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Print Responsibly: Sustainability of HIPS Filaments in 3D Printing

FilamentsWith industries shifting to a greener and more sustainable business model, it’s no surprise that 3D printing is fast becoming a popular alternative to purchasing pre-manufactured products. Not only does 3D printing produce less waste, it also allows users to create highly unique, custom designs for a variety of purposes. The design possibilities of 3D printing are endless, limited only by the imagination of the user.

Currently, scientists are working to create 3D printing materials that are cheap, durable, and easy to acquire. Not only will this entice more people to join the 3D printing community, it will also help current users become more conscious about the environment.

3D printing materials like HIPS filaments are one of the materials that are making it easier for users to be more environmentally responsible. The sustainability of materials like HIPS filaments makes 3D printing easier and more accessible to casual users.

What are HIPS Filaments?

HIPS stands for High Impact Polystyrene and is a type of thermoplastic filament used in 3D printing. This material combines polybutadiene rubber and pure polystyrene, creating a strong, durable, and malleable material for 3D printers. HIPS filaments are also non-hydroscopic, which means they don’t absorb moisture, reducing the risk of damage to the printed product. Printers can easily remove HIPS filaments with the use of a solvent called limonene.

HIPS filaments can withstand heat, making them resistant to warping during printing. This makes HIPS the perfect material for bridging or propping up ABS prints. They also have a tensile and malleable strength level that’s comparable to ABS, making them stronger and less likely to break during printing.

Are They a Viable Printing Material?

Yes. Although used primarily as a support material for items printed with ABS or PLA filaments, more and more people are starting to see the viability of HIPS as the main material for printing. Stand-alone prints that use HIPS are stronger, more durable, and less brittle than prints that use ABS or PLA.

The best way to use HIPS filaments is with a dual-extrusion printer, which will allow you to print items using ABS as the primary material, with the HIPS acting as support. These 2 materials work well together because they have similar printing temperatures. Because the HIPS filaments can be dissolved in a limonene solution after printing, there is no need for sanding, reducing the risk of damage to the newly printed item.

What Makes Them Sustainable?

HIPS filaments are highly durable, surprisingly strong, food safe, and recyclable. Unlike ABS, HIPS filaments do not release toxic fumes when heated. Printers can dissolve HIPS filaments in limonene, producing less waste than if they used other support materials.

The tensile strength of HIPS filaments is comparable to ABS. Thus, users will find that they waste fewer filaments when using HIPS. Combined with the recyclability of ABS, using HIPS filaments facilitates a greener, more environmentally responsible, 3D printing culture.

At Keene Village Plastics, we’ve always been conscious about providing 3D printing enthusiasts with safe and sustainable materials for their printing needs. We believe that, by providing people with high-quality and recyclable materials, we reduce waste and help create a culture that is focused on sustainability and creativity. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.