Makerbot Replicator 2X – ABS Juice

The Makerbot Replicator 2X is a low cost ($2500) enclosed, heated bed, dual extruder, 3D printer. The enclosed chamber and heated bed allows it to handle ABS plastic, which is pretty rare right now. PLA (most common 3D printer filament) does not support much weight and does not like being outside (in high or low temperatures), so it is a no-go for robotics applications. However, ABS is prone to more nozzle clogging and warping, meaning a higher ratio of failed prints. I have created a category of posts that will go over a few things I have learned over a year on how to print perfect ABS parts.


ABS Juice20150703_095545

ABS Juice (or slurry) is just a bottle of failed prints mixed with acetone. The idea of ABS Juice is to create more adhesion between your printed part and the printer bed, this will prevent warping, however, some parts may be almost impossible to peel off. The mixture ratio I found to work best is about 2 parts acetone to 1 part ABS, just make sure the end product is still a liquid. All you need is a can of REAL acetone (not fingernail polish remover) and some polypropylene squeeze bottles, some other plastics will work as well. A great way to see if a plastic will breakdown or dissolve on contact with a chemical is this page.

Make sure the HBP (Heated build plate) is at room temperature, if the juice is applied while the HBP is hot, the acetone will vaporize causing bubbles and ruining adhesion. You now want to drip some juice on the build plate and use Q-Tips or cardboard to create a thin, slightly rough surface of ABS. It is important to cover the surface where the part will be printed, but not apply too much to cause an extruder collision or make it impossible for the part to come off. It is also important to have the kapton sheet applied to the HBP, the aluminum build plate surface will not adhere properly to the juice.


Surface of HBP after ABS Juice is applied, note a very thin and messy layer, this is what it should look like.

How it works

The ABS juice works because, on a microscopic level, the kapton sheet is very porous. When you pour the juice in its liquid state, the molecules fit into these pours, when the juice dries it has a nice hold on the sheet. When the ABS comes out of the extruder and bonds to dried juice, the forces caused by changing temperatures in the part that usually cause warping are much smaller than the force required to release the bond between the kapton and the juice. Without the juice, the ABS coming out of the extruder is too solid to sink into the pours of the kapton, so the force required to hold the part to the kapton can be lower than the forces cause by varied plastic temperatures.