HIPS or ABS, which is better...

Now that I’ve got my Mini real close to dialed in (thanks to you fine folks on the forum), I’d like some opinions on HIPS vs ABS. I’m making some project boxes and they need to be pretty strong and be able to handle some high temps, around 90-125° F. HIPS seems to be working pretty well but it’s bit a little on the brittle side. I have a roll of ABS that I haven’t tried yet. Would that be better to use for the boxes? Do you prefer ABS to HIPS or is there another filament more suited to the boxes and high temps? Thanks for the benefit of your collective wisdom. :ugeek:


I have an allergy to hips fumes which cause a nasty itchy flaky rash wherever it hits my skin, so obviously I won’t suggest it. :wink:

After discovering that, I tried PLA and ABS, and strongly prefer ABS over PLA – PLA is shiny and chintzy looking, also brittle. ABS is strong, has a pleasant matte texture, and doesn’t gum up the nozzle so much (less cleaning). On the other hand, if the piece is wide or tall or large in some way, ABS can be difficult due to warping at the buildplate, corners lifting, or layers splitting. It definitely likes a warm ambient environment and because I print in a virtually unheated garage without an enclosure, I haven’t been able to use it since autumn.

Which brings me to PETG. It is strong and flexible like ABS, but the corners don’t lift from the buildplate and I’ve never seen a layer not adhere to the other layers. It prints very reliably – if the first layer goes down half-good, the remainder is a given. It does have something of the PLA shine, and in warmer ambient environments it can leave strings on the piece, but right now, with my garage in the high 30s to high 40s, it prints beautifully. The colder it is outside, the better it prints it seems. It does require more frequent nozzle cleaning than ABS, but less frequent than PLA.

What size project boxes are you looking to make? I suspect that you will have some serious layer separation issues using ABS for anything over 25mm high unless you use thick walls. A lot of folks swear by PETG (I need to try that stuff soon). I have developed a strong liking of nylon but nylon is fairly expensive.

Thanks for the replies. Right now I’m making boxes that are 80mm X 60mm X 40mm and might make some bigger ones. I’ve read good things about nylon 645. I might need to look into that, but I need the boxes to be black.

I’d say that is within a reasonable size for ABS but that is also big enough to start being fussy and that you will need to be prepared to deal with issues. If you don’t have an enclosure, one thing to do is after the print starts, block off the sides and top with cardboard to retain heat in the build area.

Honestly, if I was printing that box, I’d go to PETG first though and skip the hassles.

Nylon (at least Bridge filament) takes dye beautifully. I have some Gizmo Dorks black nylon on order but I understand that some folks have had difficulties with the colored nylon. If you are interested, I’ll let you know how the Gizmo Dorks black filament works for me.

Thanks for the tips!

I’d love to hear how the black nylon works out, thanks!

I don’t see PETG on the Lulzbot shop page anymore. Is it still available and if so does it come in black? Also I’ve been reading about IC3D filaments and their ABS got some great reviews. Does anyone have experience with those?

Lulzbot doesn’t sell it. You can get it at a number of online sources. Amazon ships it for other sellers, Intservo (eSUN). MakerGeeks makes their own, at least that’s what they claim.

I ordered some from Amazon and got PLA+. :confused: The seller was apologetic and claims Amazon messed up. No idea, and no way to know. They were the only seller on Amazon with stock listed, so I ordered some direct from Intservo (they usually have some on Amazon as well). I also have a spool coming from MakerGeeks to try out. It is available in solid black from both of those places.

I hear good things about the eSUN version at least. I haven’t printed any yet, but I’m encouraged by the reports. It sounds like it works better in cooler rooms, so printing without an enclosure should be easier than ABS would be. I should have both orders for the weekend, so I’ll spend some time trying it out.

I use eSun PETG all the time and get it from Amazon. I think Nylon is more expensive than PETG, but I really don’t know.

I get my filament on Amazon – eSun PETG and ABS. I did buy a spool of IC3D ABS in black and honestly, it was gooey – made a real mess of everything and it was expensive to boot.

I got my Intservo order in yesterday. Quick shipping from them.

I ordered eSUN PET translucent blue and solid black. I did some tests with the blue last night and got good prints with my HIPS settings, just changing the bed temp to 80. My bed runs about 10C hot, so the real temp was about 90. The only issue I had was inter-layer bonds not being good. After increasing the nozzle temp to 245 and decreasing the cooling fan speed, I got better bonding. I get better bonds at 0.1mm layers as well, which makes some sense. I’m doing a longer test print now, but so far I like this stuff. It’s pretty easy to work with, seems pretty tough, and is inexpensive. I’m running a more complex print now to see how it handles, but if that works I’ll probably make this my default material. And the translucent looks pretty cool too.

It’s sticking almost too well, so I might need to bump up the z-offset a little.

So what are the differences between PETG and Nylon or ABS?

ABS likes to warp at the base, and taller items will tend to have layers break free in the middle if you don’t have an enclosure. You can mitigate it to a degree, but it’s always there. Heated beds and PEI help a lot, but large items with thin walls seem to have problems. ABS has nice properties as well. Acetone smoothing and solvent welding are handy tricks. And Acetone is pretty mild as solvents go. Anything that would do those things on Nylon you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near, for one example.

Nylon absorbs moisture like a sponge, also warps pretty bad sometimes. Enough that it’s recommended to use a glue stick on the bed, even with the PEI. It’s also stronger than ABS in many cases, is self-lubricating which is nice for gears etc. and has other properties that make us suck it up and use it anyway. It’s also much more expensive.

Disclosure, I’ve only printed about 10 meters each of ABS and Nylon and only smaller parts. They worked well, but that’s what I’ve gathered from reading. My Nylon is also really flexible, I might have to use the flexistruder to use it unless I bake it immediately before printing.

Also, “strong” is somewhat relative. There are a lot of ways people measure strength, and some matter more for some items than others do. Some care more about tensile strength, some about compression, etc…

I’ve done more with HIPS. It seems to be not quite as tough as ABS, but it’s pretty good overall. I’ve done some larger parts without warping or layer separation issues. It’s also available in many colors, though ABS and PLA seem to have the most color options. HIPS seems to be a more forgiving plastic overall, I’m glad it was my first filament as I think some of the stuff I tried with it would have been a mess with ABS just due to my own inexperience. I suspect that’s one reason Lulzbot recommends it and ships with a small piece for your first test print.

I hear PLA is nice in similar ways to HIPS. With the exception of heat handling. It gets soft at lower temps so having it outdoors in the summer doesn’t work so well. Other than that, it seems to be really popular. I haven’t printed any yet, so I can’t really say much.

PET I’ve done test prints with, and the gear bearing, which turned out great. It’s pretty nice so far. It seems to be about as strong as HIPS/ABS, but not as flexible in thinner walls. In testing my prints I try to break them, HIPS bends a bit before breaking, as does ABS. The PET parts snap clean like if you break a CD (polycarbonate). I haven’t had any warping, and had to move the z-offset up a little bit as it was sticking a bit too well compared to the same settings I used with HIPS. There seems to be a fairly good selection of colors, and the translucent look is pretty nice. I haven’t tried the solid black yet. The parts have a shine to them, HIPS/ABS are a more matte finish right off the printer, PET is more reflective.

It sounds like you want to make electronics enclosures. HIPS would be my first choice for that. I’ve made a few things like that and it’s worked well. It doesn’t mind if I thread screws into it etc… I think PET would work, the gear bearing had some flex without snapping, I suspect the thicker walls helped there. Nylon would work, but would get expensive fast and it’s considered an “advanced” material. So it seems it’s generally harder to print than ABS. If the boxes won’t be subjected to high heat, PLA might be a good choice as well. I’m going to end the wall of text now, there are whole websites dedicated to the topic if you want to learn a ton about plastics.

I finally received the Gizmo Dorks black nylon filament yesterday. (Shipment was delayed due to weather in the Great North Wet.)

My initial impressions are not good. At “normal” nylon settings (240c hot end/100c bed) the filament prints correctly visually. However, the initial impression of a good result rapidly proved incorrect. The inter-layer bonding is almost non-existent. I broke the part (a gauntlet for the FlexyHand 2) just removing it from the bed. It wasn’t an adhesion issue, the part was just very brittle. I tried several more prints, pushing the hot end temp up with every iteration. I stopped at 260c just due to time. The part was better but nowhere near the strength I expect from nylon. I also had some thermal distortion issues that were reminiscent of ABS (actually worse than ABS considering the size of the print).

I will continue to experiment (after all, I have 2.2 lbs of the stuff :laughing: ) But I cannot recommend this filament for a project like the project boxes that this discussion started with.

Do you print your nylon tests with the fan on? I had the same with PETG, it was looking very good but it disassebled on the first touch.
Switch off the fan like for ABS was the perfect solution for PETG, maybe also for nylon…

Thanks so much for the info everyone. It has helped a lot. I’m actually making high wattage LED enclosures, like you see on bicycle lights or spelunking headlamps. I’ve been using machined aluminum but it’s just so heavy and expensive, so I got the wild hair to experiment with plastics that can handle high heat, around 100-140°F (30-60°C). That’s what interested me in ABS, nylon, etc., and 3D printing. Can PET handle high temps after print?

PETG has a transition temperature of 70-80°C, it should be fine for your application.


I tried several fan settings including the fan turned off. A brittle print each time.

Well, I have ordered some ABS, PETG, and Nylon Bridge to experiment with. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks again for all your input and helping out another noob. If I can get good enough at this, perhaps I’ll be able to help someone out too. I’ve been doing tons of reading and research and this forum is the best I’ve found! :stuck_out_tongue: