ABS / ASA: How bad is it?

So I’ve been printing with PLA, PETG and PETG-CF for a while now and now I feel that for certain use cases I might need to try ASA/ABS and maybe other technical materials.

My question is … how bad is this stuff ABS/ASA stuff really when it comes to odor / smell? My printer is a small office den with a window close by. I understand that the smell is not pleasant and without ventilation I shouldn’t be in the same room during printing but what about after the print is finished? (assuming I left the window open during printing) Does the smell linger without active vent and “stick” to stuff?

I am using a P1P upgraded to a fully enclosed P1S with carbon filter.

Hey Farid,

in my opinion the emergence of VOC’s ( Volatile Organic Compounds) when printing is one of the most underrated problems.

Here is a study (unfortunately a little bit older) that does a good research of what happens with UFP’s (Ultra Fine Particles) and VOC’s while printing a selection of materials.

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.5b04983

So especially ABS and ASA will also secrete styrene (by the way: not just styrene). This VOC is rated as possibly carcinogen for humans.

But now the good news; In my opinion you can do a few things to lower the risks of UFP’s and VOC’s.

https://www.printables.com/de/model/272525-bentobox-v20-carbon-filter-for-bambu-lab-x1c-enclo

This project is super easy to print and in my opinion a must have :stuck_out_tongue:
With the intern air filtration (HEPA and active CARBON) you get a much lower amount of UFP’s and VOC’s.

And by the way; i don’t have any warping issues with printing ASA (for some of the users that will say, circulating air will result in warping and so on)

Providing fresh air is also a good idea :stuck_out_tongue:

I hope that this problem (UFP’s and VOC’S while printing) will be much more visible in the future.

Greetings

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How bad is it? If you want to do an experiment without spending a lot of money or wasting filament, take a 25mm Cube of Styrofoam place it on a spoon and then rig up a wire or some contraption that will hold the spoon over a candle, light the candle and make sure the distance is just far enough away from the plastic to melt the plastic in to a liquid state. Leave the room and come back in 20 minutes and ask yourself if you will be ok with that smell.

But make sure you live alone because you will be a very unpopular person with anyone else you live with. If you live in a condo or apartment complex, expect the neighbors to call the fire department because the smell is also identical to an electrical fire started by a faulty plastic appliance which often is made of ABS.

The scent of ABS comes from melting polystyrene, which is also found in Styrofoam. Is it carcinogenic? Well, there’s considerable debate about VOCs in general. Some believe that anything not from nature is harmful, while industrial chemical companies claim there’s no evidence to support this.:crazy_face:But chicken little aside, this stuff will give you a really bad headache and to me, no matter where one stands on the science, if you are getting sick from something, you should listen to your body and simply not do that. That would seem like common sense but as Mark Twain once said; “It should be called ‘rare sense’ because their ain’t nothing common about it”.

I can say that in my sole experiment with ABS, even with the windows open, my wife threatened to throw me out of the house if I ever printed that stuff again. The smell lingered for a few days BTW and I had active charcoal air filters going both inside the case and exterior to the case. They did not help.

I plan on rigging up a negative pressure vending system and will attempt ABS again but I will never do it without some kind of strong airflow exiting the home office.

These are the two filters I had inside the chamber and they did nothing.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095BTW744/

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Hey @Olias I thought we lost you, welcome back!

Short answer, don’t do it in your house. That smell will stick to everything. I only print ABS and a tiny bit of TPU all bambu brands, my machine is outside in my workshop 230m3 well ventilated so it doesn’t bother me. I think the bambu ABS stinks more than generic stuff I’ve used. The generic just smells like when you drive passed an injection molding factory, the bambu stuff seems to smell like some is burning inside the machine. I opened it to see if anything was dying but found nothing, it been six months so clearly it’s their ABS. I prefer ABS as it’s so much nicer to print, no curling up corners on overhangs, no noisy fans. Just a bit of smog to clean every few weeks, I’ll never PLA or PETG again.

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It may depend on the filament brand because I moved the printer from my garage (it was too cold there) to my house. I have a P1S and print with a left over alfawise ABS filament from my ender’s days. There is some smell inside the printer but none outside, when I open the door to get my part, yes I could smell it a bit but nothing major and my wife never noticed I print ABS rather than my regular PLA although I printed 8h straight the other day. My carbon filter is brand new which may help but the brand may be the difference vs. your experience. I would suggest you print a small part and if the smell is unbearable just stop the print but my experience is that it’s not as bad as everybody says. I never printed ASA so can’t comment on that. I know Bambu and eSun have some special additives in their ABS filaments so may be avoid these ones.

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I don’t do much ABS printing but I found the smell issues to be a non-factor with my P1P converted to a P1S. You can definitely smell a difference, but its not significant to me. Maybe I’m just weird because IPA isn’t particularly annoying to me either. Neither is pleasant, but I can be in the same room with both and not get particularly bothered or irritated by either.

But I know people who are super sensitive to either scent. So, its likely something you’ll need to figure out for yourself.

I haven’t printed any of my ASA yet, because I’m still working on my 5 year old roll of ABS. To be fair it was never opened until the middle of last year. So when I say, I don’t print it much, I really mean it.

The big problem with Bambu’s filter setup is ABS/ASA doesn’t use the chamber fan, and the chamber fan is the only way to move air through the filter. So the only filtering it will do, is purely passive.

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Also, don’t take my comment as VOC’s are no big deal, because that’s not the case, just sharing how small amounts of them effect me.

A fan in the window pushing air outside does a very good job. The doors/openings between the printer room and the other rooms of the house will have negative pressure so the air flow will pull air into the printer room from the other rooms, so the smells don’t escape into the rest of the house.

And the room doesn’t get cold in the winter or warm in the summer, it stays the same temperature as the rest of the house. But you are blowing your house air outside so may have a negative effect on your heating/cooling bills.

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I’ve seen some ABS filaments advertised on Amazon as having no odor. Anyone here tried one of those? Are they really no odor? If so, then maybe it’s a solution to the OP’s problem.

When I read the comments on those filaments, people said it had an odor. Maybe they were running the temperature too high, I don’t know.

Fortunately, the printer is lightweight enough that if you only occasionally need to print ABS, you can move it to a room that has ventilation built-in, like a spare bathroom or a laundry room. Once positioned do a remote print and then come back after it has ventilated out.

ABS prints so well and is so much more resilient than either PLA or PETG that for some printed parts it may be worth the bother.

@farid.ansari The eSUN ABS and eASA i use the smell does not bother me as there is next to nothing, some chamber fan with the carbon filter and practically no smell the eASA cant even detect it. Also after many rolls have not seen anything to stick as most of it goes via carbon filter if you enable it(X1C).
!!! BUT last year i was printing roll after roll ASA/ABS in my workshop where i work on closed doors and windows and got some medical problems( headaches, dizziness and other ). Most of it was from the build up fumes no smell with out realizing, For me the solution was to add big exhaust fan and ducting above the printer on the ceiling and that solved it. Also reduced the ASA/ABS prints and using more PETG/PLA these days and trying to print through the night ASA/ABS . Or turn on vent and try to keep window/doors open any way, while in the shop

Do not print ASA/ABS with out some room ventilation especially if you are in the same room, open window most cases is enough . But there are lots of ideas how to improve Also do not open the chamber door straight away and breathe inside. Any way for ASA/ABS you have to wait to cooldown slowly

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^^^This. Even if you turn on the chamber exhaust fan and wait a while, even then it does a pretty poor job of exhausting from inside the print chamber. I don’t know why it’s so bad, but you have to wait quite a long while.

Anyhow, poor vladimir knows what he’s talking about. In other threads he wrote about how it put him in the hospital.

The activated carbon filtration system on even an X1C works poorly, if at all.

Sounds interesting. Maybe it will get traction after somebody tries it out and posts a high-quality, detailed review, with measurements, etc.

An interesting concept. If you could repackage it so that it hangs off the back and the AMS and risers can remain on top, it may get more traction. Looking forward to seeing how this evolves and V-Next…

Nice work, keep it up. Where did you get this 3D render of the printer, did you model it yourself or is it available somewhere?

Not sure where he got that one, but Bambu uploaded its own STEP file for it,
https://public-cdn.bambulab.com/wiki/p1p/p1pframe.stp

As well as a 3MF
https://public-cdn.bambulab.com/wiki/p1p/P1Pframe.3dm

Thank you! (post must be at least 25 characters)

Wow lots of good responses here! Thank you everyone for your input and advice specially @Komposti , @Olias, @duane777 , @philch, @just4memike , @vladimir.minkov for taking the time to write detailed responses. I am going to stick to PETG and it’s variants for now (CF, etc.) for the more functional print as much as possible.

I just got an motorhome (for camping) recently and I will be printing some functional parts to improve organization inside and I think PETG or PETG-CF will suffice since I am not going to print anything structural (but still needs to hold up to summer heat inside the motorhome).