ABS

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What is ABS?

ABS, or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, is a terpolymer, meaning a combination of three polymers. ABS is a versatile, impact-resistant material that is easy to add color to and construct things with.

What is ABS used for?

ABS is commonly used for vacuum forming, 3D printing, protective equipment, hardware, and everybody’s favorite interlocking building blocks (Lego).

Where can I get ABS?

ABS can be be found at hobby shops, arts and crafts supply shops, and plastic specialty stores.

Fixturing: How do I attach ABS to the bed of my Othermill?

We recommend Scotch Permanent Double-Sided Tape for thinner sheets of material and Permacel P-02 Double-Coated Kraft Tape for thicker sheets and blocks. Avoid using hot glue, as ABS melts easily; its ability to deform under heat is what makes it useful for vacuum forming.

What endmill should I use when milling ABS?

ABS works very well at most feeds and speeds with smaller tools. With larger tools, such as 1/8" end mills, creating too much heat by going too slowly through the material at too high a spindle speed will cause shredded material to stick to the bottom of your cut.

Note: The feeds and speeds below are optimized for the V2 Othermill. If you are using an Othermill Pro or Kickstarter Othermill, you may need to experiment to find optimal settings.

Recommended Feeds and Speeds

Download The Custom Tool Library for ABS
To make it easier to use these recommended feeds and speeds, we’ve created a way for you to quickly import into our software all the settings you see listed below. To do this, first, download this file, which contains all the recommended feeds and speeds for this material. Then open our software, click File > Tool Library, click the “Import” button, and select this file. Before using these settings, it’s a good idea to read through our Feeds and Speeds Guide.

Download the Custom Tool Library here.

Note: When using a 1/8" endmill, please refer to the feeds and speeds in the Advanced section below. Slower speeds for tools larger than 1/16" are non-optimal for ABS.

Tool: 1/16" flat endmill
Feed rate: 23.622 in/min (600 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.009" (0.228 mm)

Tool: 1/32" flat endmill
Feed rate: 23.622 in/min (600 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.009" (0.228 mm)

Tool: 1/64" flat endmill
Feed rate: 23.622 in/min (600 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.009" (0.228 mm)

Tool: Engraving bit
Feed rate: 40 in/min (1000 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max Pass Depth: 0.006" (0.15 mm) Keep in mind the engraving tool has a variable width, depending on your “engraving cut depth.” The deeper the cut, the wider the tool. The shallower the cut, the narrower the tool. If you’re using an engraving tool and the generated path isn’t cutting part of your .svg file, try reducing the engraving cut depth.

Advanced Feeds and Speeds

Warning: These settings are for advanced users. Before using any of the information provided here, you must read the section above on fixturing your material. The feeds and speeds specified here are more aggressive (and thus faster and more fun), and improperly fixtured material can be knocked loose and damage itself as well as your machine.

Tool: 1/8" flat endmill
Feed rate: 59 in/min (1500 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.05" (1.27 mm)

Tool: 1/16" flat endmill
Feed rate: 50 in/min (1270 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.05" (1.27 mm)

Tool: 1/32" flat endmill
Feed rate: 40in/min (1000 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.02" (0.508 mm)

Tool: 1/64" flat endmill
Feed rate: 30 in/min (762 mm/min)
Plunge rate:1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.01" (0.254 mm)

Tool: Engraving bit
Feed rate: 59 in/min (1500 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max Pass Depth: 0.006" (0.15 mm) Keep in mind the engraving tool has a variable width, depending on your “engraving cut depth.” The deeper the cut, the wider the tool. The shallower the cut, the narrower the tool. If you’re using an engraving tool and the generated path isn’t cutting part of your .svg file, try reducing the engraving cut depth.