Flexibility is perhaps one of the best things about 3D printing, as the wide selection of filaments that offer different qualities allow us to go much further than only printing figurines and decorative pieces and manufacture almost anything that crosses our imagination in the comfort of our own homes.
On the flip side, the flexibility that comes with distinct filament types does complicate things a bit, as each filament type having a different set of characteristics also means that they come with varying sets of requirements for the printing process to be successful.
In this article, we will discuss how well the Ender 5 and ABS filament work together, in particular, and determine whether the stock Ender 5 is a suitable 3D printer for printing ABS filament without needing any modifications.
So, can you print ABS filament with your Ender 5 3D printer?
While it’s possible to achieve some success printing ABS filament with the stock Ender 5, the high print temperature requirement of ABS and the open-frame nature of the Ender 5 can cause quality issues as you will be limited in the temperatures you can use and have no protection against drafts.
In the upcoming sections, we will dive deeper into the compatibility between ABS filament and the Ender 5, find out the optimal ABS settings for usage with the Ender 5, and finally, go through the process of explicitly configuring TPU settings for Ender 5 in Cura.
Can You Print ABS Filament with the Ender 5 (Pro/Plus)?
Since each filament has different requirements for a successful printing process, it’s critical to ensure that your 3D printer can fulfill the necessary conditions before purchasing and using a particular type of filament for the first time.
Technically speaking, while the stock Ender 5 is capable of printing ABS filament since its hotend and heated bed both can reach the temperatures that ABS requires for the printing process to be successful, printing ABS with a stock Ender 5 may not yield a high-quality final product.
The first reason behind a potential lack of quality is the temperature limitation. While the average temperature range for printing ABS is around 220°C-260°C, the stock hotend of the Ender 5 can only go up to the 230°C-240°C range, making it impossible to utilize the higher temperature values if necessary.
Even though the heating block of the Ender 5 can technically surpass 260°C, the fact that the stock hotend of the Ender 5 is PTFE-lined becomes the limiting factor, as the PTFE lining inside the hotend cannot tolerate such high temperatures, and pushing it to such temperatures can create considerable safety risks.
The second reason behind a potential lack of quality is the open-frame nature of the Ender 5. The lack of an enclosure exposes the print to the adverse effects of cold air drafts, which is specifically an issue for ABS as it’s very prone to cooling down and solidifying quicker than optimal, which is why ABS is usually printed even without part cooling.
When the ABS ends up cooling down too quickly, the adhesion between the layers will become way weaker than optimal, creating issues such as layer delamination, where the layers entirely separate from one another, and proneness to physical damage, such as cracking.
What Are the Optimal ABS Settings for the Ender 5 (Pro/Plus)?
Achieving a successful print with a particular type of filament doesn’t end with the 3D printer being capable of printing with it, as correctly configuring the print settings is just as crucial for the printing process to yield a successful result and produce a high-quality model.
Below are the optimal Ender 5 settings that we recommend using while printing with ABS filament:
- Print Temperature – 220 to 260 degrees Celsius
- Bed Temperature – 80 to 120 degrees Celsius
- Travel Speed – 150 mm/s
- Print Speed – 50 to 100 millimeters per second
- Layer Height – 0.24 mm (for a 0.4 mm nozzle)
- Initial Layer – Height: 0.28 mm | Temperature – 225-265 degrees Celsius
- Retraction – Distance – 4.5 mm | Speed – 40 mm/s
- Cooling Fan – Off. Minimal cooling for overhangs, bridges, and small layers (20-30%)
How to Configure ABS-Specific Settings for the Ender 5 (Pro/Plus) in Cura?
Since the task of correctly configuring slicer settings for a particular type of filament is a task that requires a decent amount of research and trial and error, saving the settings after the process is over is the best way to ensure that you don’t lose them and can access them whenever necessary.
Below, you can find a step-by-step guide for configuring ABS-specific settings for your Ender 5 in Cura:
- Go to the Prepare tab in Cura.
- Click the pane in the middle to bring up Material settings.
- Click the Material dropdown menu.
- Hover over the Generic entry, and choose ABS from the list.
- Click the right pane to switch to the print settings.
- Click the Custom button if visible. Else, skip this step.
- Click the dropdown menu labeled Profile, and select one of the default profiles you would like to use as the foundation for the custom profile you will be creating.
- Apply the ABS-specific configuration through the Print Settings dialog.
- Click the Profile dropdown, and choose the “Create profile from current settings/overrides…” entry.
- Input the name you want to give to the profile, and click OK.
Confirming that your 3D printer is compatible with the filament you’re planning on using is the first step we recommend taking before even purchasing the filament spool, as your time and money would go to waste if your 3D printer cannot fulfill the conditions required for that particular filament.
To quickly recap, while it may be challenging to obtain the highest-quality ABS print possible with the Ender 5 due to the lack of an all-metal hotend and an enclosure, it’s entirely possible to achieve an acceptable level of success in scenarios where the appropriate conditions are satisfied.
Printing with particular ABS filaments that can produce optimal results at the lower end of the temperature range and protecting your prints from drafts by setting your 3D printer up in a closed area, or using features such as Cura’s draft shield, are some of the things that you can do to improve the quality when printing ABS with the stock Ender 5.