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First hands-on experience with the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer: Fast fidelity

First hands-on experience with the Bambu Lab A1 3D printer: Fast fidelity

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Over the last decade, I’ve tested nearly two dozen 3D printers with varying specifications and prices. I’ve been using the Bambu Lab A1 for over three weeks and it consistently outperforms every FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printer I’ve used. This performance difference increases when equipped with the AMS Lite 4-color multi-spool filament system, which allows for super-easy multi-color prints.


  • Supported materials: PLA, PETG, TPU, PVA
  • Print Volume (HWD): 10 x 10 x 10 inches (256 x 256 x 256 mm)
  • Connectivity: MicroSD, WiFi, Ethernet
  • Dimensions: 15 x 16 x 17 inches (385 x 410 x 430 mm)
  • Weight: 18.3 pounds.


  • Easy to use, even for children
  • Integrated Bambu HMS diagnostic/help assistant “OBD2 for 3D printers”
  • Easy maintenance by design
    Motor noise compensation ensures quiet printing
  • Vibration compensation
  • Pressure monitoring/time-lapse camera
  • 3.5 inch color IPS touch screen interface
  • Includes WiFi, Ethernet and a MicroSD slot
  • Built-in filament runout, odometry and tangle sensors
  • Excellent recovery from power failure
  • Large print area of ​​10 x 10 x 10 inches
  • Various building boards available


  • ABS filament is not recommended
  • For full functionality, the Bambu Studio slicing software must be used (thank goodness the software is excellent and Mac/PC compatible).
  • Wastes filament when changing colors (this applies to most multifilament printers)

What is the Bambu Lab A1?

A close-up of the print head of the Bambu Labs A1 3D printer during the printing processCorey Foster

The Bambu Lab A1 is an FDM printer, meaning it lays down heated filament layer by layer to build structures that become the final models. The A1 borrows heavily from Bambu’s hugely popular (and groundbreaking) X1, which emphasizes speed and simplicity without sacrificing print quality. Like the existing A1 mini, the new full-size A1 can print up to 500mm/s, which is impressively fast even for larger and more complicated models.

This hands-on covers the A1 Combo, including the $399 A1 3D printer itself and the AMS Lite multi-filament system, which enables automatic color printing of up to four spools during a single print. While this system wastes some filament when changing colors, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an easier way to create color 3D prints.

Structure and design of the Bambu Lab A1 Combo

A close-up of the touchscreen display of the Bambu Labs A1 3D printerCorey Foster

When you open a typical 3D printer, you’ll find a jumble of loose bags and parts, as well as assembly instructions that read more like a puzzle than a manual. Bambu packaged the A1 to avoid frustration. The A1’s manual contains simple instructions and color-coded diagrams that correspond to the coded labels on the parts. The entire assembly process feels like putting together a LEGO set.

The finished Bambu Lab A1 Combo feels more like a high-end consumer device than a manufacturing tool. Assembly tolerances are tight – you won’t notice much wobble or play between components. The two-tone gray plastic reminds me of a Super Nintendo console – a realization that made the A1 so endearing to me.

Once assembled, it connected to my wireless router without any problem, and the Bamboo Studio software (available for macOS and Windows) found the printer immediately after checking the network. But you can also connect via Ethernet if you prefer that over a wireless connection or simply have a microSD card with you.

Bambu Lab A1 Combo 3D printing

Bambu Labs A1 3D printer with a running print on the bedCorey Foster

Combined with AMS Lite, the A1 simply does everything I asked of it and easily renders the most complicated and complicated custom CAD models I could offer it. On the whole, smooth surfaces, perfect color gradients and fine details were created without any problems. The A1 does it all at a remarkably breakneck pace. Out of the box, it printed a “SpeedBenchy” model in under 15 minutes, which rivals the best benchy printing I’ve achieved on other printers.

The key to much of this is the A1’s pre-pressure calibration and vibration compensation. Every time you start a print job, the A1 checks a variety of variables, from temperature to ribbon tension, and then compensates for any instabilities in the surface it is working on. The ability to automatically set new operating values ​​before each print, beyond typical bed leveling, coupled with a direct drive extruder and other premium components, allows the A1 to perform faster and more accurately than any other printer even close to $399. Dollars (or $559) as tested with AMS Lite) price.

Bambu Lab A1 Combo Experience

Aside from all the detailed models and multi-colored prints I fed it, the Bambu Lab A1’s biggest success is its ease of use. From the Bambu Studio cutting and painting software to the touchscreen interface to the convenient controls, I was never frustrated. It actually surprised me several times by recognizing manual operations I was performing, like loading new filament into the AMS Lite, and automatically assisting me with on-screen guidance or whirring motors.

I realize that’s not saying much coming from a guy who almost always has a 3D printer (or two) behind him, so I handed it to my 12 year old daughter and just gave basic instructions. She got to work in Tinkercad and created two small plates that were used to press heart shapes into foil when clamped. She had no problems loading the A1 profile base settings file into Bambu Studio. Splitting and sending her job wirelessly to the A1 was as intuitive for her as it was for me. Less than 20 minutes later, she was littering our house with pieces of heart-embossed aluminum foil.

So who should buy the Bambu Lab A1 Combo 3D Printer?

The best thing I can say about the Bambu Lab A1 Combo is that it consistently exceeds my expectations and needs, at a price that competing 3D printer brands can’t match. We’ll be updating our lists of the best 3D printers over the next few weeks, and this one is definitely worth including for its super-fast printing, dead-simple setup, and ideal mix of advanced features paired with convenience. The automatic calibration process is likely to save the average (or even advanced) user a lot of time and frustration by reducing bad prints. From the moment a user opens the box, it’s a fantastic overall experience.