Your Guide To ABS

ABS orange block

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene - commonly known as ABS - is one of the most popular plastics in use today. It is strong, flexible, and light-weight. ABS is incredibly easy to work with allowing you to make models, prototypes, toys, or production items. ABS is easy to cut, sand, paint, bend (using heat to soften it), and fasten together with glue or fasteners making it ideal for many projects. ABS is also easy to machine, vacuum form, injection mold, blow mold, or extrude. One limitation of ABS is that, in its natural state, it does not cope well long-term with exposure to sunlight and its UV rays. A solution to this is to introduce a UV stabilizer, one of many additives available to change the physical characteristics of a plastic. Other commonly available additives include flame-retardant and scratch resistance.


ABS is typically an opaque color, though can also be found in transparent and a variety of colors through the use of additives. An amorphous thermoplastic, ABS can be recycled an indefinite number of times by softening it using a heat process. ABS softens at approximately 221°F (105°C) so can only be used for products and applications that operate at 160F (71°C) or less.


ABS is used to make thousands of "every day" products, ranging from appliances such as vacuum cleaners and toys such as LEGO® blocks to other consumer products including camera housings, luggage, tote boxes, and many more. ABS is quite harmless to human health, doesn't incorporate any known carcinogens, and has no known adverse health effects related to exposure to ABS.