ABS: CNC Machining Materials Overview

Easily machinable ABS can be used both for 3D printing and CNC milling. Thanks to the multitool capabilities of ZMorph VX, you can do both using only one machine. Read more for tips & tricks on CNC machining ABS material.

CNC PRO milling toolhead, ABS sheet and two CNC machined ABS samples
CNC PRO milling toolhead and ABS samples

What is ABS?

ABS is a common thermoplastic that is known for its high impact strength, good heat resistance, and outstanding machinability. It can be used both for 3D printing and CNC milling, but in this article, we will focus on CNC machining ABS. For a guide to 3D printing, check our other piece on ABS

The properties and cost-effectiveness of ABS make this material a great choice for various prototyping applications. More on that later.

ZMorph VX with CNC PRO milling toolhead attached and ABS sample.
CNC machined ABS sample

How to CNC Machine ABS?

The robust built of ZMorph VX Multitool 3D Printers make it a great CNC milling machine for plastics like ABS. Depending on the desired outcome, you can either cut or engrave ABS sheets using CNC PRO milling toolhead. Here’s how.

ABS sheet mounted on ZMorph VX Multitool 3D Printer
ABS sheet ready to be CNC cut

Voxelizer Settings

Depending on what you want to achieve and the thickness of your ABS sheet you can safely choose between 1-15 mm/s milling speed. Don’t go in too deep because the end mill can clog, which will result in a failed project.

Workpiece Holding

For a detailed guide on workpiece holding, we’ve prepared another article. You can read it here. Proper material mounting is a crucial factor during CNC milling. If the material is loose, the work will most likely fail.

ABS material
ABS samples

You can use the basic clamps shipped with ZMorph VX Full Set for mounting ABS sheets to the CNC worktable or use a stron double-sided foam tape. 

End Mills

The end mills provided with the ZMorph VX Full Set and the CNC Fun Pack available in our store can be used for successful CNC machining ABS.

Other

For your own safety we recommend CNC milling with closed covers

ZMorph VX Multitool 3D Printer, CNC PRO milling toolhead and ABS material
ABS sheet ready to be CNC machined

ABS Applications

The widely popular ABS plastic has many applications but is mostly used in prototyping. Other favored ABS applications include casings, protective elements, and car parts. 

Samples

ABS plastic sample
Plastic cover made from ABS
ABS plastic sample
Plastic cover made from ABS

Health & Safety

ABS is a fairly safe material to use, but you need to bear in mind that when burned or melted it emits fumes that may be harmful. Always work in a well-ventilated area and if you feel dizzy or your head starts to hurt, stop your work, leave the room and grab some fresh air. 

ABS sample and ZMorph VX
ABS sample

As always we remind you to be cautious around the machine, especially if it’s turned on. Any loose pieces of clothing or long hair may get tangled into the moving parts of the machine and cause you harm. Do not touch the moving parts of the machine while it’s working.

Even More Materials for ZMorph VX

Curious about more materials compatible with ZMorph VX Multitool 3D Printers? Check our guide to 48 engineering materials in the ZMorph Materials Library.

ZMorph Materials Library

Jakub Spiryn

Content Manager at ZMorph

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