For most 3D printing enthusiasts, the ASA filament on the market is relatively unfamiliar. It may not be as common as other filament types such as PLA, ABS, etc., but it is an excellent 3D printing material as well. ASA combines the qualities of ABS with the added benefits of UV resistance and additional moisture resistance, making it ideal for equipment exposed to prolonged sunlight and rain, such as those in the agricultural, transportation, power and utility industries. In the future, it will become a hot material for major brands, consumers and manufacturers.
What is ASA Filament?
ASA, or acrylonitrile styrene acrylate, is an industrial plastic that emerged in the 1970s. Its chemical essence is a graft copolymer of acrylate rubber, acrylonitrile and styrene. ASA is an amorphous thermoplastic similar to ABS, which is also polymerized from three monomers. The molecular structure of ASA is similar to that of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and the physical properties are also very close, but the butadiene in the formula is replaced by acrylate, which leads to the main difference: ASA is an acrylic elastomer, while ABS is a butadiene Diene elastomer. In ASA, styrene provides the luster of thermoplastics, acrylonitrile provides chemical resistance, good moisture absorption and dimensional stability, and acrylates give ASA high impact strength. Like ABS, ASA is petroleum-based and maintains durability even under harsh conditions. As such, ASA is also commonly used as engineering plastics. ASA filament is a modified version of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) filament, which has many similar characteristics, even the printing characteristics are similar, and it is a multi-functional 3D printing material with wide application.
Pros and Cons of ASA Filament
High UV resistance (great for outdoors)
Release potentially dangerous fumes
Strong chemical resistance
Requires higher printing temperature
High impact and temperature resistance
Easy to warp, crack, shrink
Soluble in acetone
The Properties of ASA Filament
Compared to ABS, ASA has better performance, is practical and reliable, and is ideal for automotive parts, sporting goods, outdoor functional prototyping and its end-use parts for outdoor infrastructure and commercial applications such as electrical enclosures pick. ASA filament has several notable properties that contribute to its widespread use in 3D printing.
- UV stability: It’s an important performance that distinguishes ASA from ABS. ASA filamenthas excellent UV stability. For example, UV-resistant parts can be 3D printed with SUNLU ASA filament, they will not degrade due to long-term exposure to sunlight, and are very suitable for outdoor applications. ASA can retain its physical and mechanical properties even when exposed to UV light. This makes SUNLU ASA filament a popular choice for the production of functional parts or objects that are exposed to the elements.
- Heat resistance: ASA filaments have good heat resistance. SUNLU ASA has a glass transition temperature similar to ABS, which is 108°C, and the heat distortion temperature of SUNLU ASA filamentis 80°C, its heat resistance is higher than most printing materials, and it can still maintain stability in a higher temperature range performance.
- High strength and durability: ASA filament is known for its high strength and durability. It exhibits robust mechanical properties, including good impact resistance and high tensile strength. These properties make ASA filament suitable for manufacturing parts that require strength and durability, such as automotive components, outdoor signage, and protective enclosures.
- Chemical resistance: ASA filament has good chemical resistance, it is resistant to a variety of chemicals, including acids, alkalis and various solvents. This feature allows ASA-printed parts to withstand exposure to chemicals without significant degradation or damage.
- Excellent surface finish: Unlike most popular 3D printing materials, ASA prints have a matte finish. This provides better printingquality and makes it easier to hide layer lines, and even without post-processing, ASA-printed parts look smoother than PLA, PETG or ABS prints, making it an excellent choice for aesthetic applications.
- Post-processing: ASA filaments can be subjected to various post-processing techniques such as sanding, polishing and painting. It can be easily sanded for a smoother surface finish or painted to enhance the appearance of printed objects.
- Multiple color options: SUNLU ASA Supplies are available in a variety of vibrant colors for greater design flexibility and customization options.
- Easy print than ABS: ASA filament requires less warping compared to ABS filament due to its lower 3d printing temperature. As a result, it is easier to 3d print with ASA filament than with ABS filament.
Overall, ASA filament combines the desirable properties of ABS with improved weatherability, making it an excellent choice for outdoor applications requiring strength, durability, and UV stability.
ASA filament in 3D printing
The Most Suitable 3D Printing Parameters for ASA Filament (Take SUNLU ASA Filament as an Example)
When using ASA filament, it is essential to optimize the 3D printing parameters for successful prints. While the specific settings may vary depending on the printer and filament brand, here are some general guidelines for using SUNLU ASA filament:
- Nozzle temperature: Recommended nozzle temperature for SUNLU ASA filament is around 245-255℃. Adjust the temperature based on your printer's capabilities and filament manufacturer's recommendations.
- Bed temperature: A heated bed is necessary for printing ASA filament. Set the bed temperature between 80-100°C to ensure proper adhesion and minimize warping.
- Print speed: ASA filament generally requires lower print speeds compared to other materials. Start with a moderate print speed of around 40-60mm/s and adjust as needed for optimal results.
- Printing platform surface: Glue can be applied to increase the adhesion to the heat bed.
- Layer height: Choose a layer height that suits your print requirements. A layer height of 0.1-0.3mm is commonly used with ASA filament, but adjustments can be made based on the desired balance between print quality and print speed.
- Enclosure: To further minimize warping and improve print quality, consider using an enclosed 3D printer or creating an enclosure around the printer to maintain a consistent and controlled printing environment.
3D Printing Tips for ASA Filament
To achieve successful prints with ASA filament, here are some additional tips to consider:
- Adhesion: Proper bed adhesion is essential to prevent warping. ASA tends to shrink causing warping (mainly larger prints). Printing in a heated chamber and adding skirting to your prints where possible can help you minimize bed sticking issues. Kapton tape, PET Sheets or ABS/ASA Slurry can also be used to enhance adhesion.
- Supports: Add supportswhen necessary to provide stability and prevent overhangs from sagging or sagging. Consider using an easily removable support material such as HIPS or PVA as a print support - HIPS has similar print settings to ASA and is easily soluble in limonene.
- Post-processing: ASA prints can be post-processed using techniques such as sanding, painting, or chemical smoothing to achieve the desired surface finish. And ASA is soluble in acetone, so any contact with acetone will melt it. This means you can skip the sanding process and smooth your print with cold acetone to remove layer lines quickly and easily.
- Enclosed printers: ASA contains styrene, which produces fumes when printing, which can be harmful if inhaled for prolonged periods of time. When you print with an ASA, you should use an enclosed 3D printer and vent the fumes, especially if your 3D printer is located in an area where you or others will be exposed to the fumes in large quantities.
- Keep filaments dry: Like most plastics, ASA is slightly hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture. You can use the SUNLU S2 filament dryer oven to dry the filaments according to the S2 fila dryer’s recommended drying settings for their ASA filaments before use in order to obtain the best printing results.
Application of ASA Filament
ASA filament finds applications in various industries and functional parts that require durability, weather resistance, and UV stability. Some common applications of ASA filament include:
- Outdoor signage: ASA's UV resistance and weatherability make it suitable for durable outdoor signage that can withstand prolonged exposure to sunlight and harsh weather conditions.
- Automotive parts: ASA filament is used to create automotive components like exterior trim, grilles, mirror housings, and brackets due to its impact resistance and weather resistance.
- Prototypes and functional parts: ASA's strength and durability make it ideal for producing functional prototypes and parts that require mechanical stability, such as housings, enclosures, andbrackets. ASA can withstand rigorous testing and functional use, making it a reliable choice for functional prototyping.
- Outdoor accessories: ASA filament is commonly used to create outdoor accessories such as garden furniture, planters, and decorative items. Its resistance to weather conditions ensures that the printed objects maintain their integrity and aesthetics over time.
- Electrical enclosures: ASA's durability and resistance to UV radiation make it suitable for manufacturing electrical enclosures and housings, ensuring the protection of sensitive electronic components in outdoor environments.
- Marine applications: ASA filament is used in marine applications where parts need to withstand exposure to saltwater, UV radiation, and extreme weather conditions. It can be used for creating boat components, fittings, and accessories.
- Architectural models: ASA's ability to retain color and withstand sunlight makes it an excellent choice for producing architectural models and scale prototypes that require long-term display under various lighting conditions.
- Functional tools: ASA filament can be used to create functional tools like jigs, fixtures, and tool handles due to its durability and impact resistance.
ASA filament is known for its high impact resistance, high temperature resistance and increased printing difficulty. Due to its excellent resistance to UV rays and harsh weather conditions, SUNLU ASA filament is generally a premium material for outdoor use, making it ideal for final products and functional prototypes exposed to sunlight and harsh environmental conditions.