Cooling fan speed, together with bed temperature and nozzle temperature, is one of the main factors that decide the temperature of the plastic, making it a parameter that can singlehandedly change whether a 3D printed model will be a successful one or not.
On the other hand, unlike bed temperature and nozzle temperature, which usually have concrete values suggested by the manufacturer for each brand and type of filament, cooling is a parameter that requires tuning on a case-by-case basis, making it slightly tricky to get right.
In this article, our discussion will be on the cooling requirements of printing models for distinct purposes with ASA filament, a vital parameter to optimize for printing a model without any defects that may appear due to undesirable shifts in temperature.
So, how much cooling does ASA require for an optimal 3D printing process?
ASA is not a type of filament that requires cooling during the 3D printing process, which makes reducing the cooling fan speed to 0% the optimal choice.
While it can be helpful to apply a slight amount of cooling for printing overhangs, using too much cooling will negatively affect ASA by causing it to solidify too quickly and cause your model to have poor layer adhesion.
Moving forward, we will take a deeper look into how much cooling printing with ASA requires, find out how different levels of cooling impact the printing process, and take a glance at some of the common signs that you may be applying too much or too little cooling.
How Much Cooling (Fan Speed) Does ASA Require?
Since the optimal cooling fan speed value shows a considerable degree of variance depending on the scenario, it’s impossible to find a magic number that will deliver optimal results for 3D printed models of distinct purposes.
Due to ASA being a type of filament that can naturally cool down without deformation, it does not require any cooling during the 3D printing process, meaning that you can pull the fan speed value to 0% and print ASA without any issues.
In fact, using too much cooling while printing ASA will affect it negatively, causing the plastic to cool down way too quickly before the layers can firmly adhere to each other, resulting in poor layer adhesion and layer delamination in more severe cases.
On the other hand, the one exception to the rule of not using cooling for printing ASA is printing bridges and overhangs, where the optimal cooling fan speed value shows a slight difference.
For printing bridges and overhangs, we recommend using a fan speed value that can be anywhere between 10% and 50%, depending on the amount of cooling required to keep these structures from crumbling without introducing layer adhesion problems either.
As a result, we recommend starting at the lower end of the range, which is 10%, and increasing the fan speed value in increments of 5% through a series of test prints until you strike the perfect balance where you can print the overhangs and bridges without problems.
How Does Cooling (Fan Speed) Affect Printing with ASA?
Since cooling directly affects the temperature of the ASA after it exits the nozzle and makes contact with the build plate, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it’s a parameter that has as much weight as nozzle and bed temperatures for the surface resolution and the layer adhesion properties of the model.
When it comes to surface resolution, there is no denying that applying just the right amount of cooling to solidify the plastic in its place before it deforms is always advantageous, increasing the surface quality of the model regardless of the filament you’re using.
Despite ASA not requiring any cooling for a successful printing process that produces a model with both high durability and surface quality, fine-tuning the cooling by experimenting it minimal amounts of cooling can allow you to increase surface quality without causing layer adhesion problems.
On the other hand, the layer adhesion strength sits on the opposite side of the spectrum compared to surface quality, where increased cooling fan speeds reduce the layer adhesion strength drastically, especially in the case of ASA.
Because of this, the usage of too much cooling while printing with ASA to increase the surface quality is usually not a great idea, as you can quickly find yourself in a situation where the plastic cools down way too rapidly and compromises your model’s structural integrity.
Signs of Too Much Cooling on Printing with ASA Filament
As ASA is a type of filament that does not require a whole lot of cooling, applying more cooling than necessary won’t do any good to the printing process and, in fact, prove to be harmful.
Below, we have listed the symptoms you may observe as a result of applying too much cooling to ASA during the printing process:
- Poor layer adhesion, and as a result, layer delamination in more severe cases
- Low physical durability and strength, leading to the cracking or the breaking of the model
- Warping during the first layers of the printing process
- Fragile bridges and overhangs that can break off with barely any physical force
It is no secret that unexpected and rapid changes in temperature cause various issues for the 3D printing process, specifically in terms of adhesion, regardless of the filament you use, making it paramount to configure the cooling fan speed as best as possible.
To quickly recap, using a cooling fan speed value of 0 percent is perfectly suitable for printing with ASA filament, as this will give the layers enough time to naturally cool down and form strong bonds with each other without any drooping or warping issues due to the natural properties of ASA.
On the other hand, as with any other filament, slightly increasing the cooling fan speed for bridges and overhangs will often be necessary, as these structures may require a little help in reaching their solid states before they start deforming due to the lack of support underneath them.