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ABS-olutely Amazing!

MatterHackers Build Series ABS Filament Review

Picture of Emmett Grames
by Emmett Grames
Aug 28, 2019
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Printing with budget ABS seems like a bad idea, especially given it's fickle nature. So it's a good thing MatterHackers offers a quality ABS for a reasonable price. Does it hold up to their claims? Let's find out!

MatterHackers Build Series ABS What's Special

All of our test prints, spool in rear.
All of our test prints, spool in rear. (Source: Emmett Grames / All3DP)

MatterHackers, an American company based in Southern California, sells a vast variety of high-quality filaments, printers, tools, and parts to makers around the globe.

Their Build Series ABS has a dimensional accuracy of ±0.05 mm and is created to balance quality with price. Marketed to makers on a budget, this filament is advertised as “perfect for projects that require durable and temperature-resistant parts.”

A 1-kg spool of MatterHackers Build Series ABS will cost approximately $20 (with free shipping to the continental US). It’s available in both 1.75-mm and 3-mm diameters and comes in a variety of colors, from which we chose a spool in blue for our review.

Please be aware that most MatterHackers products currently only ship to the US.

MatterHackers Build Series ABS

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MatterHackers Build Series ABS Verdict

Our surprisingly good 3DBenchy.
Our surprisingly good 3DBenchy. (Source: Emmett Grames / All3DP)

Overall, the MH Build ABS was fairly easy to work with, offering good quality prints without too much extra hassle. All of our tests completed printing on the first try, with no failures or mishaps.

Throughout our tests, we had only a slight problem with cooling and overhangs, and even cracking in one case. However, the filament mostly behaved very nicely, especially for ABS.

We tested our spool using an Original Prusa i3 MK3S in stock configuration. All of our prints adhered well to the print bed, and we had little to no warping in any of our tests, which we found rather surprising. The layers are very clean and even, and the prints have a nice matte texture with even color throughout.

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MatterHackers Build Series ABS Test #1: 3DBenchy

Our close-up photo reveals very clean layers and details.
Our close-up photo reveals very clean layers and details. (Source: Emmett Grames / All3DP)

As per our usual review process, our first print was a 3DBenchy. Our print finished on the first tryand looked very nice overall. 

We were pleasantly surprised to find that there was no warping from the heated bed, or any other large issues to be noted. What we did notice was a small crack in the side of the cabin, which is likely due to the filament cooling slightly too fast in that area. This problem did not manifest itself elsewhere in our print.

Our close-up view shows very clean, even layers, with good adhesion all around.

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MatterHackers Build Series ABS Test #2: Blueberry Bowl

This bowl almost looks like it came from a factory!
This bowl almost looks like it came from a factory! (Source: Emmett Grames / All3DP)

Our second test was the Blueberry Bowl by Antonin Nosek, inspired by the color of this filament.

Our first impressions of this test were very good, it finished almost perfectly. Upon closer inspection, the only problem we found with this print was near the bottom of the bowl. Here, we can see some slightly overhanging features that have a rougher finish. This is because we had our part cooling fan completely deactivated, and the overhangs were able to warp slightly upwards before cooling completely.

Overall, the results from this test were impressive, prompting us to attempt a more challenging third model.

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MatterHackers Build Series ABS Test #3: Coral Reef

While the base of this coral turned out well, the top reveals some issues.
While the base of this coral turned out well, the top reveals some issues. (Source: Emmett Grames / All3DP)

Our third and final test was a Coral Reef by Thingiverse user questpact.

As the print was starting off, this model came out quite well. The base of the print and the more intricate details were captured quite nicely. However, the tall, thin spires at the top of the model were somewhat more difficult to print. Here, we start to see some stringing between parts, and as the towers become thinner the lack of cooling becomes more and more obvious, with the very top of the print coming out rather poorly.

We think that with some fine tuning of the part cooling settings, this could very easily become a perfect print. However, for the purposes of our test we used a fairly generic ABS profile (see Specs & Settings) which had cooling disabled entirely.

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MatterHackers Build Series ABS All3DP's Final Thoughts

Some slightly rough patches can be found on overhangs.
Some slightly rough patches can be found on overhangs. (Source: Emmett Grames / All3DP)

Overall, we liked working with the MH Build ABS, and so far this has been one of our better experiences with ABS in general.

Comparing to Previous Reviews:

Compared to the similarly priced Hatchbox ABS that we reviewed earlier this year, the MH Build ABS material offers a much better overall printing experience with much less hassle. To start, it does not warp or delaminate from the print bed, and does not seem to be nearly as picky about cooling. Overall, the prints seem to have a cleaner finish, with less issues like stringing.

So if you need a quality ABS for a decent price, we would definitely recommend giving some of this a try.

MatterHackers Build Series ABS

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MatterHackers Build Series ABS Specs & Settings

The cooling settings of our print profile definitely need tuning.
The cooling settings of our print profile definitely need tuning. (Source: Emmett Grames / All3DP)

We tested our MH Build series ABS on an Original Prusa i3 MK3S in stock configuration, using PrusaSlicer to prepare our models.

We used the “0.15mm Quality MK3” and “Generic ABS” profiles, with the following changes:

  • Extruder Temperature: 230 °C
  • Bed Temperature: 90 °C

The manufacturer’s recommended settings are as follows:

  • Extruder Temperature: 230±10 °C
  • Bed Temperature: 90±10 °C
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75 mm or 3 mm (±0.05 mm)
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MatterHackers Build Series ABS How We Review

Another look at this marvelous 3DBenchy.
Another look at this marvelous 3DBenchy. (Source: Emmett Grames / All3DP)

For those interested in how we arrived at our conclusion, we review filaments using the following guidelines:

Each and every spool is brand new and unopened.

Our first print is always a 3DBenchy. Using this, we check for any inconsistencies in quality, color, or finish. Following that, we print a few other models, the results of which we present to you. We slice the model using the latest version of PrusaSlicer. We do not post-process the prints in any manner; we simply remove them from the bed and cut off any support materials.

We start with the manufacturer’s recommended settings (where available). When the manufacturer offers a range of values, we go for the arithmetic mean. Therefore, if we are given a printing temperature range of 200–220 ºC, we would print at 210 ºC (unless noted otherwise).

For this review, we used an Original Prusa i3 MK3S in stock configuration. Statements regarding print quality are based on the printer’s ability and reputation to successfully print a wide variety of other filaments and models.

We would like to mention that every spool of filament can be slightly different, and filaments often vary greatly even within a small range. Simply fiddling with a single setting like retraction can have huge effects in print quality. This can make the difference between a disastrous fail and a wondrous success.

So, if you own a spool of this filament, we invite you to contribute in the comments below! Did you manage to get your prints to turn out? Did you have an interesting or strange experience? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

Feature image source: Emmett Grames / All3DP

License: The text of "MatterHackers Build Series ABS Filament Review" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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