In this guide we will illustrate all the important aspects you need to know to print using ASA filaments and how to avoid the problems that are usually encountered with this filament. Thanks to these tips, you will learn everything you need to know about these filaments.
Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate, known as ASA, may not be one of the most widely used filaments for 3D printing. However, when you need to produce 3D prints designed for outdoor environments, ASA filaments are an excellent choice.
Scientists developed this filament to make a better version of ABS. ASA filaments offer all the good qualities of ABS, without presenting the most common problems. For this reason, 3D prints produced with these filaments stay white much longer than with ABS.
ASA filaments do not easily lose their strength and do not deteriorate if left in the sun, which is why they are used to make garden gnomes, planters and much more. If you don't know these complaints, then you've come to the right place.
Introduction to ASA Filaments
To be able to 3D print like a true expert, you need to know the filament you're about to use well. For example, the ideal temperature, its properties or difficulties you may encounter. The following information will help you better understand ASA filaments.
What are ASA Filaments?
ASA is very similar to ABS. It is an engineered thermoplastic that has the same molecular structure as ABS. However, what sets ASA apart is its excellent chemical and impact resistance, remarkable durability, good mechanical strength and high UV tolerance. ASA filaments have a melting point of 105°C. Its dimensional stability is also excellent.
Composition and properties
ASA is composed of three monomers (acrylonitrile, styrene and acrylate) thanks to which it owes its characteristics. The acrylonitrile monomer is the reason why ASA filaments have high chemical and thermal resistance. Styrene strengthens its stability and rigidity and acrylate improves its resistance to atmospheric agents and impacts.
What are its applications?
As you already know, among the characteristics of ASA filaments we find resistance to UV rays, resistance to chemical agents and heat, resistance to impacts, resistance to atmospheric agents and much more. This is why they are used in printing:
- Home components
- Garden equipment
- Sports items
- Automotive components
- Boat equipment
- Control panels for boats
- To create exteriors of yachts and boats
Pros and cons of ASA Filaments
- They are ideal for 3D prints intended for outdoor environments, as ASA has good UV resistance.
- They are durable and strong and therefore have considerable mechanical strength.
- They have good resistance to heat and shock.
- ASA offers good resistance to water and chemicals.
- They are renowned for their excellent aesthetics and surface finish.
- You can dissolve it in acetone for smoothing or gluing.
- They don't offer great color alternatives.
- Requires higher bed and extruder temperatures.
- It is susceptible to deformation and shrinkage.
- Produces toxic fumes during printing.
- It costs a little more than ABS.
How to print ASA filaments
To achieve better, high-quality 3D prints with ASA filaments, the temperature should be kept between 240 and 260°C. Furthermore, the worktop temperature must be between 90 and 120 °C. However, this temperature may vary depending on the brand of filament and the 3D printer you use. So, you may need to make some adjustments to find the ideal temperature. You can start by increasing or decreasing the temperature by 5 degrees.
3D printing at high or low temperatures comes with some issues, although the former is far better. Printing with ASA filaments at high temperatures ensures good layer adhesion, although it can create ridges and strings. Conversely, if ASA filaments are not heated properly, the chances of deformation and breakage increase. Cold ASA can also cause poor layer adhesion.
We recommend using an enclosed printer if you intend to print larger models. Large prints result in greater residual stress which can result in warping or cracking. Enclosed printers maintain a constant temperature which reduces residual stress.
Adherence to the bed
To obtain quality 3D prints it is essential that adhesion to the bed is adequate. If the filament adheres well to the bed, the risk of the print coming loose and warping is reduced. However, with some filaments it is not necessary to use a heated bed. In any case, to print with ASA filaments, you need to have it.
Without a heated bed, the ASA cracks and warps further ruining the print. Therefore, make sure the print bed is preheated properly. The ideal temperature can vary from 90 to 120 degrees. By doing so, you will be able to ensure better print bed adhesion which, in turn, will reduce warping.
Here are some tips to achieve better print bed adhesion:
- Use cleaner or isopropyl alcohol to clean the print bed of debris or print residue.
- Check that the print bed is leveled correctly: this is important to obtain a uniform first layer.
- Pre-heat the print bed.
- Use hairspray or 3D printing stickers to avoid adhesion problems to the bed.
By using the right print surface it is also possible to improve phase bed adhesion. Print surfaces that work best with ASA filaments are:
The glass bed is one of the best solutions regarding construction platform in relation to ASA filaments. The glass bed provides a solid foundation and minimizes warping issues. Filaments do not perform well on uneven build platforms. The glass bed has a generally flat surface, which is essential for obtaining quality 3D prints. Another good thing about glass beds is that after printing, when the platform cools down, you can easily remove the prints.
As with glass beds, removing prints from Kapton tape is very simple. Kapton tapes resist heat, which is perfect for ASA filaments. Furthermore, it has a textured surface ideal for filament adhesion.
It is another great solution for improving the adhesion of the ASA filament bed. It is one of the most available and cost-efficient alternatives you can choose.
The ideal printing speed for ASA filaments is above 50 mm/s. This speed may vary depending on filament brand, printer type, and model processing. You can start printing around 30-50 mm/s and adjust the speed if necessary.
To better control the extrusion, it is best to start with the speed mentioned. By doing so, the adhesion of the filament layer remains constant. Some printers can print with ASA at a higher speed, while others cannot. Find out how your printer reacts to filaments to discover the right speed for your case.
Printing and ventilation environment
Printing with ASA filaments undoubtedly offers many advantages, but one of the main disadvantages of this material is that it produces toxic fumes during printing. For this reason it is necessary to pay close attention to the choice of the printing area and the ventilation system. Below we offer you some tips on what the print area should look like and what you can do to strengthen your ventilation system:
- Consider purchasing an enclosed 3D printer to prevent harmful fumes from spreading.
- If you can't buy another printer, get an enclosure that will help contain toxic fumes.
- Avoid printing with i in the living area of your home.
- If possible, use a specific area or room for printing.
- To print with the ASA, choose a spacious area with adequate ventilation.
- Set up fans when printing to improve air circulation.
- Keep windows open when printing ASA filaments.
Drying and conservation of filaments
To obtain high-quality 3D prints, the filaments must be very dry. This also applies to ASA filaments. Store filaments in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight. Heat and humidity degrade the quality of the filaments and you cannot hope to produce quality prints.
Place moisture-absorbing silica gel in the filament container. If you don't plan on using the filaments immediately, store them in an airtight container. Resealable bags are also great for protecting filament from moisture.
Even after following all these precautions, the filament can still absorb moisture. In this case, you need to get rid of excess moisture. The best and easiest way to do this is to use a box for drying filaments or a filament dryer. These dryers are designed to absorb moisture from the filaments and dry them as best as possible.
All you have to do is set the suggested filament temperature in the manual and wait. If you don't have a filament dryer, use the oven to bake the filament. Baking ASA filament or any other filament is a delicate operation because you have to check the filament from time to time. Also, drying may take hours.
Common problems and troubleshooting tips
Those who work with ASA filaments often encounter some common problems. However, thanks to our troubleshooting tips, you will be able to avoid them brilliantly. The most common filament problems are:
Warping is a very common problem with ASA filaments. Subsequent temperature differences, poor bed adhesion, and incorrect nozzle temperature are some of the reasons why this problem occurs. To prevent the problem from occurring, use adhesive aids such as hairspray or ABS juice. To maintain a constant temperature, equip yourself with a cover. You can also use edges or edges to limit deformation.
Stringing and dripping
Printing at higher speeds when the nozzle temperature is too high can cause stringing and dripping. To reduce this problem, adjust your printer's retraction settings and ensure the build surface is properly heated. Adjust the nozzle temperature and print at a slower speed.
ASA filaments have a higher melting temperature and therefore the nozzle clogs more easily. Accordingly, you need to clean the nozzle regularly. This also avoids the accumulation of residues.
Layer adhesion problems
Poor layer adhesion is the reason for the brittleness of printed parts. Increases the chance of breakage or delamination. Poor cooling systems, high printing speed and inadequate extrusion temperature also cause poor layer adhesion. For this reason, reducing the printing speed, improving the cooling system and regulating the extruder temperature help to achieve better adhesion of the ASA filament layers.
Poor surface finish
If the layer height is higher than normal or the printing temperature is incorrect, the surface finish may not be optimal. Wet or low-quality filaments can also cause this problem. Check the temperature and make appropriate adjustments. USA high quality ASA filaments and store them in an airtight container. To improve the surface finish, use sanding or polishing methods.
Is ASA better than PLA?
Both PLA and ASA filaments offer advantages and disadvantages. They have different properties and are used for different printing needs. Choosing the best filament depends a lot on your printing needs. For this reason, it is not possible to give a definitive answer.
Are ASA filaments stronger than PLA?
Yes, ASA filaments are renowned for their mechanical strength and durability. Additionally, compared to PLA in general, ASA filaments offer better shock and heat resistance. However, keep in mind that the resistance of the filaments also depends on the formula and brand of the filament.
Is ASA better than ABS?
Both filaments share several properties, but ASA was developed to be a better version of ABS. ASA filaments boast better resistance to weathering and UV rays, but are slightly more complicated to print.
Is ASA better than PETG?
ASA and PETG have different characteristics, ideal for satisfying different printing needs. ASA filament is particularly used for printing objects for use in outdoor environments thanks to its better resistance to UV rays, while PETG is more used in the manufacturing and packaging industry. Then, choose the filament that matches your printing needs.
ASA filaments offer several great features. ASA is great for printing objects for outdoor use. It is durable and lasts longer than other filaments. ASA filament has some flaws, but with the right attention and our advice you will always be able to obtain resistant, durable, beautiful and high quality 3D prints.