An Early Review of Bambu Lab A1 Combo 3D Printer: Speedy Prints with Superior Fidelity


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With its easy setup, super-quick print speeds, high-fidelity production, and automatic calibration, this is one of the best 3D printers we’ve used.

By

Corey Foster

Published Dec 14, 2023 9:00 AM EST

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Over the course of the last decade, I’ve tested nearly two dozen 3D printers with varied specs and prices. For over three weeks, I’ve been using the Bambu Lab A1, and it consistently outperforms every fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer I’ve used. That performance gap widens when it’s equipped with the AMS Lite 4-color multi-spool filament system, which enables super-simple multi-colored prints.

Specs

Pros

Cons

The Bambu Lab A1 is an FDM printer, which means it lays down layer upon layer of heated filament to build up structures that become the final models. The A1 borrows heavily from Bambu’s extremely popular (and game-changing) X1, which prioritizes speed and simplicity without compromising print quality. Like the existing A1 mini, the new full-sized A1 can print up to 500mm/s, which is impressively fast, even for larger and more complicated models.

This hands-on explores the A1 Combo, comprising of the $399 A1 3D printer and the AMS Lite Multi-Filament System, which enables automatic color printing from up to four spools during a single print. Despite wasting filament switching colors, it’s hard to imagine a simpler method for color 3D printing.

Upon opening a standard 3D printer, you’re likely to find a variety of loose bags and components, accompanied by a confusing assembly manual. Bambu neatly packed the A1 to avoid such complications. The A1’s instruction manual contains straightforward directions and color-coded diagrams that correlate with codes on the parts. The entire assembly feels like a fun LEGO project.

The complete Bambu Lab A1 Combo gives off the impression of a premium consumer product rather than a production tool. The assembly tolerances are precise—any wobble or looseness between parts is barely noticeable. Its two-tone gray plastic brings back memories of a Super Nintendo console, making the A1 irresistibly charming.

Upon assembly, it conveniently connected to my WiFi router. Then, the Bamboo Studio software (compatible with macOS and Windows) immediately discovered the printer after scanning the network. You have the option to connect through Ethernet or, alternatively, transport a MicroSD card directly to it.

The A1 in conjunction with AMS Lite was able to fulfil all tasks I threw at it, even successfully rendering the most complex custom CAD models. Overall, it produced smooth surfaces, flawless color changes, and intricate details flawlessly. The A1 manages to perform these tasks at an impressively swift pace. Fresh from the packaging, it printed a “SpeedBenchy” model in under 15 minutes, rivaling the best Benchy print I’ve managed on other printers. 

The A1’s unique ability to pre-print calibrate and compensate for vibration is fundamental to its performance. At the start of every print job, the A1 performs a series of checks including temperature and belt tension, and compensates for any surface instability. Moreover, it can automatically adjust operational values beyond the standard bed-leveling before every print. Together with a direct-drive extruder and other prime components, these features enable the A1 to operate quicker and with greater precision than any other printer in its price range of $399 or $559, as tested with AMS Lite.

Bambu Lab A1’s greatest triumph is undoubtedly its user-friendliness. The combination of Bambu Studio slicing and painting software, touchscreen interface, and hands-on control are designed to be frustration-free. I was pleasantly surprised several times when the printer anticipated manual operations I was doing, like loading new filament into the AMS Lite, and offered on-screen assistance or activated its motors. I even handed it over to my 12-year-old daughter to try after giving her basic instructions. She had no problems creating two small plates in Tinkercad, loading the file into Bambu Studio, and wirelessly sending her print job to the A1. Within 20 minutes, she was covering our home with heart-stamped aluminum foil pieces.

From my experience, I can confidently state that the Bambu Lab A1 Combo consistently delivers beyond expectations and fulfills needs at a price that other 3D printer brands find hard to match. It merits consideration in our upcoming list of the best 3D printers, thanks to its super-fast printing, straightforward setup, and an excellent mix of advanced features and creature comforts. The automatic calibration process stands to save users a significant amount of time and frustration by minimizing subpar prints. Complete from unboxing to actual use, it is an exceptional user experience.

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Meet the mastermind behind NozzleNerds.com: GCode-Guru, a 3D printing wizard whose filament collection rivals their sock drawer. Here to demystify 3D tech with a mix of expert advice, epic fails, and espresso-fueled rants. If you've ever wondered how to print your way out of a paper bag (or into a new coffee cup), you're in the right place. Dive into the world of 3D printing with us—where the only thing more abundant than our prints is our sarcasm.

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