Filament Testing Process

Good morning guys!

I’m looking for a “filament junkie” who enjoys testing filaments with regards to mechanical attributes of prints, optimized printer settings, etc.

Would you help me set up a standardized testing process that I can use for all filaments I want to test to gather data on them? Or share your usual workflow?

Thanks a lot :slight_smile:

Have a look on Youtube :slight_smile:
There is quite a few quite who tested and still test filaments, including baked ones.
If you want the lot and include print settings you have a lot of ground to cover…
Not sure if it is worth it considering how often filament formulations change these days…

I think the best reference is Stefan at CncKitchen
He mostly sticks to industry standards so that measurements are comparable and is as close as it gets to scientific standards for a non-commercial environment.

I made a small jig and specimen to just evaluate layer adhesion of different filaments at different print settings. but that was tailored to my needs and willingness to invest time and money. So my numbers are not comparable to anyone else’s. You can find the description and results here: Various PETG brands compared

I did a few more tests in the meantime. Most noticeably I couldn’t reproduce the good results with Sunlu. Even after drying again, it was about the same as most other brands. I have the feeling, that maybe in the first test i had slight over extrusion and that made the specimen stronger.
But I didn’t persue that any further.

Hey Alex, thanks for your nice reply! That makes a lot of sense actually. Just curious, would you be interested in testing more filaments? I would sponsor them of course. I am building a filament database and this could be a good approach.

Ahhh… yes… standards.

As one of my earliest mentors in the industry once said to me at the age of 23, fresh out of college and about to jump off a bridge out of pure frustration, having built an EIA-RS232 Standard Cable only for it not to function as designed after the 100th occasion where I plugged it into another manufacturers peripheral. I screamed, “What’s the point of having a standard if everyone in the industry does it differently?” He placed his hand on my shoulder in a fatherly way and said:

Son… we have standards so that we know what we deviate from. :rofl:

While it’s a lofty and admirable goal to attempt to create a standard method, the issue at hand is that everyone’s use-case differs slightly. So if you ask a room full of 10 subject matter experts on any topic, you will get 13 opinions. As @Alex_vG pointed out, Stefan at CNC kitchen has been the only one to actually attempt to apply scientific rigor to such a process. He clearly is simply trying to show that he is the smartest guy in the room and I’m not knocking his efforts, but his methodology can be easily picked apart as having numerous testing flaws.

I think in the end it would be to your benefit to simply make a list of what you consider important to you. As an example, like you, after I could not find any consistency in methodology among filament uses, I just resigned myself that I had to figure it out on my own. In my case, I keep a spreadsheet of simple parameters that I know I can validate myself and not subject to opinion. I do this for tracking purposes that might help me when deciding between buying the next $12 vs $13 spool. Here is a simple list I keep.

  • MFG
  • Date Purchased
  • URL of the site I purchased it from
  • Cut and paste description of the product as it appeared on the website.
  • Price Paid
  • Technology claimed to be in use(as an example PLA+ is a Bullshit term that has zero industry agreement)
  • Incoming weight.
  • Weight after being dried(I only use this for Hydroscopic filaments such as PERG, PC etc.)
  • Weight of the empty spool(This is to keep the filament maker honest and to also know what the TARE is of the empty spool).

You’ll note I don’t even attempt to record slicer parameters. For now, until there is a way to export this from the slicer into a CSV table, it’s a pointless effort in my view, with little return on investment.

The other “attempt” at standardization that I try to adhere to – most of the time – is that when I save all of my filaments in Orca, I preface the profile name it with a consistent prefix that is “easier” to scroll through. This gets harder each new filament I add. That format looks like this example:

You’ll note that in some cases in my example, I may have calibrated a filament previously only to second-guess my calibration once a recent spool performed differently. In those cases where I suspect deviation, I will append a date to the filament profile to create a new copy, and then I will recalibrate from there and compare any differences. While this might not make sense to anyone else, I don’t give a rat’s ass because it makes sense to me. :sunglasses:

I have found that among filament makers and technologies, there can be a number of deviations among deliveries. Such is the utter lack of quality control out of China. In some ways, buying filament looks more like buying coffee or wine as a bulk commodity; I find that it’s more about the “vintage” of the material you get than the brand. Prusa is the only one in the industry that tries to compensate for this with their tracking QR code providing all the stats from that production run.

Yes, I would be interested in doing some tests from time to time, but I wouldn’t want an obligation. My time is very limited with two small children and full time job. If you rely on my tests for your database, I have the fear that you might be disappointed when I don’t get results timely. If that is not a problem, I’m all in :slight_smile:

Where do you live? I’m in Germany which might or might not be a deal breaker for the sponsoring :wink:

Alternatvely, I can as well provide you with the specimen file and 3mf including the settings. The force meter is very inexpensive from aliexpress at 35€.

Hey Alex,
sorry for the late reply, got quite busy myself.
I would not have any expectation towards you of course (I have a fulltime job, wife and dog myself so this is a hobby thing). :slight_smile:
I am planning to have 2-3 testers and whoever is free once I receive or buy a specific filament will be the tester. That’s why standardization is key.
I am also in Germany, same as the other 2 guys. So we’re good!
If you’re interested, just shoot me a PM and we can take it further. No pressure!

Hey man, thanks for the extensive reply, it was quite the interesting read!
I’ll think about and derive my own takeaways. I like your way of organising the Orca profiles! If you’re ever interested in doing some tests yourself (depending on where you are; Germany and the US would be preferred), let me know :slight_smile: