My POV – Sample packs and Filament Reviews?

This seems to be an on going  topic in the world of 3D Printing and among various YouTubers.
What is the value of a filament sample pack?
So we are all on the same page let me state my definition of a sample pack:
A filament sample or sample pack is a coil (unspooled) of any filament type, brand color and usually weighs in at 100g give or take depending on filament type.
What are the opinions on the net?
  1. Filament packs are a pain (read as the unspooled coils) – Having to spool a coil or babysit the printer to ensure the loose filament doesn’t bind
  2. 100g of Filament is not enough to test/review a filament
  3. Sure to be more this is what I hear the most


What do I think?

The unspooled coil is indeed a headache, if I can manage to keep a coil from getting tangled in itself I have gone to hanging it on a loose spool and holder. So far this has resolved binding during printing.

Overall I agree a sample pack (100g coils) do not yield well to an extensive review (that term being subjective). One could argue even a full roll doesn’t, but I feel the filament would show more of its true nature in a full roll.

On the positive I get some light experience with a variety of filaments without dropping in some cases $50 for a roll.

That being said lets look at it from a filament supplier POV – Supplying filament samples and packs are a minimal product loss for potential return sales revenue from a reviewers audience. Lets not forget the sample and all expenses related to are probably written off at the end of the year.
What this does make me want to do:
  1. Change titles for future videos i.e. <insert other word here> vs Reviews as that term is possibly mis-leading?
  2. Devise/define (with the help of others in the 3D printing community) an extensive roll test.  A checklist if you will of processes, models, and timeline to truly test a filament? Maybe multi level to cover the amount of sample provided? I did some searches but didn’t find anything currently in the wild.
  3. Creating a standard to align to would not only help us (as printers, content creators) but suppliers as well. They would have an expectation for what they would receive in exchange for the sample.
What are your thoughts leave a comment!
4 comments on “My POV – Sample packs and Filament Reviews?
  1. RJ_Make says:

    Good post. Here is my take

    If a manufacture is looking for a public review, a full roll is absolutely necessary in my opinion. There is no way in the world I would waste my time, energy and money in providing a review with nothing short of a full roll of filament that I was not already using.

    It’s in the filaments manufacture best interest to provide full rolls to reviewers, as it allows them enough material to dial in their printer and to showcase the filament in the best possible light.

    The review process’ should come from the filament manufacture. Let them decide how they want the unbiased review to look like. Example: how many showcase models, what models to showcase, what kind of testing (cosmetic, strength, Flexibility, etc..), min. video length, etc. Their needs to be some kind of structure that is agreed upon.

    This is not to confuse the use of sample rolls to a potential customer that is simply looking to test some new material’s.

    Anyway that’s my .00002 cents on the issue.. 🙂

    • Patrick says:

      Hi RJ,

      Thanks for joining in the conversation and my apologies for the delayed reply.

      I think we pretty close in thinking with regards to sample and full roll.

      You have a great idea there where the supplier could provide the test but I think it doesn’t lead to an unbiased review. The reason I feel we should devise it, if a manufacturer provides the models and the print info they could in effect drive the result (models with little to no over hangs, bridging etc.) not saying a company would do this but if we devise it that possibility is eliminated.

      Expanding on my thinking:
      I think we are the best people to devise the test process is we as content creators are then providing a better value for suppliers, and most importantly our audience.

      We also create the opportunity to ask suppliers for review rolls and have more umph behind request. (i.e. Hello X supplier, I have x # of subs, like to test/review your filament here is the process that would be utilized) this needs more words and finessing but you get the drift.

      One last thing about being unbiased (would be curious to your thoughts here as well!) In a review (if I get to do more in future) as part of the agreement with the supplier I am thinking the contract will need to contain “description will have a link to the site and specific filament but will not utilize a “Discount Code”” i.e. “For a limited time if you use NC3DPW you will get x off a your purchase”. Its just every time I hear that line regardless of the caveat that follows it kinda taints the review for me. What do you think?

  2. RJ_Make says:

    Sorry I didn’t get any notification of your reply.

    Here are my thoughts.

    1) I agree; the model selection should be standardized and should be up to the reviewer.

    2) We need to be very careful that we don’t push a filament (or any product) beyond it’s intended design limitations without good clear reasoning. Standard product reviews would not include such testing IMO. It just makes the product look bad unnecessarily. So the reviewer must understand the product and it’s capabilities and limitations. There is no better place to get that information but from the manufacturer.

    You wouldn’t try printing at a .5 microns on a printer that is only capable of 2 micron, it’s just not fair to the manufacturer.

    3) I see no conflict in requesting a discount for my viewers from the manufacturer of a product that I believe in and like. Why not, if you like it and put your trust in the product, I see no conflict trying to help your viewers.

    Would you not do this for your in person friends if you could?

    IMO I don’t think it won’t take very long for viewers to see right though a fake or pushed reviews. There is no way in the world I would ever recommend a product that I didn’t like and believe in, and certainly would not offer any incentives to purchase.

    Bottom line… if there is ever ANY ethical question, and we want to review the product, we can simply purchase the product ourselves without any communication with the manufacturer and perform the review.

    2) I still

  3. I consider myself a professional. I don’t know if anyone else does, but I do. So I’ve developed, and continue to evolve, a method of grading filament that can be done quickly and with, yes, as little as 100g. Is it thorough? No. But it’s enough to fill out my grading rubric and give an honest assessment of the material:

    If it’s a bad material, I’m not stuck with a roll of something I don’t like. If it’s a good material then I’ll order more. I’m okay with that. There have been a few where I was grateful for a little more to work with and dial in, but in most of those cases if I can’t get it dialed in by 100g it ain’t getting dialed in.

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