Before you diving into the world of 3D printing, it’s crucial to understand the differences between PLA and ABS filaments. PLA, derived from renewable sources like cornstarch or sugarcane, is biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
On the other hand, ABS is a petroleum-based plastic with incredible durability and heat resistance.
In this discussion, we’ll explore the material composition, physical properties, and applications of both filaments to help you make an informed decision for your next 3D printing project.
Material Composition: PLA Vs. ABS
PLA is derived from renewable sources like cornstarch or sugarcane, while ABS is a petroleum-based thermoplastic. Therefore it’s important to understand the difference between ABS plastic vs PLA.
The material composition of PLA and ABS plays a crucial role in their properties and suitability for different applications.
PLA, also known as polylactic acid, is made from organic sources such as corn or sugar cane. It is considered environmentally friendly due to its renewable sources and biodegradability under specific conditions. On the other hand, ABS, which stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, is derived from petroleum. ABS is not considered sustainable and does not biodegrade easily.
The difference in material composition leads to variations in their characteristics and properties. PLA filament has lower warping and shrinkage during printing compared to ABS. It has a lower printing temperature requirement and provides a glossy and smooth surface finish. PLA filament also offers a wide range of vibrant colors.
ABS filament, on the other hand, exhibits higher strength and durability than PLA filament. It is more resistant to impacts and can withstand higher temperatures. However, it tends to warp and shrink during printing due to its composition. ABS requires higher printing temperatures as well as a heated print bed for optimal results. Additionally, it has a matte surface finish that can be easily sanded and painted.
In exploring the difference between PLA and ABS, understanding the material composition of PLA vs ABS filaments helps determine the best choice for specific 3D printing projects based on desired properties and application requirements
Physical Properties: PLA vs ABS Filament
You could be wondering is PLA stronger than ABS, or is ABS stronger than PLA? Its important to know the difference between ABS filament vs PLA filament. When using ABS filament, you will notice that it has a matte surface finish and can be easily sanded and painted. ABS is known for its physical properties that make it stronger than PLA in certain aspects. ABS filament exhibits higher strength and durability compared to PLA. It is more resistant to impact and can withstand higher temperatures, making it suitable for functional and mechanical parts that require strength.
On the other hand, PLA filament has its own set of physical properties that make it advantageous in different applications. While PLA may not be as strong as ABS, it has a higher tensile strength and density compared to ABS. Additionally, PLA provides a glossy and smooth surface finish, making it suitable for decorative objects or figurines.
When considering 3D printing with PLA vs. ABS, understanding their physical properties is crucial in determining which material is best suited for your specific application needs. If you require maximum strength and durability, especially in industrial settings or applications exposed to high temperatures, then ABS may be the better choice. However, if you prioritize ease of use, biodegradability, or aesthetic appeal with smoother finishes, then PLA would be a suitable option.
Applications: PLA Filament
ABS filament, on the other hand, is commonly used in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and engineering due to its strength and durability. When it comes to 3D printing applications with ABS filament, it offers several advantages over PLA. ABS is known for its superior mechanical properties and toughness. It has higher tensile strength and improved ductility compared to PLA, making it a preferred choice for functional and mechanical parts that require strength.
One of the key differences between ABS and PLA is their heat resistance. ABS can withstand higher temperatures than PLA, which makes it suitable for applications in hot environments. This makes ABS filament ideal for industries like automotive where parts may be exposed to high temperatures under the hood or in engine components.
Additionally, ABS has excellent impact resistance, making it more durable compared to PLA. This property allows ABS to withstand heavy-duty applications without breaking or cracking easily. It also has better flexural strength and elongation before breaking compared to PLA.
Overall, while both ABS and PLA have their own unique properties and applications in 3D printing, when it comes to strength and durability requirements in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and engineering, ABS filament stands out as a stronger option than PLA filament. Therefore when choosing a 3d printer ABS vs PLA, this difference should be on your mind.
Applications: ABS Filament
In industries such as automotive, aerospace, and engineering, ABS filament is preferred due to its strength and durability. ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) has a higher tensile strength and improved ductility compared to PLA. It can withstand higher temperatures, making it suitable for hot environments. Here are four key applications of ABS filament:
Functional and Mechanical Parts
ABS is commonly used in the production of functional and mechanical parts that require strength. Its toughness and impact resistance make it ideal for creating durable prototypes or end-use components.
ABS is widely used in the automotive industry for various applications such as interior trim pieces, dashboard components, and exterior parts like grills or spoilers. Its ability to withstand high temperatures makes it suitable for under-the-hood applications as well.
The aerospace industry demands materials with exceptional strength and durability. ABS finds its application in this sector for creating lightweight yet sturdy components like brackets, housings, or panels.
ABS filament is also favored in engineering applications where toughness and impact resistance are crucial factors. It can be used to produce complex structures or casings for electronic devices.
Overall, the superior mechanical properties of ABS make it a reliable choice in industries that require robust materials capable of withstanding demanding conditions.
Key Differences: PLA Vs. ABS
PLA, derived from renewable sources like cornstarch or sugarcane, offers a cost-efficient option with high-quality components and smooth surface finishes. Compared to ABS, PLA has higher stiffness but is not very heat or chemical-resistant. ABS, on the other hand, is lighter and more durable than PLA. PLA has a higher tensile strength and density compared to ABS, while ABS has a higher elongation and flexural modulus.
When it comes to printability and mechanical properties, PLA is easier to print with and less likely to warp compared to ABS. PLA also has a faster cooling time. However, ABS has excellent impact resistance and toughness.
In terms of surface finish and appearance between ABS PLA, PLA typically produces smoother prints with a glossy finish. ABS can have a rougher surface finish that may require post-processing techniques. Additionally, PLA is available in a wide range of vibrant colors and translucent options.
When considering environmental impact and sustainability, PLA is biodegradable under specific conditions while ABS is not. The production of PLA generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to ABS.
Overall, when choosing between PLA or ABS for 3D printing projects, it’s important to consider factors such as material properties, printability ease, desired surface finish/appearance, environmental impact/sustainability concerns as well as specific application requirements.