Bambu Lab A1 combo cover picture.

Bambu Lab A1 Combo review – Bigger is Better

The new and improved Bambu Lab A1 is here and of course that means we have to deliver a Bambu Lab A1 review. While we said that size doesn’t matter in our A1 Mini Combo review, playing around with the Bambu Lab A1 made us see and feel that bigger can be better. While the A1 Mini is the ideal starting point to get into the 3D printing hobby, the A1 one is the perfect upgrade.

The Bambu Lab A1 box with a drawing of the printer on it.

TL;DR

After a technical fault in the power cable that heats the bed, a mass recall, refunds and drama. Bambu Lab came through and delivered a better model than the original, fulfilling everyone’s needs and safety. The Bambu Lab A1 simply delivers, a myriad of quality of life features makes 3D printing accessible and fun. From the quick swap nozzle to auto-levelling or the smaller features like RFID tags in their filament. If you just want to print, Bambu Lab is your best friend and the A1 the best tool for veterans and newbies alike.

Bambu Lab A1 review – Evolving the Hobby

We had the luxury of reviewing the Bambu Lab A1 mini among others, the age difference is significant. The leaps in technology between both models is simply insane when it comes to speed and automated features. Bambu Lab took the FDM 3D printing scene by surprise and is dominating with their approach. How did they do it? Making 3D printing a fun thing to hop into, not a job with a steeper learning curve than Hellish missions in the excellent Hell Divers 2. An easy, swift setup and an automated calibration run is all you need to have your first printed Benchy in your hands in less than an hour.

Power of the Beast

The biggest and best features that come with the Bambu Lab A1 are simple things that are becoming the standard for new printers, pushing the competition to implement more quality of life features in their models.

The three biggest features for us are its full-auto calibration, active flow rate compensation and speed. The Bamb Lab A1 is a fast and precise beast that delivers your prints in the flash of an eye. The ludicrous setting can go insanely fast. It will hurt your print and results unless you start tweaking filament and settings, but if you are experienced enough it can handle those speeds. If you prefer silence, normal and quiet mode are ideal for printing at night or when your partner has hearing like Spiderman.

The printing volume of 256x256x256 is a huge upgrade over the Bambu Lab A1 mini with 180x180x180. While we never felt that the A1 mini was too small, having a bigger print plate saves time and you can really take on some insanely big projects.

Comparison between the A1 and A1 mini plates. The mini has 180x180x180 and the A1 has 256x256x256.

The Bambu Lab A1 just keeps giving

If you opt in for the combo package and hook up the AMS-Lite, you have four filament slots that can be used in several setups. Either you have four different colours for multicolour prints without having to manually switch out colours. Or you can slot the same filament in two slots and when your spool runs out, the printer detects the same  filament on the AMS and switches automatically without interrupting your print and precious free time.

The auto-calibration feature makes setup easy, but the auto bed-levelling for each print is heavenly. Not only does the Bambu Lab A1 check the bed-level, but it also has an auto resonance calibration for both X and Y axes. That also checks the belt tension and notifies you if you need to tighten a belt before it starts printing.

No designer skills needed

We can hear you thinking: “How about models, I can’t make those!”. Bambu Lab has you covered with their Makerworld website and app which makes browsing for things a breeze. Whether you want a functional item for your bathroom or a fidget spinner for your kid.

Using the Bambu Lab slicer is recommended, but more experienced users might have gotten used to their own slicer. But when you use the Bambu Lab Slicer and use Makerworld to open the files, it automatically imports the settings the creator uses for their prints. This lowers the chance of failed prints immensely as you are using their optimal tried and tested results. Combine that with the AMS which detects what Bambu Lab filament you are using and picks the best settings specific for that filament; it just can’t get anything better.

Bambu Lab Slicer, Bambu Studio, the plates with several parts on them for a life counter. On the left the multiple settings to adjust your print.

No wait, it gets even better

You are out on a family day walking in the park and bam. Your partner really wants some clips to close up opened bags. Do not fear, Makerworld is here. You open the app and start browsing for a couple of seconds. Select the Ultimate Bag Clips in the app, choose your printer and hit start. Your Bambu Lab A1 at home starts running its checks and leveling its bed. By the time you get home there is a set of bag clips ready to use hot from the press. Going over to Thingiverse or Cults3D is still a great source for 3D models, but be prepared to fine-tune some settings to make sure your print turns out well.

Makerworld has expanded a lot and has several other tools at your disposal. From an easy sign maker tool and vase modeler, to an attempt to implement AI that creates models based on pictures (in BETA). We tried the Pixel Puzzle Maker and got our logo printed and puzzled. These tools help fuel your imagination and projects. Or help you convince your partner that the Bambu Lab A1 was the best purchase ever and you need a second one. Find the Makerworld Tools here and get creative.

Making the tough calls

When the Bambu Lab A1 launched initially it was quickly established that the cable used for heating the heatbed was weak and prone to breaking. Exposing the wires inside the casing, which is a huge fire hazard. Not only could the cable be damaged when using the printer, too much pressure on the cable could bend it if your printer was set up too close to the wall. Furthermore, research from the community and Bambu Lab quickly showed that the cable could even be damaged during transport. The Bambu Lab team quickly made the A1 Heatbed Cable Protector stl. Users could print this small part and reinforce the cable at its weakest point.

Sturdy internal packaging for the Bambu Lab A1.

Going above and beyond

That wasn’t the end of the story, to ensure nobody lost their Bambu Lab A1 printer, and house, in a fire. Bambu Lab started opening up all Bambu Lab A1 printers in their warehouse, checking and reinforcing all those units to ensure safer transportation. Users were urged to check and send pictures of their cables, offering free returns and refunds if users had a damaged unit. The community was in uproar, doubt started spreading and we all just wanted to print cool things.

Bambu Lab then did the insane thing of stopping all sales and recalling all Bambu Lab A1 printers, if you wanted to return it. Customer support was checking tickets and pictures of users as not all models were damaged upon arrival. But the Bambu Lab A1 was no more, the rollout of the A series that was the A1 mini and A1 had halted.

And now, several months later, the Bambu Lab A1 is back, better, and stronger. The reinforcement on the cable is insanely sturdy and guides the cable in a fluid motion. The packaging has changed somewhat and assures the soft handling of the carrier cannot in any way damage the cable. Good job Bambu Lab, good call.

The reinforced heatbed cable for extra protection.

Bambu Lab A1 Combo review conclusion

The Bambu Lab A1 Combo puts more pressure on the competition in the 3D FDM printing space. And that’s what we like to see. The A series is the ideal introduction to the addiction that is 3D printing. The entry level is so low you will just start printing things you need or want. The tools are there for you to learn more and grow your knowledge about specific settings or even designing. Bambu Lab has a huge Wiki where we have lost ourselves in, just to figure out what a single setting does and the impact it can have.

But you don’t need to do or know that, the knowledge is available if you want to learn. You can just be happy with finding models and printing them without any hassle and that is the beauty of Bambu Lab and the Bambu Lab A1 and their whole line-up. The Bambu Lab A1 is the perfect upgrade once you are hooked into 3D printing.

Upgrade to this awesome printer and start having bigger fun: Buy it here

Thank you Bambu Lab for the excellent support and opportunity to test the Bambu Lab A1.

Stijn Ginneberge

Posts published: 133

Gaming for me is about experiencing their stories, overcoming challenges, living in fantasy worlds and exploring alien planets. You can also find me in the local game store or on an airsoft field.