HIPS Filament Properties and Greatest Manufacturers

Gizmodorks hip filament

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In the field of filaments used in 3D printing, ABS and PLA are undoubtedly way ahead in terms of popularity. There are a few more options, however – maybe not that common, but useful nonetheless. One of them is the HIPS filament

The basics

HIPS stands for High Impact Polystyrene. It is a graft copolymer that combines polystyrene and polybutadiene. The result is an inexpensive plastic that combines the best of both worlds: the rigidity and toughness of polystyrene and the flexibility and shock absorption of polybutadiene. The resulting polymer has elasticity that standard polystyrene does not have. It’s stronger without being brittle, and it’s more capable of getting stronger punches without breaking, hence the “High Impact” qualifier on its name.

What is HIPS used for?

In and of itself, HIPS is an inexpensive and easy to manufacture plastic with excellent impact resistance and machinability. It is an easily malleable material with excellent dimensional stability and is easy to paint and glue. Outside of 3D printing, HIPS is used to make food containers because natural HIPS has been declared FDA compliant for food processing applications. You’ve likely seen HIPS used for hot and cold beverage mugs, refrigerator linings, computer cases, automotive instrument panels, toys, and TV parts.

In the field of 3D printing, HIPS is probably best known as an excellent carrier material. Why do you need support material? If you want to 3D print an intricate design with overhang features, you will likely need to incorporate support structures into the design. This is mainly due to the functional limitations of 3D printers that require objects to be printed in layers from the bottom up. Overhanging features therefore require supports underneath to avoid warping, warping, or collapsing.

HIPS is an excellent carrier material, especially when printing with ABS. This is due to the ability of HIPS to easily dissolve in limonene, a readily available solvent that is extracted from the skin of lemons. A print made of ABS with support structures made of HIPS only needs to be soaked around the clock so that the support structures can completely dissolve – knives, grinding or scraping are not required. The result is smoother, flawless print without much manual labor.

Why do the HIPS work best with ABS? This is because the printing temperatures of HIPS and ABS are almost identical. This means there is no risk of either deforming due to temperature differences.

HIPS and ABS also have very similar physical properties, which also makes HIPS a great material for 3D printing on its own. In terms of density, tensile strength and hardness, HIPS stands shoulder to shoulder with ABS. This means that a HIPS filament is a perfect material for 3D printing when you need a soluble product that can be easily sanded, machined, painted and glued.

How do you work with HIPS?

HIPS prints best in a temperature range of 230 to 240 ° C. If the nozzle temperature is too low, the HIPS filament will not liquefy properly and result in under-extrusion. Next, the temperature of the print bed should be kept in the range of 90 to 110 ° C. To ensure that the HIPS adheres to the print bed, the use of Kapton tape or a Kapton spray is recommended.

HIPS can be used at high print speeds of up to 70 mm / s. However, the best results are obtained at low speeds (less than 40 mm / s). This is especially important when printing designs with intricate details.

After the print job, you need to let the print cool down completely. A 3D print made with HIPS is very prone to warping if it has not cooled down completely. We recommend keeping the fan at low speed or even turning it off completely. Gradual cooling reduces the risk of warping in the product.

If you are using HIPS as the substrate, all you need to do is soak the print completely in lime for at least 24 hours. The dissolution process can be accelerated by occasionally shaking the container gently.

What are the disadvantages of working with HIPS?

As mentioned earlier, HIPS is an excellent substrate choice when working with ABS. How about working with PLA? PLA has a much lower printing temperature than HIPS, which makes it very incompatible. We recommend polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) as an alternative carrier material for PLA prints, as these have similar printing temperatures. PVA dissolves easily in water.

Using HIPS as a filament material for printing also poses some challenges. As mentioned earlier, HIPS works best with a heated print bed to avoid warping. It has also been suggested to use a heated chamber when working with HIPS. These requirements in connection with the high printing temperature of HIPS make working with HIPS an energy-intensive process. HIPS also gives off a slight odor due to the release of styrene. We therefore recommend printing in a well-ventilated room.

What is the best brand for HIPS filaments?

HIPS has grown in popularity as it is a viable alternative to the more common PLA and ABS. Many manufacturers have faithfully released their own HIPS filament products.

The HIPS filaments sold by GizmoDorks are currently some of the best-selling. They are available in sizes 1.75mm and 3mm and can be purchased in 1kg spools.


Matter hacker hip stuff

MatterHackers also has its own HIPS filament products, which are also available in 1.75mm and 3mm sizes. Their products are available in black or white and can be bought in 1kg spools.


Hips white filament

FormFutura offers two types of HIPS filament products. Their LimoSolve line is natural (white) in color and does not contain any additives. Therefore it is particularly suitable for dissolving in limes. Their line of EasyFil is sold to those who want to use HIPS as a building material. It’s a little softer and more flexible than standard HIPS filaments, resulting in products that are more durable and impact-resistant. Your EasyFil filaments are available in white, black, gray, red and dark blue.


Black hips 3D printing material

After all, the eSun HIPS filament products sold on the Lulzbot online store probably have the greatest variety of colors. The filaments are only available in 3 mm sizes and 1 kg spools, but have a dazzling selection of 14 colors. This strain is perfect if you want to make prints that are 100% HIPS.


The abstract

material High impact polystyrene (HIPS)
Applications – Primarily as a carrier material for ABS builds

– Can also be used alone

characteristics – Stronger than standard polystyrene

– Durable but flexible

– Has high impact resistance

– Light

– Waterproof

Dissolves into Lime solvent
Recommended printing temperature 230 to 240 ° C.
Recommended bed temperature 90 to 110 ° C.
Bed liability Kapton tape or Kapton spray
speed Up to 70 mm / s, but recommended speeds are 40 mm / s or less
cooling Fan is not recommended, but can be used at low speed

HIPS has become increasingly popular as an excellent carrier material for prints with ABS, but it has also grown in popularity as a stand-alone filament material. Prints made from HIPS are strong and flexible, durable without being brittle, and have excellent impact resistance. If you’re looking for a new dimension in 3D printing, we recommend playing around with HIPS. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Warning; 3D printers should never be left unattended. They can pose a fire hazard.

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