3D printing material

Hello All

I notice in the printing guidelines for the stage that printing with PLA is mentioned. However, our local 3D printer uses production-grade ABS as the printing material. In your opinion, would this material provide sufficient precision for the stage?

Thank you,
-Amiel Beausoleil-Morrison

I don’t think ABS is recommended. The flexures depend on some really specific material properties, and ABS also has significant warping issues.

PLA is the most common material for 3D printing and works well. If you want to try prints from your printer, the leg test from test your printer will tell you a lot. Does it print without warping? do the bridges work? does it flex side to side as required?
The other small-ish part that you could test is the upright z-actuator from the upright version of the microscope. This is a complete actuator and basically contains all of the difficult printing processes. You could even assemble it with the knob or gear and hardware to test whether it is too stiff and how it holds up to repeated movement.

The main reason we don’t recommend ABS is that it’s harder to print with: I have no reason to believe that an ABS microscope wouldn’t work well, it’s just that PLA works nicely and prints much more reliably, so I have always stuck with that. If you are happy taking the slight risk that it won’t work as well, by all means do get one printed in ABS. I would be very interested to hear how you get on!

At some point, a community comparison of different print materials could be a really interesting thing to do, perhaps as William says using a relevant test object, like the leg.