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My experience with Ender 3 Pro and ASA plastic

ABS ASA ender3pro PEI

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I just saw an old question about ABS prints on ender 3, and decided to write a few words. It may be helpful, since I learned everything on my own mistakes.

First, good old question about magnetic bad, default one. Everyone say that you shouldn't go over 80 degrees, or it will stop sticking. It's not entirely true. Probably it would loose some magnetism, but it's more likely that you'll destroy sheet itself. Since I wanted to go for glass bad, I didn't care too much about destroying it. So the most important thing about magnetic bed - do not remove until it's cold, and never use spatula or anything similar to remove model, and more important - do not use acetone to clean surface (I did...). About temperatures, I was printing ASA on magnetic plate for one week with 100 degrees bed temp (just a little hairspray over it.) What actually started damaging is magnetic bed - while removing magnetic plate, small parts started chunking out (never under 100 degrees). So it is possible to print on magnetic bad, but only if you wait for glass so you don't care about destroying default bed.

When I got Creality glass, I decided to remove magnetic bed, but not before I tried it first. It is possible to print with glass on magnetic bed, but it's dam hard to remove glass, even after cooldown, so I removed magnetic bed (heat on 110, and carefully remove it from one corner to the another). After that, I removed alu plate and washed it with some stuff used for cleaning car engines. It wasn't perfectly flat, so I used alu tape over one side of the bed and got perfect results. After setting up everything, the biggest problem was bed leveling. I fixed this problem with printing this: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4078927, with default springs, I level my bed every 1 month, with few models printed every day. But I was able to print small models, bigger ones started to wrap after 5 cm on Z axis. I tried to dissolve plastic in acetone, to use tape or hairspray, but at the end, hairspray works best for me. I spray only one layer from about 15 cm distance, away from printer, and wait few minutes to dry. After printing, I wait for it to cooldown to about 50 degrees, then I put it in the fridge. After 5 minutes, I remove model easily with just touching one edge with spatula.

All of this worked great, and I found online that you can wash glass bed with alcohol - but I didn't found that you MUST NOT wash it with acetone. After washing with water and soap, I noticed small parts of plastic, and used few drops of acetone for that. It turned out that acetone make damage. It wasn't anything big, just some places started whiting a little. What actually was the problem, is what came after that. ABS/ASA is known to make dmg to glass, sometimes it's possible for small pieces of glass to just pop out. That's what happened to me, on that places where I used acetone. I turned glass on other side, sanded it a little with 1000 and 1500 sand paper ( sand it in circles, without pressure, so it's not visible without a light). It also worked great, but after some time it started to pull out new chunks of glass. It's really small, and you can still print on that without any issue, even surface on bed print same. But that's only for some time, because that spots will become deeper, and then you'll notice on model small shadow and uneven surface. I continued to print on this test models, or something small that do not touch weak spots.

I found some BuildTak PEI sheets on discount, so I ordered 2 pieces 10 x 10 inches. That's 254 x 254 mm, so I cut it to 235 x 235 mm (cutting PEI is easy with razor blade or similar). Since my glass was damaged a lot on front size, I decided to put one layer of aluminium tape over glass. BuildTalk PEI sheet come with adhesive, but since I have some tape that leave glue on surface when removed, and there's alu tape on my glass, I used it too. After I tried it, I putted PEI sheets onto two other glass beds I use. It's that good for ASA plastic. No need for any adhesive, and models pop out after cooldown (few drops of water or fridge do the job for models that don't want to remove from plate).

About enclosure, that was first what I did with printer. Since ASA need equal temperature during print, I used styrofoam with glass on front side so I can see what happen inside. Styrofoam keep temperature equal, so when I print with 235 and 105 degrees for bed, temp inside is 40 degrees of celsius, no matter on outside conditions. I use 12 mm fan with flexi aluminium pipe for ventilation, with 3d printed active carbon filter. For higher temperatures just slow down ventilation fan speed, and it go to 50, or 60 degrees. Printer stay on table in corner, and drying box is under the desk, same as electronics). I drilled holes in desk so filament go directly to printer without touching outside air (I used tubes from medical infusion, 0.3$ for 3 filament spools). I printed parts for 20l box and used silicone on connections to seal it properly.

I am still working on drying box, in next days I will upload model together with photos of my printer. Now it's time to do some upgrade on printer itself.

I got some linear rails and I am waiting on new X, Y, Z extrusions. That's all for durability of printer, but I also want to increase quality, so any opinion on what to buy/make is highly appreciated. I want all-metal hot-end and dual Z axis, but not sure what to do after that (with other bearings).

Ender 3 (Pro) Spring Guides

Just throwing in my 2 cents since i have more trouble printing PLA than ASA and ABS lol..

My Ender 3 has a spring steel bed, no coating, makes it last longer against the abuse and there is nothing to rip off with prints like PETG when it sticks.
All metal heatbreak and an upgraded heating cartridge with PID tuning that runs like 15 times in case i upgrade Marlin.
and 3DLac just to make it that little bit more certain to stick.

i print at 110c with 275 on the Hotend, BL touch for leveling, a Brim (since if that starts lifting you can still tack it down before the lifting gets to the part) and the best feature i had never used before, a Draft shield.

Used to struggle with ABS and ASA having split layers, ever since i started using the Draft shield, amazing prints and super sturdy.

i mainly am printing Fillamentum ABS and ASA since they are over from a job, but occasionally i do have other ABS and with 275 on the Hotend, haven't had a clog yet.

Will be putting it in an Enclosure soon but the draftshield really makes it noncritical.

I am working all day, so no time to read/write here. Dam, I still didn't uploaded designs I made in last two weeks! I will be busy next 2-3 days, and then I'll upload my works and few more texts and tutorials. Here's a few more words on this...

I've tried few different ASA brands, and the best one (for me) is just near my town, it cost only 24$ and it's amazing - strong, nice and easy to vapor with acetone. More important, colors are same within different batches, same as diameter, and they are always fresh (most times I order 2 days earlier and get them just made). I was printing on 235 to not damage PTFE tube, now with all-metal hot-end I print on 240 - 245. Everything more than that, and I loose quality (manufacturers tests passed at 230). It's tested on FTN university in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Enclosure is must-have! That's actually the most important part. I am trying to find tutorial on youtube, some guy explained how to calculate temperature of enclosure needed for successful print, but I can't... On glass I print on 105 for bed, with glass and PEI I print on 95 (manufacturers test passed at 87). I use only brim (outside part), that help me with adhesion but also to check first layer and totally clean nozzle from other color. I will add photos as soon as I can, hope tomorrow. I made new enclosure from OSB panels (epoxy coated), with high-quality thermal insulation foil and double bottom surface (electronics are removed from hot part of enclosure, but still inside box, to save some space and extend only 2 cables). I have one fan at the top (with activated carbon), and ventilation alu-pipe that send clean but still hot air back to the enclosure. With all of that, if first layer success, I don't have to think about warping.

If you need high quality ASA filament, feel free to contact me (no fee on my side, besides shipping). If you want to try it before buying, I can send you sample.

Esp. for ABS try dimafix instead of 3dlac (at least it's easier to remove print, sticks bit better and with less visible residue). 105C is enough for ABS (and you can go down with higher layers up to 90C) but you are printing outside o enclosure, so it make sense to get any +1C around the print. 275 is way too much for most ABS you may be behind the limit it improves the strenght.(but if it work for you ok, just a note, for sure you did temp tower and tested at least any naive way the strength of the print). On the other hand I had abs printable only at 285C,

Will try Dimafix when the 3dlac is empty, thanks for the tip :)
I gotta say, i have printed exactly one temp tower since i started 3d printing xD and have never printed a Benchy.
The Fillamentum ABS and ASA do print fine at 245c but at 275c it becomes amazing.
I have roughly 35 Rolls of Fillamentum behind me and over 120 of various "whatever is on offer at amazon" Filament
And gone through 20 Mirrors, 4 of the black coated glass from creality and 4 spring steel plates 2 coated and 2 without a coating.
The best Buildplate up until now was the uncoated spring steel, because except for overbending it, there's no coating to be damaged and stuff sticks to it just fine.
yet still have ABS lifting at the corners if you just look at it wrong lol.

And to your point with the 285c ABS you had, i have PLA that clogs at 180c all the way to 275c xD the reasons it is sold as prototyping filaments xD for production no reason to go cheap

Anything that works for you is the best. Beside Fillamentum (yes, great Czech company) If you want to try something cheaper eSUN ABS+ (Chinese) or Devil Design ASA/ABS+ (Polish) both are perfectly printable. eSun has great color options.
I prefer (borosilicate) glass bed for cheap printers and PEI sheet for the ones with flat bed :-) Both works with no issue with ABS/ABS+/ASA for me. In first case thanks to Dimafix. Also Garolite (but suggest G11 not G10 to have temp reserve works fine also for things like PA12) if you want to experiment with other surfaces it's worth to try and it cost almost nothing.

i tried eSUN ABS+, prints beautifully, stinks like it gets mined in the deepest corner of hell..
i don't mind the stink of ABS and bought the stuff despite the reviews for it saying it stinks, i thought ya.. people are too sensitive, which usually is true, but found out for myself that it is absolutely vile.and it is very very moisture sensitive.
BUT.. found something reaaally interesting out, i printed a Mandalorian statue with it, on the cape at different points the layers split apart, with a heatgun, they actually deformed back perfectly to the original form, you can't see the point where they were delaminated.

When i need a new buildplate i will be going with G11, i have a bunch of copper boards here unfortunately none large enough, will be making a few Carbon fiber boards, one company i talked to at Formnext 2019 who prints PACF they use exclusively Matte Carbon fiber buildplates, it gives a nice weave on the bottom and they supposedly stick perfectly on it.
For my CR10 and CR10S i used cheap 10€ a pack mirrors and if they are properly clean, they stick perfectly, no help needed, ivan miranda showed it nicely in an early video.

LOL :-) You made my day better :-)
I sehe du bist aus Deutschland....gunstig eSUN findest du hier https://vonwange.com/absplus/ see "SchnitzelDiscount" :-)))
ASA is less smelly usually than ABS but for printing both of them filter is suggested...(toxic fumes,styrene..)
I am sure you find local seller that sells g11 a makes custom cutting. (I am ordering from small company from Czechia)
PCB is made of G10 most offten, so You wont have reserve for 105-110C bed temps, it may melt under some circumstances or deform in longer term. 2-3mm is enough if you need flex the surface.
Didn't tested carbon fiber bed, but they are accessible since they are used in (aero) modelling e,g. (not sure about Matter but not sure if is it worth the price difference - small saving in weight)
Yes, mirrors are safe choice, but borosilicate is more durable/resistant in long term esp. when printing on higher temps. (but yes you can get 5+ mirrors in price of one borosilicate plate).

mit freundlichen Gruessen

Thanks for the tip, that actually sounds like a good deal.
Ya i know with the filtering and styrene, but that is a different issue, will be taken care of in time lol
I work with quite a lot of carbon fiber and Glass fiber so usually have material here and no need to order a ready made board, that is why im not worried about the cost difference, for others it's probably a concideration, though if it works reliably, probably worth the money

i stopped using glass in general after i cut myself on a piece of glass that was stuck to the bottom of my prints, stopped using coated surfaces after my hotend ripped through quite a few of those and the rest ripped while taking parts off them :D the uncoated Metal plate is just fine =)

My recommendation for dual Z axis is not to use dual lead screw. There is still a bit of gap in the threads of the screw to nut. I would recommend going with this modification for the dual Z setup: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4243512

The other thing I would recommend is using this print head cooling systems to keep any airflow from the print head cooling fan from blowing on your print. As you are aware, printing with ABS/ASA you must not it cool it as it prints: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4561720

I have done both of these modifications and I can not recommend them enough, these are a must in my opinion.

I have posted my “Make” on both of those mods, read my detailed review of each.
https://www.thingiverse.com/make:917127
https://www.thingiverse.com/make:944171

Belt Driven Ender 3/Pro/V2 and CR10
QED Hot End Cooling System with Convergence Part Cooling Nozzle for: Creality CR10 CR10S Pro V2 Ender3 Ender5 MicroSwiss E3DV6 Volcano Hotend 4010 5015 Direct Drive
Belt Driven Ender 3/Pro/V2 and CR10
QED Hot End Cooling System with Convergence Part Cooling Nozzle for: Creality CR10 CR10S Pro V2 Ender3 Ender5 MicroSwiss E3DV6 Volcano Hotend 4010 5015 Direct Drive

You cannot overconstraint dual z. The check is easy (does it bind or not?)
Belted Z ok.. but in this case I would better convert ender 3 into voron switchwire.
Fully avoiding cooling of ABS is kind of workaround if you have no enclosure or a weak one. You need 20-40% airflow (symbolic value depends on design of hot end, config, fan etc) to get best results. E3 hot end is known for air leakage from hot end cooling fan to print which can cause artefacts or when printing without enclosure may avoid e.g to print asa what is otherwise usually with layer cooling fan off possible.. But not ideal.
The solution you linked is not great for asa/abs unless you print it from nylon or even higher temp material. Its too close to nozzle/heat block and will melt it's kind of myth that this is necessary or better. (yes, as a part of print abs outside enclosure movement).
Sorry for being so critical Sallen but couldnt let your statements without this notes.

I like the Voron Switchwire at first glance, I will have to dig deeper into it and see if the cost associated with that modification would be worth entertaining based on added benefits over my current belt drive system.

I guess I thought it was given that printing ABS/ASA requires an enclosure. If one tries to do it outside of an enclosure, there will be constant battles with the part cooling too fast.

Not sure about your comment "The solution you linked is not great for asa/abs . . . " I assume you are speaking of the hot end cooling mod? ? ? I printed that mod with ABS and have been printing almost around the clock for 3 months and have no issues with it melting as a result of the proximity of the nozzle/heat block and I am running my hot end at 240.

Yes, its part of dilemma where to stop with upgrading slinger printer and start to build a corexy one. In my honest opinion that are things like lin. rails and belted mod. 150EUR Ender 3 + up to 100EUR upgrades is enough to make it print flawlessly ....well with speed limit which is given almost by design of Y. (you can push it little further by lin. rails).
Yes hot end mod QED. I'm printing in enclosure with temps between 55-60C and sooner or later i need to change asa/abs printed parts around heater block even with hot end design like voron afterburner. With Nylon it's ok but I am not going higher than 280C. Most often i print at around 240-250(abs). Maybe you could inspect cooling channels if they are still not deformed after 3 months, this is the period when I usually started to notice first deformations.(depends on printing hours)

You posted this a long time ago, but I just saw it... It's hard to know when to stop upgrading and make new one... but most people (like me) don't have all that money at the same time, so upgrading one printer works good. But what I do is that I upgrade parts one by one, that I can use later in next printer (hot-end, extruder, step-motors...). I decided to not go with linear rails, because I want to try something new, my own thing, more about it IF it success (big big IF). About belt driven Z axis, I would recommend it as first upgrade, together with new springs. It's much better then dual Z axis upgrade. About enclosure and cooling, in old bad enclosure I printed without fan. Now with good enclosure with air filtration system, I print with 30% fan all the time. What's the most important is constant temperature. I success even with only 35 degrees inside enclosure (usually I keep it on 50), but just one small opening and it will warp.

The first part makes perfect sense until recommendation of belted Z as a first upgrade on E3. I was not discussing if is it better. It is. Question is if is it worth it on such printer.
The second part about enclosure chamber - unless you install recirculation filteration system(you didn't mention type) there is higher air flow and cold air is sucked from outside of enclosure what makers printing materials like ABS harder. Yes in general avoiding airflow around the print may help hold hot air rising from the bad around the print and make success print outside of enclosure or inside weak enclosure more probable.

"What's the most important is constant temperature."...." I success even with only 35 degrees inside enclosure".... where you didn't succeed at 50C before? If this is what you are trying to tell us? If yes, you just invented new physics.

Hi, thanks for sharing, short reactions

"go over 80 degrees"...it's myth although it depends on manufacturer. You can run e.g. energetics 3d magnetic pads at 105 in long term.(even with glass on it ....use something thin like scalpel in such case to release the glass from magnet, it's easy :-)
Springs...the stock ones are weak, buy better ones ("yellow") or silicone pads (helps little avoid resonance)
" but at the end, hairspray works best for m" definitely....use dimafix esp. for ABS to get even better adhesion (you just take the print of the bed after cooldown, no fridge required)
ASA is kind of ABS, no other rules than for ABS in general (ASA warps little less than ABS....comparable to ABS+)

X, Y, Z extrusions? why, creality has quite satisfying quality of extrusions
Linear rails? OK...when you invest into these, maybe you can start 2 levels better printer from the scratch...like voron e.g.? Wheels are well enough for slinger type of printer, you wont see any print quality difference.

Linear rails are not there to improve quality, but durability of printer. Same with new extrusions... when there's good option to buy something quality but cheap, why not (stainless steel). Plan is to change everything in future, to make it bigger with dual extruder. I have my plan what to do, just wanted some opinions what actually to buy to get better quality prints (bearings, extruder, stepper motors, hot-end....). I am not beginner in mechanic, but I am in 3d printing, especially when we talk about bunch of different vendors and products...

I know ASA is same as ABS, almost... I tried different things, and hairspray I found in local store works best for me. One thin layer is enough for few prints, I use fridge just for faster cooldown, and because it's ABS plastic... just pop-out on temperature change like that.

Thanks for your answer, do not hesitate to tell me what would you buy to make new printer. I will upgrade this printer because I can, but I want to make new one, at least 350 x 350 mm bed. I just read about voron like you said, didn't knew about it, looks good, will read it later.

Regards, Alex.

Hi Alex,

I do not have any experience with steel extrusions, if they have same precision as alu it may work for slinger printer where weight of extrusions is not a big factor. The wear of extrusions when printer is properly set up is minimal, v slot wheels are easier serviceable although the service cycle is usually shorter if you run it outside enclosed chamber. To me it doesn't make sense to make such investment into this kind of cheap slinger printer (but that's really my opinion, many ppl upgraded E3 with lin rails)
Sure, if you are satisfied with hairspray, no more discussion.(it's used for years by community and some branded 3d printer "lacs" are probably nothing more than expensive hairspray :-) But if you ended up with freezer, give that dimafix a try, you will see the difference.

For e3 I can suggest (maybe in this order)
a) good hot end - e3d v6, dragon etc. plated copper block, even cooling (so toolhead with good design with even cooling in mind)
b) if you target ABS+ then all metal hot end
c) if direct drive I suggest orbiter extruder and dual Z (and extruder)...if bowden cheap BMG clone for 10 euro will do 2 levels better job than the stock one
d) frame enforcement
e) buy RPI and install Klipper - resonance compensation :-) kind of software wonder :-)
f) springs
g) if you plan to enclose your printer, then good crimping tools to remove electronics if you dont have them (you will need it for voron too ;-)
h) bearings....if you stay with wheels you can invest into some japan ones, but it's overkill for 3d printer....in such case i would really invest into lin rails (in voron BOM you will find some tips for reliable ones if you don't wan't genuine hwin)
e) stock steppers are ok, no impact on print quality
(I made detailed excel sheet with links for some friends with impact/importance of each upgrade, but unfortunately it's in slovak :-(

I would buy ....components for voron :-) (but have to note that there are other great community printers you can choose from)
If you have wider mechanic background this may be very helpfull/joy for you.(it's like next level of 3d printing, community is growing very fast, every day you came across valuable discussion or upgrade, this is something what maybe started prusa but killed too by getting more and more commercial....)
a) You can rebuild E3 into voron switchwire
b) There is voron trident (aka 1.9) - best value for price printer from voron family (freshly released), so this would be my first voron candidate....but some componets are not easy to get currently
c) Voron v2 - utlimate FDM 3d printer, there are also kits of decent quality, but i would source parts by myself, it's fun, you learn much just but hunting the parts and you have quality in your hands
d) my love :-) voron v0 - enjoyed the build the most but since it's very small it may be tricky as a first such 3d printer, if you do some mistake you will have to undone much :-) for ppl with limited space great second printer
Hope it helps at least little. Well I see Alex you are from Serbia (brate ;-) i can help you with some tips or join voron discord group, there is #ex-yu-si-hr-rs-ba group. https://discord.gg/voron

Thanks on this on this, I got new springs but still not use them. I do not plan to upgrade it too much, for that I will make new printer, but I want to change to lin. rails, like I said, just for durability of printer, because I don't think it's so big investments, and printer will last longer then with wheels. About extrusions, I will not change it on ender, since I fall in love with Voron :) Can't believe I didn't knew about it.

I'll join that group later.

Edit: Since I use PEI sheet on glass, I do not need any hairspray or anything for adhesion. I still use fridge to speed up process, it's just near my printer, and it's not used for food :) Didn't seen any problems while using fridge.

Enjoy the build Alex.

Yes, makes more sense after explanation.(fridge)