Printing ABS filament without an enclosure (Facts You Should Know)

When it comes to printing ABS filament, it’s not as easy as printing PLA. There are some challenges that you will have to come across. One of the critical things to consider is printing ABS without enclosure or with one.

That’s what I will be discussing here today. So, if you are wondering the same thing and struggling to decide on one factor, this will help you for sure. I will go through the impact of using an enclosure, whether you should do it or not, and many more.

Without wasting any more time, let’s just dive right into it.

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Do you need an enclosure to print ABS?

Let’s get one thing straight; it’s not compulsory to use an enclosure for printing ABS filament. You can still print using ABS even without an enclosure. However, to get the best results, using an enclosure will help you a lot in the process.

Now, the real question is, why does that happen? Well, first of all, you have to know what happens when you print without an enclosure with ABS filament. You will face warping or curling issues on your 3D prints straight up. That’s because of the inconsistent and rapid change of temperature.

ABS is very much sensitive to these changes compared to other filament materials. So, when those changes happen, it affects the prints a lot. This brings us to the fact; how does an enclosure help in this case?

When you use an enclosure while printing, the rapid change in the temperature becomes much more controlled. The enclosure creates a constant temperature that is not affected by the temperature outside. This results in getting the perfect temperature for your ABS print material.

With an enclosure, the ABS prints turn flawless in most cases. Without any second thoughts, you will get the best possible results from your ABS materials when there is an enclosure.

And it’s not just ABS material; you can get used out of an enclosure for any material. For example, PLA doesn’t usually go through warping or shrinkage. But at very cold temperatures, they can face issues like that. So, using an enclosure in that scenario helps out a lot.

Related: 3D Printer with enclosure vs. without enclosure

Can you print ABS without an enclosure?

Before I begin answering this, if you have the option of using an enclosure, don’t hesitate to use it. Yes, you can print your ABS material without using an enclosure. It may cause some warping or shrinkage issues, but you can also work around that.

There is a way to print ABS without an enclosure yet not end up warping. You will need to make some adjustments to your printer to do that. Following some tips and tricks can get the job done for the most part. So, let’s check out what you can do to get better prints from ABS without using any enclosure at all.

  • You will need to ensure you are getting the perfect temperature on your printer. This will eliminate the possibility of warping issues from it. Using a perfectly heated bed can help out a lot in this case.
  • Try printing models that are comparatively smaller or miniature. Printing larger models with ABS while not using an enclosure can turn out to be pretty bad. But printing miniatures shouldn’t be much of a trouble.
  • Use the cooling fan moderately when you are not using an enclosure. The cooling fan is responsible for causing those rapid temperature changes. So, when you use it a lot while printing ABS, you may end up causing warping issues on your prints.
  • Also, print your ABS material in a well-ventilated area when not using an enclosure. They can produce more fumes while printing compared to other materials.

Besides these things, another solution you can try out is fine-tuning your printer. When you get the perfect tuning for your needs, it will surely yield better printing results. So, let’s get through how you can fine-tune your printer.

Related: Best Filament for Ender 3

Fine-tuning 3D printer for ABS

There are several ways you can fine-tune your 3D printer based on the brand and model you are using. But there are some general things that you can apply for almost every printer when printing ABS.            

  • You have to get rid of any kind of dust or residue from the printer bed because they can easily cause problems with the bed adhesion, which eventually results in warping.
  • Try using a temperature tower to get the perfect calibration in the temperature settings. Accurate temperatures can be the key to solving warping issues while printing ABS material. For ABS, the temperature can be around 90 to 110 degrees Celsius.
  • Next up, you can use different kinds of adhesives to get better adhesion on your printer bed. There are plenty of choices out there that you can use for this purpose. The common ones are ABS juice, Glue stick, Hairspray, or ABS slurry. Other than that, you can also try out a different bed surface with better adhesion properties.
  • Make sure to use a brim or raft method for getting secured 3D print on the printing bed.

Usually, doing these things can quickly turn your printer perfect for ABS printing. However, don’t expect too much of an improvement in the performance. You can still get better results by using an enclosure. Following these tips and tuning your printer eliminates the chances of too much warping.

Wrap up

To sum up, when you are printing ABS without an enclosure, you may come across warping issues on your prints. While there are some things you can do to get slightly better results, it doesn’t eliminate the warping or shrinkage issues.

There are lots of benefits of using an enclosure; ending up with the best quality prints from ABS is one of them for sure. You can also use enclosures for other materials to get better quality prints. So, if there is a way you can use an enclosure or you don’t mind spending on an enclosure, then you should get one.

Related: PLA vs ABS


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