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ProtoCAM Rapid Prototyping Blog
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ABS Prototypes, ABS Rapid Prototyping

ProtoCAM’s customers sometimes request an "ABS prototype". ABS is a commonly used plastic and the acronym ABS is used almost always instead of the long name: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. According to MatWeb,
ABS is a copolymer of Acrylonitrile, Butadiene, and Styrene. ABS plastics generally possess medium strength and performance and medium cost; ABS is often used as the cost and performance dividing line between standard plastics (PVC, polyethylene, polystyrene, etc.) and engineering plastics (acrylic, nylon, acetal, etc.)
Some customers know from experience or their requirements that they want a prototype made from ABS. The question that needs to be asked is: Does the part need to truly be ABS?

The only way to generate an ABS prototype is to have it made using the FDM process. The parts are made of ABS plastic and have 90% of the properties that an injection molded ABS would have. The downside to FDM prototypes is the rough surface finish that is achieved due to the process.

ProtoCAM offers other options depending on your requirements to achieve an ABS-like prototype. If you want fast turnaround, good aesthetics and improved part accuracy, an SLA prototype can sometimes be used to represent an ABS part. The mechanical properties are not as good, but the aesthetics and dimensional accuracy are excellent.

If you need the best of both worlds - aesthetics and strength - the best solution is to generate an RTV mold and cast urethane parts. Cast urethanes can match the properties of ABS and also look, feel, and act the part. Cast urethanes can be colored with pigment and create a prototype that mimics the quality of an injection molded part.

Sometimes the term 'ABS prototype' is just used to mean a prototype for a plastic part. Whatever your needs, ProtoCAM can help to achieve the best results for your project.

ProtoCAM will supply prototype engineering advice as needed so that you get the right prototype for your application. Such recommendations are always specific to the users’ needs. But in general, these guidelines typically apply:
  • FDM ABS prototypes offer good mechanical properties but lack aesthetics
  • SLA parts can mimic the look and quality of an ABS part, but do not match the mechanical properties
  • RTV molded cast urethanes can match both aesthetics and mechanical properties of an ABS-like prototype
Contact Us to inquire about how ProtoCAM can help with creating your "ABS" prototype or to request a quotation.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Michelle said...

Nice post which The only way to generate an ABS prototype is to have it made using the FDM process. The parts are made of ABS plastic and have 90% of the properties that an injection molded ABS would have. The downside to FDM prototypes is the rough surface finish that is achieved due to the process.Thanks a lot for posting this article.

May 21, 2012 at 10:16 AM  

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