How to Prevent ABS from Warping on a Heated Bed

Warping is a common FDM 3D printing phenomenon where the edges and corners of 3D prints begin curling off the print surface. Warping can singlehandedly ruin otherwise perfect prints, rendering them deformed and dimensionally inaccurate. 

The problem is caused by thermal contraction, as demonstrated in the diagram above. As the extruded plastic cools, it contracts. The first layer of the 3D print, however, is adhered to the build surface, which doesn’t allow it to contract with the rest of the model. Instead, the forces begin to bend the bottom of the print upwards. 

ABS suffers heavily from this, as it remains solid up to around 100 °C. This means that the extruded plastic quickly solidifies, leaving it vulnerable to warping forces (as opposed to being malleable). 

To combat ABS warping, you will need to reduce these contracting forces and keep the first layer firmly stuck to the print surface. In our general warping guide, we cover basic tips that can be used for a variety of filaments. Here, however, we’ll focus on ABS.

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