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The short version of my question is:

Are 3D printed parts made of ABS likely to survive for one year in an incubator at 80℃?

Please read on for more details.

I am printing some parts that will be used inside an incubator in a lab. They are likely to be used at 80℃ for at least a year, possibly even at higher temperatures than that. (But most likely under 100℃.)

We're currently using ABS for these parts. My question is whether 3D printed ABS will degrade under those conditions. (For example: will it become soft and slump; will it discolour; will it become brittle?) The parts clip together to form quite a big object, which is basically a rack holding a lot of glass vials, so it's important that it stays rigid.

I did find some papers on thermal degradation of ABS (for example this one looks quite comprehensive) but I don't have the experience to interpret them in terms of how my parts will behave practically. I'm also not sure if being 3D printed will make a difference.

If ABS is not suitable for this kind of application, are there other plastics that are? We're using the Zortrax M200, so our choices are the plastics listed here. I note that PCABS is listed as specifically being temperature resistant, so we might go with that - but we'd prefer ABS if it will work, since it comes in white rather than ivory (which is important for our application) and we have plenty of it available.


update: we decided in the end that using ABS is too risky, so we went with PCABS and we'll just live with the yellowish colour. (We might paint it white.) It's currently in the oven on a test run, and if it doesn't fail in a few weeks we'll take the risk of running the year-long experiment with this material. However, we would still very greatly appreciate advice from anyone who has concrete knowledge or experience of this kind of situation.

1 Answer 1

heat it up see what happens also take into consideration additional support in case it degrades its still holding up. if possible give it somekind of protective coat. someone said paint but can you add a coat of resin or ceramic?