
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FlashForge Adventurer 3 – Top Pick For Beginners and Casual Makers
- Price: Available on Flashforge Official store here / Check price on Amazon here
- Build volume: 150 x 150 x 150 mm
- Max extruder temperature: 240°C
The FlashForge Adventurer 3 taps liberally into the beginner-friendly playbook. This 3D printer for ABS abounds with features that take much of the initial sting out of 3D printing. As exemplified by a plain, uncomplicated touch screen and a removable flexible build platform, FlashForge Adventurer 3 removes many of the customary initial hurdles.
The simplicity extends to generally more hands-on aspects with assisted calibration, automatic filament loading, and an easy detachable nozzle assembly. And then, there’s pure convenience thanks to Wi-Fi connectivity and a serviceable built-in camera to monitor prints via the cloud.
With such a focus on ease-of-use, FlashForge could have side-stepped finicky ABS printing, but the FlashForge Adventurer 3 is well equipped to handle that capricious thermoplastic.
The printer features a fully enclosed chamber, which, when allied to an extruder capable of reaching 240°C in under a minute and a heated bed topping out at 100°C, you have everything required for ABS to flourish. While unremarkable, the print quality is consistent enough to generate perfectly adequate parts for decorative, or household use ends.
What the FlashForge Adventurer 3 isn’t is a machine for professionals or veteran printers. We could pinpoint the cramped 150 x 150 x 150 mm, the minimal slicer compatibility, or the filament chamber only accommodating FlashForge’s filament, but ultimately, this isn’t the target audience here.
If you’re a beginner or educator looking for a low-cost, ABS-capable printer that won’t bombard you with options or advanced features, the FlashForge Adventurer 3 is a compact, dependable machine.
- Price: Available at Creality official store here / Amazon here
- Build volume: 200 x 200 x 200 mm
- Max extruder temperature: 260°C
You’ve likely heard of the Creality Ender and CR series. But, far less central to Creality’s marketing pushes is the Creality CR-200B. A sharp fully-enclosed printer designed from the ground up to be user-friendly, the Creality CR-200B targets makers eager to print using high-temperature filaments on a budget. It’s among the best ABS 3D printers for first-timers.
Despite being inexpensive, the Creality CR-200B sports a well-rounded feature set, tuned to handle ABS, in particular. The enclosed design joins forces with an extruder with a temperature cap of 260°C and a heated carborundum glass bed that can maintain 100°C. The Creality CR-200B provides just the right environment for ABS to print, and, more crucially, cool slowly to avoid warping and other issues.
Put to the test, the Creality CR-200B’s print quality screams predictability, although the results won’t compete with printers twice the price. For hobbyist’s projects, the prints are more than fit for purpose, whether you’re creating decorative pieces or basic functional parts to make life easier around the house.
The presence of a 4.3-inch touch screen, a smart filament runout sensor, an internal LED light, and fully assembled shipping make the Creality CR-200B effortless to fire up and use for beginners. If aesthetics are important, the Creality CR-200B’s contoured edges and clean black/white design are easy on the eye.
There’s no skirting around the fact the Creality CR-200B’s 200 x 200 x 200 mm build volume isn’t much to write home about, even by budget standards. Other than the limited potential for larger prints and manual bed leveling, we’d wager thrifty makers looking for a reliable ABS printer will have next to no complaints working and honing their skills with the Creality CR-200B.
Qidi Tech X-Plus
- Price: Check price on Amazon here
- Build volume: 270 x 200 x 200 mm
- Max extruder temperature: 300°C
The Qidi Tech X-Plus meets all those toasty temperature requirements for cooking up quality ABS, but with an interesting twist. Rather than a single extruder that can vary temperatures, Qidi Tech made the bold choice of including two interchangeable extruders. Elegant, but also practical.
Each one focuses on providing the best thermal environment possible using either high-temperature filaments such as ABS or your garden variety 3D printing staples like PLA and PETG. One of the two extruders hits temperatures up to 300°C, surging far higher than the baseline requirement for ABS. Nylon and PC also play nice with the Qidi Tech X-Plus.
The Qidi Tech X-Plus ABS-friendly chops extend further, positioning it as one of the best 3D printers for ABS printing. It houses a double-sided reversible heated bed, one side fine-tuned to accommodate ABS printing. Additionally, the Qidi Tech X-Plus has a fully enclosed chamber and air filtration system, ticking off yet another temperature requirement for printing ABS and dealing with toxic fumes in the process.
You’d expect all these features to come with trade-offs. Fortunately, that isn’t the case here. The Qidi Tech X-Plus arrives with a touch screen, plenty of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, and, best of all, effortless assisted bed leveling. Either beginners looking for a gentle way into ABS printing or even semi-professionals that prize efficiency will relish these.
The Qidi Tech X-Plus has a 270 x 200 x 200 mm build volume to cap things off. Not exactly small, nor big, the build volume is suitable for many applications, but if large prints form part of your plans, a heftier alternative is a better bet.
FlashForge Creator Pro 2
- Price: Available at Flashforge Official store here / Check price on Amazon here
- Build volume: 200 x 148 x 150 mm
- Max extruder temperature: 240°C
The FlashForge Creator Pro 2 ticks all the boxes for ABS printing. The printer has an enclosed chamber, a 240°C extruder, and a heated bed up to 120°C, but it stands out from the crowd thanks to an independent dual extruder setup.
The IDEX, as it’s called, allows the printing of different material types simultaneously. These can work with different colors/filament types for mirrored, duplicate, or multi-color prints. Alternatively, it can complete independent prints simultaneously. Doing so opens up many ABS printing possibilities, not least for more complex projects with overhangs that require soluble support structures such as rafts and brims.
Better yet, FlashForge keeps the asking price relatively low for what is usually a technology reserved for far more expensive ABS 3D printers. IDEX and inexpensive aren’t usually synonymous, but they are in the case of the FlashForge Creator Pro 2.
Though the FlashForge Creator Pro 2 arrives fully assembled and boasts user-friendly features like a touch screen, bed leveling is manual. When considered alongside the IDEX system, seasoned makers or small businesses with technical expertise will find this printer a better fit than a beginner looking for an easy first step into 3D printing with ABS.
Read more: the best dual extruder 3D printers
Creality CR-5 Pro
- Price: $1,199 — Available at Creality official store here
- Build volume: 300 x 224 x 380 mm
- Max extruder temperature: 300°C
Striking in appearance with a distinct white shell and more than a passing resemblance to the stellar Ultimaker S5, the Creality CR-5 Pro asks you to dig deep into those coffers but justifies every penny.
A precision Bowden extruder melts ABS to an ideal 250°C while a 100°C heated bed ensures a warm landing pad. Additionally, the chamber is enclosed, trapping in all the heat ABS depends on.
Standard stuff for an ABS-ready printer, you could say. But the Creality CR-5 Pro goes the extra mile. It has an Ultrabase-like carborundum glass plate, a roomy 300 x 225 x 380 mm build volume, and print quality with a level of smoothness and accuracy you won’t find on budget ABS 3D printers.
It isn’t easy to define the Creality CR-5 Pro as an industry-grade or a consumer-level printer as it seems to straddle both categories. But, therein lies the printer versatility. The Creality CR-5 Pro can serve hobbyists with the cash to spare just as well as a small business looking for a productivity-geared ABS printer.
Read more: the best enclosed 3D printers
Dremel 3D45 – Best ABS 3D Printer For Schools
- Price: $1,999 — Available on Matterhackers here / Available on Dynamism here
- Build volume: 254 x 152 x 170 mm
- Max extruder temperature: 280°C
The Dremel 3D45 is all about simplifying and streamlining ABS printing by bringing it under a user-friendly ecosystem that takes care of everything from the outset. For schools and educators that rank safety, ease of use, and performance on the same level of importance, the Dremel 3D45 is among the best options currently available.
The Dremel 3D45 spec sheet reads like a list of ideal ABS printing requirements: an enclosure, a 280°C all-metal extruder, and a 100°C heated bed. Using Dremel’s own ABS filament dials in optimum settings automatically and guarantees excellent prints every time. Safety and easy printing also pop up throughout the machine with carbon filters, see-through panels, a touch screen interface, and semi-automatic bed leveling.
The ecosystem theme here might be too restrictive and tight to swallow for lone makers who favor options and possibilities. There’s very little left to chance, which by extension stunts what the Dremel 3D45 can do beyond a narrow, hand-held, printing experience.
Read more: the best 3D printers for schools and education
- Price: $4,000 — Available on Dynamism Webstore here / Available on Matterhackers here
- Build volume: 230 x 190 x 200 mm
- Max extruder temperature: 280°C
Last but not least, the Ultimaker S3 struts onto our list of the best ABS 3D printers. Deemed a more cost-friendly counterpart to the Dutch manufacturer’s $6000 Ultimaker S5, the Ultimaker S3 surges up the ranks as a versatile professional 3D printer suited to prototyping to batch-print manufacturing.
What makes the machine such a competent ABS printing pick is the combination of 280°C extruders, 140°C heated bed, and sleek enclosure design. The resulting print quality is among the best of any printer on our list, defined by excellent finish, distinct, precise edging, and fine detail. Should you want to work with other filament types, the Ultimaker S3 handles PLA to PVA, CPE, and nylon equally well, too.
The Ultimaker S3 also houses a dual extrusion system, meaning you can juggle two filament types or colors in a single print. The printer also ships with swappable print cores, each with properties suited to a particular filament type.
It’s worth touching on other features, too. For the price, you’ll land all the most coveted ease-of-use bits and bobs, including automatic bed leveling, Wi-Fi connectivity, a touchscreen interface, filament sensor, and more besides.
Buyer’s Guide – What To Consider When Buying An ABS 3D Printer
An enclosed chamber is a must-have and non-negotiable feature when shopping around for an ABS 3D printer. The reasoning behind this comes down to temperature control. ABS shrinks or contracts when it cools.
If ABS’ temperature drops too quickly, this can cause unwanted warping and curling. You’ll want to avoid this with an enclosure that ensures a steady temperature, allowing ABS to cool at a slower, more controlled rate, canceling out the likelihood of problems.
ABS melts anywhere from 220°C to 230°C. Look for printers sporting an extruder and nozzle capable of temperatures from 220°C to 250°C as standard, if not higher, if you plan to work with more heat-sensitive materials such as nylon.
Be sure to pick out a 3D printer with a heated bed and one ideally capable of temperature up to 120°C. However, 100°C works well enough with ABS. A heated bed ensures ABS is deposited on a suitably hot platform to avoid warping and other issues.
The best 3D printers for ABS printing are available at various price points. Features set them apart. You’ll find everything needed to print using ABS confidently on budget options. However, they will often lack quality-of-life features such as auto-bed leveling, Wi-Fi connectivity, and the like.
There’s also a direct correlation between price and the final quality of the prints. Pay more, and the results are generally of better overall quality.
If you’re starting 3D printing, we recommend opting for an inexpensive option to test the waters, with the option to level up to a pricier model as you become more confident.
While fans are great tools for less heat-sensitive materials like PLA, they can be detrimental to ABS printing. Introducing fans that remove heat from the chamber can complicate keeping the right thermal environment for ABS to shine. We recommend 3D printers with the option to turn fans off.
Key 3D Printer Features Needed to Print With ABS
While more demanding compared to relatively docile and predictable PLA, ABS can thrive in the right conditions.
First and foremost, a stable thermal environment. A 3D printer with an enclosed chamber provides such an environment, bottling heat inside the build area and blocking out warp-inducing cool air from souring the printing process.
Alongside, due to ABS’ temperature sensitivity, it requires an extruder with a nozzle capable of reaching temperatures ranging from around 220°C to 250°C depending on specific filament manufacturer recommendations. Similarly, ABS fares best with a heated bed capable of maintaining a temperature around 100°C to 110°C.
Print Surface & Adhesive
Beyond specification-related requirements, you can take more granular steps to print with ABS successfully. Among them is working with a clean print surface, using an adhesive to help that all-important first layer latch onto the build plate, and switching off cooling fans if a printer has them.
Ventilation for ABS Toxic Fumes
Finally, working with ABS, you’ll invariably have to contend with wafts of pungent, foul-smelling, toxic fumes. Sufficient ventilation in the workspace helps dissipate these fumes, so be sure to crack open a window. Better yet, 3D printers housing air filters, ideally HEPA variants, help keep fumes in check, ridding them of their most harmful properties.
ABS 3D Printer Upgrades — These Will Help You Print Better Parts
Most ABS plastic 3D printers ship with everything you need to get started, but there are always ways to improve the process and level up your printer. Here are three of the most common upgrade paths available to you.
One cost-effective upgrade that can prolong the longevity of your 3D printer is switching from a PTFE-lined hot end to an all-metal hot end or Capricorn tubing. PTFE lining is prone to wear and tear at temperatures approaching 250°C. Installing an all-metal variant is an excellent way to cut down on future maintenance.
Read more: the complete 3D printer nozzle buyer’s guide
Bed leveling is hands down the most frustrating part of 3D printing and is often the cause of countless printing issues and complications. If your printer doesn’t have automatic bed leveling or, at least, assisted bed leveling, then drafting in a BLTouch Sensor to help is a wise upgrade.
Read more: auto-leveling 3D printing
Not so much a hardware upgrade, as a handy tip, using PEI sheets can make all the difference when printing with ABS. PEI, or Polyetherimide, sheets remove the need for hair spray, glue, tape, and whatnot to ensure a firm and accurate first layer, all while being relatively inexpensive. Convenient because they are easy to install and require no preparation work, PEI sheets simplify the often hit-and-miss nature of 3D print adhesion.
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