Exploring the Bambu Lab A1 3D Printer: Part 3 Hands-On Review


The Bambu Lab A1 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Our look at the Bambu Lab A1 desktop FFF 3D printer concludes with software, print results and final thoughts.

This is part three of a three part series, please read parts one and two.

Bambu A1 3D Printer Software

BambuStudio software

The A1 system is designed to be operated from either BambuStudio on PC or the Bambu Handy app. With both, you dispatch jobs through the Bambu Lab cloud to the machine; you don’t need to get up and go to the machine.

BambuHandy app shows print progress

You can do much more with BambuStudio than the app, and that’s what I typically used. The app is capable of pulling prints off of Bambu Lab’s MakerWorld online model repository and directly printing them, assuming they’ve been sliced for your machine.

BambuStudio is a variant of PrusaSlicer, enhanced with numerous value-added features specifically tailored for Bambu Lab appliances.

You can see one of the models from MakerWorld integrated into Bambu Handy. This model happens to be part of the exceptional project kit that comes with the device that we will discuss further. There is an array of such models on MakerWorld, and it can sometimes be fun to locate and print them.

I mention sometimes because frequently, models uploaded to MakerWorld are sliced for various other machines. For instance, you might download a 3MF file only to find that it’s set up for an X1C device. In such cases, you need to painstakingly establish the specifications and profile for your own machine before proceeding to print. I suspect this might perplex many new 3D printer users.

One element of the process that I found particularly perplexing was the sequence of operations in BambuStudio. As I touched on earlier, a number of my printing failures stemmed from inappropriate settings, an issue that occurred far more frequently than anticipated.

This is due to the requirement for the following elements to be correctly aligned for each print job:

  • Selection of printer model and nozzle
  • Type of plate
  • Specifications of filament
  • Identification of A1 AMS filament
  • Loaded A1 AMS filament
  • Print profile

Perhaps it’s just my perspective, but in BambuStudio these factors are dispersed and it’s quite straightforward to overlook one or more.

The print failure in the example was due to a selection confusion between the A1 0.2mm nozzle and the A1 0.4mm nozzle. My reading of “0.2mm” led to a mistaken conclusion that I desired 0.2mm layers. Mistakes like these often occur with BambuStudio due to the confusion between layer size and nozzle diameter.

I came up with a mental checklist for myself to go through before finalizing each job as a remedy. A review of several steps in the process is necessary, even though this seems to contradict Bambu Lab’s goal of making 3D printer operation more straightforward. I hope that future versions of BambuStudio might incorporate some kind of process simplification to ensure that operators do things correctly.

It’s pertinent to note that one can choose not to use the cloud system since the A1 model includes an SD card slot. This option might appeal to those who want to maintain secure operations. However, I’ve chosen not to use it, as printing directly from my desktop is incredibly convenient, to the extent that I’ve been printing much more because of the ease.

SD card in the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Bambu A1 3D Printer Print Results

19 minute #3DBenchy made on the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

I printed a ton of items on the A1, and almost all were perfect. Here’s one of the canned prints, a 19 minute #3DBenchy. It’s absolutely perfect and finished very quickly.

25 minute multicolor #3DBenchy made on the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Another pre-sliced model is this color layered #3DBenchy, which is designed to ensure the AMS lite is working properly. As you can see, it did.

Even without an image, I can tell you that the toy 3D printed on the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer looked like a fascinating piece of technology.

This is another pre-sliced 3D model, a toy air spinner. It printed very quickly and was immediately functional.

There was also an intriguing project kit included with the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer, but alas, no image to show you.

Every A1 shipment comes with a unique project kit. Various options are available, one of which will be in your package. The concept involves printing a sequence of parts, which are then compiled into a large-scale project. The kit provides the essential hardware, such as bolts, bearings and so on.

Talk about a fantastic approach to engage new operators in a profound way. In my situation, the model was the Triple-Axis Tourbillon, a depiction of a high-tech wristwatch engine.

I located the relevant post on MakerWorld, and the parts to be printed were split into 20 separate print tasks!

Typical print plate for the kit project for the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Here’s one of the plates I printed, and as you can see the print quality is outstanding. There were many more like this.

All parts printed for the kit included with the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Fortunately all plates printed correctly, and the app provided an easy “Next Plate” button to move to the next job. In all it took me over three days to print all these parts.

Very tiny parts required for the project for the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Some of the parts were extremely small, as you can see here. This is a considerable project to build.

Hugely detailed assembly instructions for the kit project [Source: Fabbaloo]

Unfortunately I haven’t yet completed building the Tourbillon. It’s a very advanced project, with a 32 page set of assembly instructions that require extra drilling, fit-tuning and much more. It’s going to take me a while to get through that project, but it will be fun to do so.

3D printed Xmas decorations made on the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

I printed a number of holiday decorations for the house, and they came out quite well. The ability to change colors in mid print using the AMS lite is very useful.

250mm tall spiral vase (the Lumpy Bumpy 3D model) made on the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer in PETG [Source: Fabbaloo]

I printed a large vase in PETG on the A1 to ensure that PETG works. It does, and I had zero issues. I happened to use the 0.8mm nozzle for this vase, which is ideal for spiral mode: the lines are thicker and the resulting vase is much stronger.

Even 0.8mm nozzle prints leak! [Source: Fabbaloo]

However, it still does not hold water.

Excellent TPU 3D print made on the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

TPU was next. This must be mounted on the external spool, as the AMS lite is not able to handle TPU. Bambu Lab does provide a profile for generic TPU, which is what I used.

My initial attempt at printing with TPU did not adhere to the bed. Observing that the profile only had a bed temperature of 35C, I decided to increase it to 60C for better adhesion.

With the higher temperature, the print adhered much better. I even ventured to print a large 80mm bracelet in TPU, the result of which was impressive.

However, there was a downside to the higher temperature. TPU started to stick too well to the plate. Removing the print became a struggle and I had to use a scraper (which didn’t come with the A1 printer). So, while 60C became too much, a slightly lower temperature might be the optimal setting for TPU plate temperature.

This image clearly represents how well TPU can stick to the plate on the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer.

Bambu A1 3D Printer Final Thoughts

I’m very impressed with the A1 3D printer. It’s fast, inexpensive, large and able to produce objects with incredible quality.

Is it better than the A1 mini? In terms of size, yes. In terms of ease of assembly, no. I would say that for those new to 3D printing, the A1 mini would be a better choice because of the assembly.

Is the A1 better than most other desktop FFF 3D printers? Absolutely. At this price point (US$559 for the AMS lite combo), it cannot be beat for features, speed and quality.

If you’re in the market for a mid-sized, inexpensive desktop FFF 3D printer, the A1 is definitely worth strong consideration.







✔︎ Quality, reliability

✔︎ Multicolor

✔︎ Print speed


✖︎ More assembly

✖︎ Software workflow

✖︎ Camera and timelapse

This is part three of a three part series, please read parts one and two.

Via Bambu Lab

Original source


“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

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