ABS weathering

Just out of interest, has anyone got any ABS parts they’ve had sitting around in direct sunlight/heat for awhile? In particular the white village plastics ABS. I’m curious as to how quickly UV affects unprotected plastic.

ABS is basically the same thing as Lego plastic, and will be have roughly the same way. The different colors in particular are affected differently due to their reflective properties. Red pieces seem to break down sooner than blue ones, etc. Something with thin walls will weaken after a few years. A large thick clamping fixture will be fine for quite a long time if printed properly

I made a pair of ABS plastic clips that are attached to the edge of the top of my boat that sits in the Florida sun year-round. The clips hold outrigger lines together while not in use. The clips have held up well, better than I expected, for more than a year now. I used neutral (no pigment) ABS.

Depending on the kind of pigment they used to make white filament, it could hold up up even better. White pigment is titanium dioxide which is used as a whitener, opacifier and UV protection. However, some pigments are designed for durability and some for interior applications. Non-durable TiO2 is photo-active and can actually accelerate UV degradation on the surface. That’s what causes the chalking you see on some weathered exterior paints. However, the opacifying quality of the pigment will protect the polymer below the surface, so it should actually extend the useful life. (I’m now retired after many years in the white pigment manufacturing business.)

Wow, a much better answer than I could ever have hoped for!

Is there a way to do a fast test to find the durability of a pigment in a particular filament short of leaving it out in the sun for a few years?

Black is usually ok, prone to heat warping, Neutral or White is generally least affected, avoid red, it tends to go pale and chalky. Gray is usually safe, blue is a mixed bag, some fade, some don’t.

That’s just based off my experiance and not over super long times, but hopefully that helps some.

The additives used to make pigments durable (or not) are added at the ppm to % levels, which makes them too difficult to detect (never mind measure) in the filament. There are methods for accelerated weathering tests, but they require expensive lab equipment. The gold-standard weather testing is actually exposing to south Florida sun for years.

I agree with Piercer on colors. Red pigment is very unstable. Black uses carbon black as a pigment which probably absorbs UV. Grey probably uses both TiO2 and carbon black pigments.

There are also UV blocking clear coat sprays you could apply after for extra protection.

Within the last few months ASA is available at 3dxtech - I am not sure of the forum rules about offsite links, so just google it.

I bought two spools for a outside pool skimmer robot I made - its prints very similar to ABS

Here are is the description:

Arctic Blue 3DXMAX® ASA (Acrylonitirle Styrene Acrylate) is a UV-resistant weatherable polymer. Our ASA has a low-gloss matte finish that makes it a perfect filament for technical prints - especially when you don’t want the high-gloss surface finish often associated with many other 3D printing materials such as ABS, PETG, or PLA. ASA’s UV-stability makes it an ideal material for outdoor applications that will experience intense exposure to the sun and weather. ASA’s exceptional mechanical and thermal properties - coupled with excellent UV-stability - is why this resin is used the Auto, Marine, and RV industries for exterior applications such as mirror housings, cowl covers, radiator grills, and sensor housings.

Diameter Specifications:

1.75mm +/- 0.05mm
2.85mm +/- 0.05mm
Test Data: ASA has similar mechanical & thermal properties compared to ABS. Data from printed ISO test bars:

Tensile Strength: 43 MPa
Tensile Modulus: 2010 MPa
Tensile Elongation: 6%
Tg: 103°C
Please note: 2kg, 4kg, and 10kg reels are special order and may take up to 3-5 business days to ship.

Recommended Print Conditions:

Extruder Temp: 235 - 255°C
Bed Temp: 90-110°C, cool the bed down by about 10-20°C after the first couple of layers
Bed Prep: 3DXTech Polyimide Tape, ABS / Acetone Slurry, or Hairspray on clean glass
Enclosure: We recommend using a printer with an enclosure to help keep some heat in while printing with ASA
Support: Our HIPS support works great to create complex parts.