What is ABS Plastic and what are the main properties and uses? Short answer, ABS is Acrylonitriel Butadiene Styrene. Used for Lego bricks, 3D Printing, etc.
OK and for those of you with an attention span of more than 255 characters, let’s dive right in.
What is ABS?
So before you go to far, direct that >255 attention span to the following.
ABS means different things in different contexts.
In this article, we will be going over What is ABS Plastic. If you got here by mistake, check out What Does ABS Stand For.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s dive in to what you’re probably actually wondering.
What is ABS Plastic?
ABS plastic is Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene.
It is commonly used in Lego bricks, plastic injection molding, 3D printing, and more.
ABS is a Thermoplastic which means it can be heated more than once, where it will get soft and / or melt if heated enough, then as it cools it will solidify and harden.
So yeah ABS is a specific polymer, a Thermoplastic, a material, etc.
What is So Special About ABS?
Glad you asked. Very good question.
It is very easy to come by in many forms and ABS is also affordable.
With a low melting temperature, good strength and corrosion resistance, it is an excellent material for many applications.
While you wouldn’t use ABS to build a skyscraper, it is the plastic of choice for many products, notably Lego bricks.
Another cool thing about ABS is that it is more easily machinable than many other plastics. You can drill, mill, and sand ABS more effectively than some plastics.
So it has good properties, it’s cheap to come by, is easy to use, and makes strong parts. What’s not to like?
What Forms Do ABS Come In?
Insert “This isn’t my final form” joke here.
ABS comes in many forms. When we buy ABS, we buy it in spools of filament for 3D Printing.
ABS generally, however, is sent in pellets. In fact, the company that made your 3D Printing ABS Filament most likely bought their ABS in the form of clear pellets.
Yes, ABS is generally shipped as clear pellets.
From there it tends to be shaped in to sheets or filament, or even injection molded into our every day items.
The plastic case around my power drill batteries? ABS of course!
So another answer to the question – What is ABS Plastic? The plastic that made just about everything around you.
Other Stuff to Check Out
We have an article on Troubleshooting and 3D Printer Repair.
One that’s really cool is Flexible TPU Filament.