A popular material used by FATHOM 3D printing service customers is FDM-based ASA—ideal for producing consistently high-quality parts with UV stability and great aesthetics. We originally posted about ASA when the Stratasys material was released in 2015 and it has increasingly become one of the most popular all-purpose materials for 3D printing durable parts (prototyping and production parts).
Matching or exceeding the mechanical properties of ABS, ASA may be your new favorite general prototyping material, too. Its UV-resistance makes it especially suited for end-use parts in outdoor commercial and infrastructure applications, and its wide selection of colors and matte finish make it ideal for creating attractive parts. Consider this material for many applications including consumer goods, tools, and automotive components or accessories.
In this featured blog post, FATHOM experts answer your most frequently asked questions about this durable material option available from FATHOM as part of our 3D printing and additive manufacturing services // View Data Sheet for ASA
What is ASA and what are the benefits?
ASA (acrylonitrile styrene acrylate) is a UV-stable thermoplastic that BASF developed to improve the weather resistance of thermoplastics similar to ABS. It is chemically and mechanically similar to ABS.
ASA offers three primary benefits for general prototyping and end-use part applications //
- Parts resist fading during prolonged UV exposure and will not suffer significant mechanical property degradation from prolonged UV exposure
- Achieve better aesthetics—nice matte finish and great build quality
- Enhanced strength, flexibility, and thermal resistance versus ABS
Which applications and industries are a good fit for ASA?
Because of ASA’s excellent combination of mechanical properties and part quality, ASA will become the material of choice for general prototyping applications (concept models, early prototyping and functional prototyping). In addition, ASA’s unique UV stability make it ideal for applications requiring significant UV exposure or require long-term durability and weather resistance. Key industries include automotive, outdoor goods, sporting goods, construction materials, recreational vehicles, and electronics.
No matter the industry, ASA parts can be post-processed in a variety of ways. Parts can be bonded with a variety of cyanoacrylates (super glues), epoxies, and polyurethanes just as with ABS. Depending on geometry and feature size, ASA parts can be smoothed, sanded, tumbled, and painted, too. Talk with an application engineer at FATHOM if you’d like to learn more about FATHOM’s model finishing options.
What should I expect for pricing and lead-time?
ASA is a standard material option at FATHOM and is available in white or black with a three to four day lead-time. Pricing is similar to other popular FATHOM materials we offer such as ABSplus and ABS (other standard options include PC, PC-ABS, and Nylon12). Expedite options are available—the FATHOM team can “Make It Happen” as a same-day order or we’ll “Hustle” to get it to you next-day. Speak with a FATHOM expert to learn more about accelerated lead-times or other FDM materials we offer including Nylon 12CF, PC-ISO, Ultem, PPSF, and more. Submit 3D CAD files today and get a quote for FATHOM’s 3D printing services.
How does ASA compare with other FDM materials?
ASA can be compared to ABS M30, for example. The elongation at break point is 9% for ASA versus 7% for ABS M30. To learn more about this comparison, please review the “ASA Versus ABS—How To Choose” PDF below for download. Also, it’s important to note that that ASA bridges better than ABS, so it’s possible to 3D print with a sparser infill to save on cost, build time, and weight.
I purchased an FDM-based 3D printing system from FATHOM and want to use ASA in-house—will I need a software upgrade?
ASA is available on the Fortus 360mc, 400mc, and 900mc. Customers must purchase a material option to run ASA; no hardware upgrade is necessary.
What tips/slice heights can be used?
Options include 0.330mm (0.013”) T20 tip, .254mm (0.010”) T16 tip, 0.178mm (0.007”) T12 tip, and 0.127mm (0.005”) T10 tip.
Yes, canisters are available for purchase through our online store. Machine owners can also purchase consumables like modeling bases, print head tips, brushes, wipers, replacement kits, and much more // View Materials // View Consumables
What support material will ASA use and are there any process changes when building and post-processing ASA?
ASA works with SR-30 soluble support material, just like ABS. ASA doesn’t require any process changes or post-processing compared with ABS. They both use the same SR-30 soluble support material and require the same support removal processing.