High impact polystyrene, or HIPS, is a material blend of polystyrene and rubber. Because it dissolves in limonene solution, it’s often used for support material, eliminating the need for removal via abrasives, cutting tools, or any other such things that leave your print less-than-perfect.
Limonene is a solution made with lemon peels and is easily obtained. Unfortunately, this limits you to using it for supporting ABS prints, as other materials are damaged by the limonene.
HIPS is very similar to ABS, in fact it’s actually stronger. As such, apart from being used as a support material, it is also very capable and useful as its own material. HIPS is easily painted, machineable, and works with a large number of adhesives. It’s also food safe, non-toxic, fully recyclable, and non-hydroscopic, meaning it won’t degrade in humid environments.
One rather unfortunate quality that HIPS shares with ABS is fumes. While printing, HIPS will release small amounts of styrene into the atmosphere. Therefore, you should have your printer in a well-ventilated area while utilizing this material.
HIPS filament is generally printed with a nozzle temperature between 220°C and 240°C, and a bed temperature between 90°C and 110°C. This means some machines will have trouble with bed adhesion, as the high bed temperatures are harder to reach and maintain.
In the following, we present and describe a number of brands offering HIPS.
Rigid.Ink is arguably one of the best filament manufacturers on the market. And their HIPS filament boasts the same print-and-go reliability as all of the rest of their materials. It has a shore hardness of R95, which is higher than that of ABS, and a tensile strength of 5810 psi, again comparable to their ABS.
Recommended settings are between 230 and 240 °C on the nozzle and from 90 to 100 °C on the print bed.
MatterHackers is another 3D printing favorite, based in California. Their HIPS filament, like all of their other products, is guaranteed to be of high quality, and comes in either black or natural white.
Recommended print settings are an extrusion temperature of 220 to 240 °C and a bed temperature between 90 and 110 °C.
Fillamentum, a Czech-based filament manufacturer, also offers a quality HIPS filament. Their HIPS is advertised as being both mechanically sound and food-safe.
Recommended print settings are a nozzle temperature between 230 and 250 °C, with a bed temp between 90 and 100 °C.
To purchase Fillamentum’s HIPS Extrafill, head on over to their website
Monoprice, the manufacturer of many popular 3D printers, also offers their own version of HIPS filament. They advertise an accuracy of ±0.10 mm, and a tolerance of ±0.03 mm.
They have a recommended processing temperature of around 230 °C, and no recommended bed temperature (although you will need a heated bed capable of at least ABS temperatures).
A leading manufacturer of high-end 3D printers, Zortrax also offers their high-quality Z-HIPS. They advertise a tensile strength of 2450 psi, and a shore hardness of 73.2 D. They also offer their Z-HIPS in a variety of colors.
There are no recommended print settings available for Z-HIPS filament.
It’s safe to say HIPS is probably one of the most underrated filaments around, often disregarded as simply being another support material.
We’ve come to realize that HIPS is so much more than that, with mechanical properties that surpass PLA and rival ABS. And then there’s the nice bonus of being food-safe and recyclable.
Of course, if you need a way to support a complex ABS print, there’s no better solution than a nice reel of HIPS filament and a dual extruder.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and give HIPS a try for yourself!
License: The text of "HIPS Filament – Explained and Compared" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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