3D printing with ASA combines several resistances with great mechanical robustness. Follow these tips to improve your ASA 3D prints.
Acrylonitrile styrene acrylate, also known as ASA, is an engineering thermoplastic with a similar molecular structure to the very popular and commonly used acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, a.k.a. ABS. ASA is known for its high impact and good chemical resistance. It can handle high temperatures (softening at 105 °C) and great dimensional stability.
Compared to ABS, ASA is UV-stable and maintains its appearance and resistance even after long exposure to sunlight and water. It’s in many common products including auto parts (bumper covers and side mirror housings), gutter and drain pipes, and outdoor furniture.
In the following, we’ll take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of ASA before moving on to what’s necessary to print with the material, considering both hardware and software aspects.
If you already have a design in mind and you simply need it to be printed in ASA, consider using a 3D printing service. With Craftcloud, the 3D printing and price comparison service from All3DP, you’ll instantly find the best price and provider based on your models and location. And the best part is, there are no added fees!
Still here? Then let’s talk ASA.
While PLA is perhaps the most-consumed material for FDM 3D printing, ABS is frequently used for high resistance applications like functional or outdoor parts. Unfortunately, it has a few drawbacks with regards to printability that are also seen in ASA due to their shared heritage. Most of these drawbacks are less present in ASA, though, making this material a bit easier to print.
Before even considering using ASA, make sure your 3D printer meets the following hardware requirements. This will definitely save you a headache in the future.
If all the hardware requirements are met, it’s time for fine-tuning the printing settings:
Printing with ASA can have its difficulties because it can be terribly sensitive to temperature changes. The good news is that ASA is still easier to print with than ABS.
As mentioned earlier, perhaps the most pressing issues when working with ASA are the warping effects and the potentially dangerous fumes that can be released.
Warping happens when the part fails to cool evenly. There’s plenty of information on avoiding warping during FDM printing, which mostly with ABS. And since these two materials are so similar, it’s a good idea to follow the same recommendations: avoid wind drafts, ensure good first layer adhesion, keep your printer calibrated, and, as a final resort, use brims or rafts.
As for the fumes, most printing materials release some kind of harmful substance during extrusion. Perhaps the most famous one is ABS, known to emit both dangerous gaseous molecules and nanoparticles. Although less troublesome than ABS, printing with ASA also requires some preparation and care. Also, it can be a very smelly process – mostly due to the presence of styrene.
Proper ventilation is strongly recommended along with the use of masks, if appropriate.
(Lead source image: Fillamentum)
License: The text of "3D Printing ASA: Best Practices for Optimal Prints" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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