Is there a real ABS-like resin on the way?

Unlike 99% of Form 2 owners I use my machine for low volume manufacturing of end use parts in the automotive industry. I use FDM technology for structural stuff but for “customer facing” components where appearance and precision is paramount, I try to use the SLA. I fully understand that SLA is not aimed at end use manufacturing however I’m sure that suitable materials will become available like they did with FDM which was initially only used for rapid prototyping. So call me an early adopter, a very early one.
What I really need is a material with properties as close as possible to ABS, preferably opaque black. Tough resin is great but it’s HD temperature is too low for practical use. If only that was 60C higher like ABS!! Black resin prints great but is unfortunately way too brittle. So is Grey Pro and Rigid. High temp is almost like glass.
With “too brittle” I mean the part will break (or a part of it will break off) when dropped on a concrete floor, unlike an equivalent ABS part. Not small parts of course which can take some hammering but the bulkier a part gets the weaker it becomes - drop-test wise.
Formlabs will probably not reveal what they are working on but even a “watch this space” response will mean a lot to me. I don’t think I’m the only one with this requirement.


It’s not just that it is brittle, it gets more brittle over time. My company, like yours, uses the Form 2 for prototypes. I have used it a lot for prototypes of parts that we will get molded out of Acetal. It is great for that, but the parts themselves are just not durable to use for anything else. Another drawback is the supports contacting and leaving makes on the print. I don’t see anyway around that with the SLA.
So, a resin that could be used for an actual production part would be awesome!

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My company also uses this printer for end use parts that go to automotive plants and a black ABS like material would be extremely valuable to us.

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I would say that durable is your best bet here. It more simulates polypropylene than ABS, though at the end of the day it’s still an acrylate-based photopolymer. I’ve seen durable used for several end-use parts before with decent success.

If someone could come up with a UL V0 material they’d make a fortune… FDM or SLS.

When I need to make a bunch of reasonably functional parts I print molds and cast in polyurethane.

Polyurethanes have a much higher HDT and can be reasonably cheap. Production times are about 20 to 25 minutes per mold.


FredB, we do make molds and cast parts but in many cases our designs are one-off and very complex in which case we just print it outright. That’s where it would be great to have a material similar to ABS.

CraigBroady I have looked at the properties of Durable but from what I can see it has even a lower HD temperature than Tough. Do I understand it correctly?

ScottBarbour what you say about the material becoming even more brittle over time worries me. I’ve read several posts where FL said that the properties don’t change over time. This contradicting view doesn’t bode well for items that need to last years and years. Granted, we don’t use SLA for load bearing or structural stuff but even cosmetic bits have to endure a bit of abuse from time to time.

durable is the resin to try.

its impact tolerance is very high, it can deform without breaking. It handles abrasion pretty well.

I wonder if anyone has tried the formlabs Color kit on Durable?

Also- the new Ceramic resin can be used to print smaller parts that need to take extremely high temps and be durable outdoors.

Ceramic resin is essentially powdered clay mixed in a photoresin binder where the resin binder can be burned out gradually- allowing the clay powder to vitrify at high fire.

I am wondering if a resin could be formulated that does a similar trick for otherwise thermoplastic materials like ABS or Nylon?

Any way mix a finely powdered ABS in with a resin binder that can be burned out at the structuring temperature of ABS?

Or- even, suspend a heat activated epoxy material that you print at room temp and then harden by heating to the activation temperature of the expoxy?

You’re correct about the HDT—on par but a little bit lower than touch. What are you looking to make? I’ve found that if you use durable with thick enough walls (roughly thicker than 5mm) it’s quite robust.

CraigBroady the two things I’m working on a the moment:

A custom indicator stalk for a racing car. It needs to be extremely rigid and not brittle for obvious reasons, and maintain its shape when the car stands in the sun (50-60 degrees inside the cabin sometimes)

Bespoke cabin air vents for the same car, in other words thin slats that will have to maintain their shape in the sun but also when the heater is on and be moved up and down and sideways and have to withstand some abuse as these things tend do endure from time to time.

It’s a very high end car so I’d love to use SLA because of the finish quality. All of this falls well within ABS territory, so I’m hoping that we’ll see this type of resin in the future.

To confirm - yes we can cast some of this and we do but where it’s one off and quite intricate, printing it directly for end use would have been great.

Have you considered Rigid resin? The HDT is 88 C which would be a pretty good fit for a hot car.

themedulla, Rigid resin would gave been fantastic and I actually pinned my hopes on it early on but the parts don’t survive a drop test, which is a prerequisite for end user parts. The end result is just too brittle to pass quality control.

I appreciate all the input so far but I’ve looked at all the materials and none of them have all the following properties that we require:

  • Rigid
  • High HDT
  • Impact strength

Hence my question, can we expect to see such a material soon.

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This won’t be officially condoned, but in the early days of V1 Tough (which seemed more “droopy” than the latest stuff) I think some people reported success mixing a portion of Tough (or Flex) into Standard resin to make the latter a bit less brittle. You can search the forums (I think “resin alchemy” was one thread). It won’t check all your boxes but if you’re into experimenting and just want to trade off a bit of rigidity for improved impact resistance it might be worth a shot.

I too would love to see a material that’s as rigid as Standard, crack-resistant as Durable, and still has a decent HDT.

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rkagerer, thanks this is an interesting option which I’ll investigate.

It might be interesting to mix rigid and tough - adding 20% Tough might get you the properties you are looking for.

Rigid and high impact would do for me!!! It seems you can have any one of a range of characteristics, but not a bunch of them…

What are you using to cure your prints, a Form Cure? It seems you really need the heat + 405 nm uv light to be right to get the best material properties possible.

I use Form Wash and Form Cure at the prescribed settings for each resin which I’m hoping makes it as strong as it could be, just not nearly strong enough for end use products I’m afraid.

I have been using CureBox from wicked Engineering.

When I need functional parts I print a mold and cast in epoxy or polyurethane. No printed part short of laser sintering will be shatter resistant with the current materials. Some are better than others but if you plot ABS values on the materials chart it blows away the printed materials for impact strength.