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.
- Strength: High
- Flexibility: Medium
- Durability: High
- Ease of Use: Low/Medium
- Nozzle Temp: 220 – 240 °C
- Bed Temp: 90 – 110 °C
- Shrinkage/Warping: Minimal
- Hydroscopic: No
- Food-safe: Refer to manufacturer guidelines
- Soluble: In limonene
- Fumes: Yes; a well-vented area is recommended