Maker Geeks Filament Review: Customers Say Stay Away
As a one man show, Maker Geeks used to be known for its personal touch. Recently, however, that reputation has been called into question. Across the internet, there is growing discontent with Maker Geeks and the services they provide.
That has made Maker Geeks a brand that you should consider steering clear of. More than a few customers have a virulent hatred of Maker Geeks, even calling for the company to shut down entirely.
Will this trend continue? That is unclear, but if it does, Maker Geeks has already lost a lot of its fan base.
Maker Geeks was a leading US producer of 3D printer filament. It was known for low prices and a wide range of specialty colors that are hard to find elsewhere, such as army green and khaki.
Maker Geeks had historically offered great customer service, but that might be changing.
Maker Geeks is a somewhat controversial company in that it’s owner Joshua B Smith is a devout Christian and openly runs his business as a Christian business. As a self described man of God, he says his principles carry forward into how he treats his customers and business contacts.
And for the most part that has been true. In the past, whether or not you were a Christian or however you may have felt about religion in general, Joshua had your back.
If you weren’t happy with your order for some reason, whether it be a shipping charge that you weren’t aware of or a mix up in the order, Joshua was happy to refund you and send you free samples of any filament you would like.
Moreover, being a US producer, Maker Geeks was able to meet customer expectations on shipping times.
However, in the last year or so, this impeccable customer centered business practice has begun to falter. Orders have getting mixed up, refunds have not been processed and customers are not happy. The result was an “F” rating by the Better Business Bureau recently, which shocked many long time fans.
It’s not clear what is happening, but Maker Geeks needs to get it’s act together quickly.
The Filament: Quality, and Color Range
The main thing going for this filament company is its color range.
Maker Geeks has one of the widest range of colors of all medium-sized filament producers on the market. With colors such as ‘Phil’a Mint Green’ (get it?), Soulful Blue, Sun Punch Yellow and Rose Quartz, Maker Geeks offers some of the most innovative colors available.
Beyond these interesting colors, Maker Geeks offers several shades of blue, white and Gray, as well as silver and other metallic colors. Maker Geeks even offers several shades of pink and green.
Quality and Materials
The filaments are also 100% USA made as opposed to imported from China. Filabot is also similar to Maker Geeks in this way.
Just keep in mind that Maker Geeks is not in the same league as ColorFabb or Faberdashery. So if you become a repeat customer of Maker Geeks and are buying dozens of rolls from them, you might have your fair share of dud rolls.
However some of this variation in quality may be due to poor packaging. The filament itself is sometimes also simply bad quality.
The one unusual thing about Maker Geeks PLA is the print temperature. Maker Geeks PLA print temperature is around 230ºC, according to the label on the spool.
Now, the official recommended temperature on the MakeGeeks website is 210ºC. So which temperature should you print with?
Well, at 230ºC some Maker Geeks PLA filaments will string, so if that happens you should definitely drop the temperature a little bit.
In fact, it is probably a good idea to trust what it says on the spool and start with 230ºC and decrease the temperature to 220ºC or 210ºC from there.
The reason is that the website might not be updated often, but the label on the spool comes straight from the latest batch of PLA from the manufacturer.
QUICK NOTE: a number of customers have reported stringing, clogging and otherwise uneven flow while using Maker Geeks filament no matter what temperature they tried.
Website, Packaging, and Spool Design
The Maker Geeks website is ok, but leaves something to be desired. The website, while a good eCommerce storefront, is actually not very easy to navigate through.
It’s not intuitively clear how to find specific filaments that you are looking for especially given the extensive and complex menu lists that are the main way to move around the site. There are too many menus and not enough clarity.
Packaging is also an issue from Maker Geeks. In general, packaging is good but there are some reports of packages arriving without being fully sealed and without being fully wrapped.
This has resulted in many issues with printing and general feeling that Maker Geeks quality is not as high as it should be. But if the packaging is problematic, then reports that the filament itself is poor quality may in fact be related to packaging, not the production quality of the filament.
On the Maker Geeks about page, Joshua boasted that he was named the top 40 e-commerce CEO by Ink magazine. He sold an eCommerce brand to a large retail company after a few years and set off to found Maker Geeks.
But despite this success, the Maker Geeks website is a bit behind the times. While his website used to be much worse, it has actually gotten slightly better recently.
It still suffers from a complicated and burdensome system of drop-down menus. These menus don’t have the sorts of helpful descriptions that would allow customers to navigate them easily.
Instead, you have to guess whether the color you’re looking for or the type of filament you want will be under uninformative brand names and product line descriptions.
For instance, if you are looking for regular black PLA filament, will it be under the Maker Series, Raptor series, or Crystal series polar filaments? They are all different and yet the customer will have no idea how they are different or what these filaments are until they click on the menu item.
So if you are looking for just a regular PLA filament, where do you go? Small improvements in navigation would greatly enhance the website the web browsing experience.
Packaging And Spools
Maker Geeks has great packaging except for the rare occasions when spools arrive in unsealed packages. This results in the possibility of air entering the filament and corrupting its quality.
While all packages do seem to include a desiccant and most packages don’t suffer from the issue of being unsealed or improperly sealed, it is worth being aware that the lack of consistent packaging could affect your prints if you buy from Maker Geeks.
Maker Geeks spools are perfectly suited for almost every type of 3D printer available on the market. The spools are made of a black plastic and are well labeled.
The center hole is also the regular two inches in diameter that most 3D printers are equipped to handle. That means you don’t have to print a new spool holder in order to print with Maker Geeks filament.
Who Owns Maker Geeks?
Maker Geeks is owned by Joshua B Smith, a former oil rig worker and Missouri native. After working on oil fields in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay for many years Joshua started building eCommerce websites.
After selling his first eCommerce website he started Maker Geeks as a “Christian and Christ-centered Company.” He states on his website that he wishes to give 90% of his earnings someday to his church.
Bottom line: stay away.
Maker Geeks is a fantastic small-to-medium sized producer of regular and specialty 3D printer filament. Produced completely in the United States of America by a devout Christian, Maker Geeks was once known for good customer service, although this has been less true recently.
There are some drawbacks to Maker Geeks, such as the fact that customers have had issues with printing and packaging in the past. Also, the Maker Geeks website could also be improved in terms of its navigability and intuitive structure.
However, you can expect to find a lot of discounts and deals on the Maker Geeks website.
Still, all of these factors combine to make Maker Geeks a hard pass from us. It remains to be seen whether or not Maker Geeks improves on the downsides mentioned.
Better Filament Brands You Should Try
- 3D Black Magic
- 3D Solutech