Sabic CYCOLAC™ Resin MG47F extrusion, coloring and 3D printing (2024)

I bought my very first 25kg bag of raw ABS plastic pellets in 2020, it was a Sabic MG47, the only brand that I found in the market, I was very happy and imagining my self making tons of 3D printing filament at home using my Filastruder, selling rolls at half price, to discover lots surprises later.

Sabic Cycolac MG-47

Before buying, I did a little search online to see what others are saying about this exact plastic product, I couldn't find anything except these two experiments (one at Solifoum from miglo user, and the second from haveblue.org) with varying opinions and outcomes, I posted a question in Soliforum and a user confirmed saying it is slow to extrude because of the low melt flow rate.

Although MG47 is described in the data sheet  as "Multi-purpose, injection molding ABS providing a favorable balance of engineering properties, FDA compliant" and theoretically it is suitable for 3D printing, a quick data sheet comparison between MG47 vs MG94 shows that indeed its Melt Flow Rate is about the half compared to MG94 (Melt Flow Rate, 230°C/3.8 kg (ASTM D1238) : 5.6 g/10 min VS 11.7 g/10 min)

I was not convinced by the numbers, I wanted to see with my bare eyes to believe and I was like: no I can do better, ha! (Dunning-Kruger effect).

The Extrusion :

3mm Filament: 

I tried to extrude 3mm filament first because my printers hot-ends used that diameter, to find that it's very difficult to do it, it was impossible to make without Filawinder, I quickly forgot about it and moved to the 1.75mm diameter filament, I had to buy new hot-ends and mod my printers. 

3mm ABS filament Extrusion

1.75mm Filament: 

The extrusion went well, preheated the Filastruder to 180° degrees C and waited for like 15 minutes, turned the motor on, I was able to to make a few meters to test 3D printing, the extrusion was horribly and ridiculously very slow (around 24 hours / kg), so I tried to increase the temperature to see if it can do better, here are the results : 

Temperature in Degree C
 Extrusion Rate  Meters/Hour 
Filament Diameter mm
190° 13.5 1.65 to 1.72mm
195° 15.5 1.64 to 1.70 mm
200° 16
1.60 to 1.72mm

1.75mm ABS filament Extrusion

In other words at this rate we are far from the average 5-8 hours per kilogram mark, even at 200° degrees C it would take around 18 hours to make 1kg of filament, which is approx ~8 inch/minute, close to what the user miglo@Soliforum mentioned in his experiment for The black MG-47.

3D Printing Test :

Before the 3D print test, while feeding the filament I noticed it's very tough to a point that when I push it by hand or send extrude G-code command to extrude a few millimeters, the line width is thinner and not what it is supposed to be, it's too hard that it does not ooze at all when the hot-end is idle, and makes you believe the nozzle is clogged.
 
Printing at 225°-235° degrees C,  I wanted something that works with the default settings,  I did not want to lower the print speed, increase the print temperature or extrusion multiplier / flow rate, as it was not worth experimenting or solving chicken-egg problems at that stage.

Sabic MG47 filament 3D print test
  • Print Quality: Poor, average or may be acceptable for small parts especially when the filament is dry and newly extruded, but the print feels weird, brittle, layer to layer adhesion does not seem OK.
  • Extrusion: very hard to extrude, line width is thinner than what it is supposed to be, problems appear in infills, thin walls, overhangs and supports, although the perimeters print fine because the speed is lower and there two perimeters (inner and outer), infills and supports may require lowering the printing speed and increasing the temperature, but as I said that's not what was looking for.
  • Warping: like if you are 3D printing with a pre-stressed material, it warps a lot and the finished 3d print changes shape and looks deformed.
  • De-lamination: happens a lot with big parts and thin walls as consequence to what I mentioned earlier; bad/difficult the extrusion (because of the low melt flow rate), bad layer to layer adhesion.
  • Bed Adhesion: Difficult to stick to bed, it was difficult to make it stick on aluminum, I had to go through everything trying Kapton tape, ABS slurry to finish by the finding the ultimate solution to make this stubborn filament stick on anything. 
Sabic MG47 filament 3D print test

I stopped extruding and forgot about everything, I was disappointed as it takes an eternity to make 1kg of filament, and the filament does not print as I expected and I am not looking to solve problems I want something that prints.

This is a complete catastrophe

Then one day a miracle happened...

Coloring the MG-47 ABS filament :

I was not expecting this to happen at all, out of curiosity I was interested to make my own ABS colorant just to see a different color other than the natural white ABS color.

Making ABS colorant (masterbatch) relies on Acetone to dissolve the plastic pellets into liquid to be mixed with paint pigment, the mixture to be dried shredded into powder or granulates then mixed with raw ABS in the extruder, the coloring process will be explained in detail in the next article. 

Honeywell Acetone bottle

So I discover, that the coloring process and the mixing ratio between raw ABS pellets and colorant affects the plastic proprieties, it increases the flow rate, which in return increases the extrusion speed rates and makes the filament easier to produce and easier to print 3D print with.

I was able to make 1 kg of filament in around 15 hours or less at 190° degrees C, with acceptable and uniform filament diameter tolerances, which is great compared to 24 hours/kg for raw ABS material.

Filament Diameter Tolerance

3D Printing Test After Dying the Filament:

I repeat the same test with the same settings, feed the filament into the hot-end and when I manually push or the send extrusion command it looks fine, thicker, smoother and requires less pressure and looks easy to extrude, I knew I was on the right track, launched a print to be amazed by the results!

First 3D print test with colored ABS filament
  • Print Quality: incredibly unbelievable, it's comparable to commercial filaments and even better! smooth surface, at 0,12mm layer height I can barely see the layers lines, no stringing blobbing or oozing during print or when the hot-end is idle.
  • Extrusion: smooth and easy extrusion without any noticeable resistance, the filament consistency is about right, the flow rate increased compared to the raw ABS filament, infills supports and perimeters, all print fine using the default settings with no signs of under-extrusion.
  • Warping: happens rarely and only on mega large prints, I had to use glue, rafts and brims to print, to print at 15% infill max, anything greater will cause problems.
  • De-lamination: did not see it in any print.
  • Bed Adhesion: better than the previous test, but still require more care 90° degree C heat-bed temp, quality adhesive, raft and brim.

Although I never used any commercial filament except from PLA, I was surprised to see for the first time a home made ABS filament that extrudes prints and performs well without warping, blobs stringing or oozing, without de-lamination, sticks well to bed with very easy to remove supports. 

I have made ABS filament at home

Filament proprieties change:

I noticed that the filament proprieties change depending on the color I use, this is due to the diluted ABS and the dye/colorant composition, each color gives the different filament proprieties and quality, here are a few comments on each color I used:

  • Red: the best, used it to print many figurines and miniatures, never seen supports that go away in a single simple push, they easily tear away like an accordion.
Red Color filament 3D Print Test
  • Yellow: Same quality as the red color or may even be better, I put this guy in the second position because the supports are harder to remove using the same settings. 
Yellow Color filament 3D Print Test

  • Black / Dark Grey : used it to print Prusa i3 parts for a printer that I'm building, it prints well and feels solid lighter with no warp even on a raft, I had to add more dye/colorant (30% ratio or more) to achieve pure Black color.
Dark Grey Color filament 3D Print Test

Light pink, Blue And green :  they tend absorb less humidity, they print well with little cracking problems on large prints and hard supports.

I tested other colors and they were a little blobby, showed de-lamination cracks and other issues, I will try to experiment more with colors and try to investigate and do research about colorant composition, and share more in the next articles.

Testing my home made ABS with a Large nozzle:

I tested 3D printing (models from Eastman@Cults3D) with a large 0.6mm nozzle at 0.20mm layer height, and the results were perfect.

Winding The filament :

At 48 to 56 inches height level the filament will follow the gravity and will automatically roll around itself when it touches the ground, so even without any equipment to wind the filament, one can start the extruder and let it do the job.

Source: Filastruder.com

There are multiple ways to wind the filament, using an machine like the Filawinder, a drill or 3D printed mechanism to spool and re-spool filament, I just roll em by hand and it wont take more than 10 minutes to do it, they won't tangle neither when I spool them nor during 3D print, but this remains another challenge to find cheap and easy way to wind the filament during or after the extrusion is finished.

Filament manual widing spool

Drying The Filament :

Nearly all types of 3D printing filaments are sensitive to moisture and need to be dried and kept dry esp ABS filament, otherwise they become brittle the next day, will break and the print quality / surface finish will drastically decrease. 

There are cheap filament dryers like the Sunlu filament dryer (use OJWXVF9NE1 discount code), others people prefer to mod and use food dehydrators (Amzn Aff link), there are tricks to quickly dry your filament for free using your 3D printer, for my case I just hang them next to the gas stove in winter, and in summer I leave the pilot light on, it is sufficient to keep lots filament rolls dry.

Drying the filament in winter

Conclusion:

The experiment demonstrated that the ABS melt flow rate can be improved through the coloring process that changes the plastic proprieties, and opens the possibility for multi-purpose ABS plastics to be extruded and used for 3D printing, and I have a strong feeling that recycling ABS prints (rafts, brims, supports and failed prints etc..) may improve the filament proprieties in the same way.

I can say from this experiment that making a quality cheap low warping colored ABS filament at home, that is close or even better than commercial filament is more than possible. 

Even with a basic FDM 3D printer and variable filament diameter tolerances I was able to achieve good results, that's why I stick with ABS and I will continue to use it forever.

Sabic CYCOLAC™ Resin MG47F extrusion, coloring and 3D printing (2024) Sabic CYCOLAC™ Resin MG47F extrusion, coloring and 3D printing (2024) Reviewed by Moh.G on June 28, 2024 Rating: 5

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