HIPS Filament: Complete HIPS 3D Printing Guide
HIPS filament (High Impact Polystyrene) is a support material for stabilizing prints that cannot stay in one position while being printed due to their shape or design. Not all HIPS is the same quality or price, though.
One common complaint about bad HIPS filaments is that they leave a residue behind after they are dissolved. While this might not be a big deal in the short term, it can add extra cleaning steps to the post-processing phase of 3D printing.
The filaments on this list won’t give you that kind of performance issue.
eSUN makes a fantastic HIPS that we highly recommend. It has several advantages:
- Affordable price
- Many colors
- Good tolerance
- Easy to print with
- Easy to detach from the print
Below is a list of top HIPS filament brands. HIPS doesn’t vary too much from brand to brand in terms of overall material quality. But some brands offer better tolerances and better overall customer experience.
These are the brands that always offer good prices and will replace a bad spool free of charge. Hopefully you can find a brand that fits your needs below.
How Does HIPS Filament Dissolve?
Just in case you have stumbled into this article and don’t know what HIPS is used for exactly, let’s go over the basics.
HIPS stands for High Impact Polystyrene. HIPS can be used on its own as a fabrication material or in conjunction with other plastics as a support material in the printing process.
The best HIPS filaments print well at 230ºC with a heated bed at 50-60ºC and dissolve in D-Limonene. Since HIPS filament has similar characteristics to ABS, it is an ideal support material for ABS prints.
Do You Need d-Limonene? YES
d-Limonene is a solvent and degreaser that is often used to remove other chemicals such as plastics from a surface. It is also found in lemon peels and the rinds of other citrus fruits, hence it’s name.
Thankfully, d-Limonene does not dissolve ABS plastic, only HIPS filament, which makes it an ideal solvent to use when 3D printing with HIPS.
Because HIPS dissolves in d-Limonene, you need to have some handy when you print with HIPS. Otherwise you will have a lot of trouble removing the support structures from your prints as the people in the above video did.
In contrast to the above video, here is a video that shows how easy d-Limonene makes the process of removing HIPS support material from printed objects:
Best d-Limonene for 3D Printing
Now that you know you need d-Limonene, where should you get it?
Our recommendation is that you purchase a 1 gallon can of d-Limonene from MG Chemicals. 1 gallon might seem like a lot, but you will go through it quickly over time. But if you prefer, MG Chemicals does sell 1 Liter canisters as well.
Here is the general overview:
- FOR INDUSTRIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR RETAIL SALE IN CALIFORNIA.
- Excellent cleaner. Can be diluted with water
- Test on surfaces before using. Do not use on plastics or synthetic rubbers
- Sweet citrus smell
- NSF - Nonfood Compounds Program Listed K1, NSF Registration #141797
The purpose of this list is to give you a few options for choosing HIPS filaments so that you can be sure that you buy a good product.
Again, HIPS is usually used to support ABS prints, and if you are looking for ABS filaments as well, feel free to check out our list of the best ABS filaments around.
1. Gizmo Dorks HIPS Filament
Gizmo Dorks offers several shades of HIPS filament so that you can use it as a primary material in your prints. That is fairly rare across most brands that offer HIPS since most brands expect customers to use HIPS as a support material only.
Gizmo Dorks offers Blue, Red, Yellow, Black, Gray, and several other colors. This gives you a decent range of basic colors to play with in case you want to use HIPS for more than just support material.
Gizmo Dorks also offers HIPS filament at a diameter of 2.85mm. This is again somewhat unusual for HIPS brands, since the current most popular diameter for filaments is 1.75mm.
Of course, if you are printing with ABS or other materials, 2.85mm can give you a better layer height and stronger layer bonding properties. So it makes sense to buy HIPS at a similar diameter so that you can extrude both materials at the same printer settings.
Gizmo Dorks also has fantastic customer service and will replace any defective spools, no questions asked. Their support lines are very responsive and you can expect to talk to representative from the company immediately when you call their number.
Read our full review of Gizmo Dorks Filaments here.
2. eSUN HIPS Filament
eSUN offers several colors of HIPS, but white and black are the most popular colors for support materials. Like most other eSUN filaments, their HIPS is a no frills, “gets the job done” filament that rarely gives customers any trouble.
But even though it is simple, eSUN HIPS is definitely high quality and one of the best HIPS filament brands around. And while it is mostly used as a support material for ABS prints, you can use it by itself or just for fun, like this:
The other good thing about eSUN HIPS is the price. It tends to be priced well and you can always be sure that it is available, unlike with other HIPS brands.
However, you should check the prices of several different eSUN suppliers such as Intservo and Inland before buying since different suppliers will often have different prices.
Read our full review of eSUN filaments here.
While Hatchbox HIPS is not always available, when it is, it definitely worth getting. It works very well with a dual extruder setup for supporting ABS prints. This HIPS is also super easy to use. Very little effort is needed to calibrate of your printer settings for it. And it doesn’t bind too firmly to ABS, so you can remove supports by hand.
The one thing that might dissuade you from buying this filament is that Hatchbox mostly sells .45 kg rolls of HIPS instead of the regular 1kg spools. Hopefully they change this in the future. It also only comes in one color: white. So if you are looking for other colors you will have to look elsewhere.
MG Chemicals is one of the best filament companies out there. But it is on this list because it’s HIPS is so darn cheap. It might even be the cheapest HIPS filament you can buy unless you are looking for samples. 0.56 kg is the perfect amount of filament for printing a few projects and allows you to control your budget very well.
The other great thing about MG Chemicals HIPS is that you don’t need Limonene since it snaps off of ABS fairly easily. And since Limonene and other solvents can be expensive and a bit dangerous to use, the ability to forego them is really nice to have. Over all this HIPS is well worth the price.
Brands to Avoid
Monoprice is an e-commerce store that sells general electronics and accessories. As a result, it doesn’t focus on 3D printers or 3D printer filament and has missed the mark with its HIPS filaments. While it does sell other filaments that are OK and worth checking out as well as a popular 3D printer, the Monoprice Maker Select, its HIPS is just not worth the money for several reasons.
First and foremost, the price of Monoprice HIPS filament is just way too high. At this price, you would expect this HIPS to be an incredible filament in its own right, let alone as a support material.
Unfortunately, not only is it just a regular quality HIPS filament, its tolerance range is +/- 0.10 mm and it struggles to work as a support materials for filaments other than ABS. Moreover, this HIPS tends to require a bit more Limonene than other HIPS brands to dissolve completely, and Limonene is not cheap. So it’s best to avoid this brand if you can.
Final Thoughts: Best HIPS Filament
HIPS is the perfect support material for ABS and dual extruder rigs. If you have dual extrusion capabilities and are looking for a support filament that is easy to work with, comes in several colors, and won’t break the bank, then HIPS might be the right choice for you.
And while HIPS requires corrosive solvents such as d-Limonene to dissolve completely, many HIPS brand don’t adhere to ABS very strongly, so supports can be removed by hand.
The above brands offer a mix of affordability and variety, along with good customer service and ease of use. These HIPS filaments are mostly of similar quality, although there are some variations in tolerance and surface quality. Hopefully there is at least one brand in the above list that meets your needs.
If you have questions about anything on our list or want us to take a look at a brand we didn’t include, leave a comment below. You can also check out these and other brands on Amazon.
Otherwise, thanks for reading and happy printing!