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  1. thedarkone's Avatar
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    Oct 26, 2010, 8:55 PM - HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #1

    Often wondered what is the major difference between ABS and Styrene. i know ABS is glossy as is and much more rigid compared to Styrene but most styrene is cheaper. Does Styrene becoming less strong or degrade over time unlike ABS?

    Andy
  2. exoray's Avatar
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    Oct 26, 2010, 9:24 PM - Re: HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #2

    thedarkone said: View Post
    Often wondered what is the major difference between ABS and Styrene.
    ABS is Styrene with acrylonitrile butadiene added...

    HIPS is Styrene with polybutadiene added

    The thing to remember is that every manufacture adds stuff to their custom mixes so saying anything definitive is really not right, unless you know for sure what has been added...

    Generally though generic styrene isn't as impact resistant as ABS or HIPS, that is the point of adding a rubberizing agent... But as far as comments like ones glossy, one has UV or what not you really can't generalize like that as depending on the company they could very well incorporate those features into their generic styrene...
  3. thedarkone's Avatar
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    Oct 26, 2010, 9:32 PM - Re: HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #3

    wow that is quite interesting, thanks. Im guessing my main question would be concerning my stormtrooper helmet that was made out of HIPS like the stunt helmets, is the overall lifespan of HIPS.
  4. exoray's Avatar
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    Oct 26, 2010, 9:48 PM - Re: HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #4

    thedarkone said: View Post
    wow that is quite interesting, thanks. Im guessing my main question would be concerning my stormtrooper helmet that was made out of HIPS like the stunt helmets, is the overall lifespan of HIPS.
    Depends on many factors, is it in direct sunlight or even any sunlight, both will shorten it's life over say being under pure florescent or stored in a dark closet... Airborne pollutants? Cleaning agents, pollution and even smoking will have there effects on longevity...

    And once again we are at the point that HIPS does not equal HIPS, every plastics company has there own blend of additives, and likely even several different blends of their own HIPS...

    When you say HIPS all you are really saying is styrene with polybutadiene added, we have no idea what other additives were added, UV additives can make a world of difference but that doesn't mean they were added to your flavor of HIPS...
  5. division 6's Avatar
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    Oct 26, 2010, 9:55 PM - Re: HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #5

    The plastics will degrade with exposure to UV light and even the pollutants in the air.
    Styrene also becomes brittle and will eventually crack and break faster than ABS.
    I've had parts of both my storm trooper and x-wing helmet start to break in under 6 years both are out of HIPS, both made from 1/16".
    My newer x-wing helmet is made of 1/8" styrene and hasn't had any problems and it's about 8 years old.
    Fracture happens even more in a high stress area.

    My Aliens armor is 1/8" ABS and has had no problems.
    It was made 12 years ago.
  6. division 6's Avatar
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    Oct 26, 2010, 10:02 PM - Re: HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #6

    Styrene is easier to work with and get sharper pulls from and ABS is temperamental to moisture and will get an orange peel surface if it's not dry.
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    Oct 26, 2010, 10:32 PM - Re: HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #7

    ABS is NOT heat resistant (but that may not be an issue here).
  8. division 6's Avatar
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    Oct 26, 2010, 10:41 PM - Re: HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #8

    Couldn't use it for vacuum forming if it was.
  9. Keeping my lousy nickname RPF Premium Member Darth Lars's Avatar
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    Oct 27, 2010, 2:30 AM - Re: HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #9

    The type of ABS plastic that is used for Stormtrooper armour has a outer layer of glossy acrylic that protects against UV radiation. Without that layer, it would yellow just as fast as HIPS. That said, the surface of HIPS or ABS could also be either matte or gloss without an acrylic layer.

    There are many different blends of ABS. Look at your computer keyboard. The case is most likely made of ABS, and maybe even the keys too, but this blend is one that does not flex as much as the plastic used for armour.
  10. Superkrates's Avatar
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    Oct 27, 2010, 7:01 AM - Re: HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #10

    Darth Lars said: View Post
    ...Look at your computer keyboard. The case is most likely made of ABS, and maybe even the keys too, but this blend is one that does not flex as much as the plastic used for armour.
    Computer cases are made of fire resistant materials (ABS FR817 - if it's ABS... kydex is another plastic with fire resistance and is used in airplanes) per code and this is what gives them their different feel.

    As a costumer, this is what you need to know between Styrene and ABS:

    1. Styrene costs less (generally 30-50% less)
    2. Styrene is much more brittle (especially in thin plastics)
    3. Styrene is easier to Vac Form because it does not 'Boil' (orange peel effect in ABS that can be controlled by drying the plastic prior to forming). This has lead some people to think that Styrene gets better detail. Wrong! They're super-heating the plastic, which allows it to stretch more and become thin. The thickness of the plastic and the amount of vacuum is what determines the detail when Vacuum Forming.
    4. Styrene is a pain to cut - see #2
    5. Styrene only comes in Matte. 'Gloss' styrene has either been buffed or coated with another material (automotive clear coat is a wonderful UV inhibitor)
    6. Styrene takes paint easier. Not sure if this still rings true, since the introduction of paints with elastisomers (Krylon fusion).
  11. Lichtbringer's Avatar
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    Oct 27, 2010, 7:55 AM - Re: HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #11

    Superkrates said: View Post
    As a costumer, this is what you need to know between Styrene and ABS:

    1. Styrene costs less (generally 30-50% less)
    2. Styrene is much more brittle (especially in thin plastics)
    3. Styrene is easier to Vac Form because it does not 'Boil' (orange peel effect in ABS that can be controlled by drying the plastic prior to forming). This has lead some people to think that Styrene gets better detail. Wrong! They're super-heating the plastic, which allows it to stretch more and become thin. The thickness of the plastic and the amount of vacuum is what determines the detail when Vacuum Forming.
    4. Styrene is a pain to cut - see #2
    5. Styrene only comes in Matte. 'Gloss' styrene has either been buffed or coated with another material (automotive clear coat is a wonderful UV inhibitor)
    6. Styrene takes paint easier. Not sure if this still rings true, since the introduction of paints with elastisomers (Krylon fusion).
    Some right, others wrong - Exoray hit the nail.

    It comes completly down to every single sheet .... what material, from wich manufacturer, ..... You canīt really define it by the generalized terms "ABS" or "PS", each of these terms fits a wide spectrum.

    A friend of mine is board member in a big vac-form company, they do everything from small handsized pieces over car bumbers and dashboards up to swimming pools - and they have both materials. So i get most of my material for scratch-building from them , and their styrene is not brittle, it cuts easy, i can get it with a shiny side under a protection-foil (talking about raw-material, sheets cut to fit in my car, directly from the manufacturer). Unfortunatly the thinnest they use is 1,5mm, so i need to buy thinner material in a architectural supply shop - that is only matte, but also never brittle or bad to cut.

    Only the cheap stuff from the home depot cuts bad and is brittle as hell.
  12. Superkrates's Avatar
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    Oct 27, 2010, 8:13 AM - Re: HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #12

    Lichtbringer said: View Post
    Some right, others wrong
    Lichtbringer is correct - The statements are right for readily available materials in the United States and wrong for the rest of the world, where processes can be different... especially in Germany, where they make arguably the best plastics in the world. I stand humbled and corrected.
  13. Lichtbringer's Avatar
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    Oct 27, 2010, 8:25 AM - Re: HIP Styrene Vs. ABS?? #13

    Superkrates said: View Post
    Lichtbringer is correct - The statements are right for readily available materials in the United States and wrong for the rest of the world, where processes can be different... especially in Germany, where they make arguably the best plastics in the world. I stand humbled and corrected.
    Do they, really?

    That would explain another thing - i was always wondering about the stated prices when reading some was buying 4 to 8 feet sheets for small money at a local plastic supplier (as the people do when building a lifesize Astromech, or something else that big).

    Here it is not sold cheap or in big Quantities at every corner, only crap from the home depot - or you have to order it online in special shops for architectural supplies for a much bigger amount of money. And if you need really big sheets (more than 50cm x 100cm) you better know someone in the industrie, othervise you need a loan on your house to pay the stuff. But yeah, for the professional prices you get professional stuff.

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