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Bambu Lab A1 with AMS behind it

Hands-On with the Bambu Lab A1 3D Printer: A larger version of the popular A1 Mini

At the Bambu Lab announced the A1 Mini with AMS color systemIt’s fair to say the 3D printing community was surprised. The Mini is aimed squarely at the entry-level market with its low price, small footprint and easy setup. The biggest criticism, however, was the smaller bed size. Bambu Lab has addressed this issue with the launch of the A1, a full version of the A1 Mini.

I spent a few weeks with the A1. Not enough time for a full review, but enough to know I like what I see. There aren’t any major differences between the A1 Mini and the A1, so don’t expect any major changes. For a beginner who wants color printing, a 256mm print area and the easiest setup imaginable, look no further than the A1.

The table shows that almost all key figures for the A1 series, whether Mini or A1, are the same. Both machines use the same interchangeable hot-end system, have a theoretical maximum speed of 500 mm/s and use the same software to operate. The only differences between these machines appear to be bed size, cost and the fact that the A1 can reach the 100°C bed temperature required to print ABS.

Bambu Lab A1 Mini Combo vs A1 Combo

A1 Mini Combo A1 combo
Build volume 180x180x180mm 256x256x256mm
Hot ending Interchangeable Interchangeable
Extruder type Direct Drive AMS (color system) Direct Drive AMS (color system)
Nozzle diameter 0.4mm 0.4mm
Maximum nozzle temperature 300°C 300°C
Maximum temperature of the building board 80°C 100°C
Official speed limit 500mm/s 500mm/s
Supported material PLA, PETG, TPU, PVA PLA, PETG, TPU, PVA, ABS
Automatic bed leveling Yes Yes
Filament runout sensor Yes Yes
Connectivity WiFi, app activated WiFi, app activated
Time lapse camera Just monitor Yes
slicer Bamboo cutter Bamboo cutter

Like the Mini Combo, the A1 was incredibly easy to set up, requiring about ten screws, two plugs and four pieces of pipe. Unlike the Mini, the A1 has a detachable power cable – which should be standard – and a cool LCD screen that folds away when you move it. It also has the same software as the Mini. So if you’re adding an A1 to your arsenal, you’re already familiar with the layout.

The A1 Mini Combo was already cheap at $459 (489 euros, AU$749) and the A1 continues this trend. The A1 and the AMS Lite color system It retails for $559, $150 cheaper than the P1S – my pick for that best 3D printer in 2023 – and a full $400 cheaper than the P1S/AMS combination.

The A1 has a “bedslinger” design that can be less stable than the P1S’s core XY, and the P1S’s chassis allows for printing at higher temperatures, so the two aren’t quite comparable. The P1S is a precision machine that the A series can’t quite match. Still, the price reduction combined with the AMS lite makes the A1 a tempting value proposition.

2 3D printed skulls with Santa hats and beards

Printing with multiple colors is an amazing thing.

James Bricknell/CNET

Despite my limited testing, I’m impressed with the A1 Combo. Color 3D printing used to be out of reach for most hobbyists. The color systems alone cost $600 to $700, and that’s without a printer to run them. Now you can buy the A1 Combo and print amazing models like these Santa skulls pictured above at a much cheaper price. If you were unsure whether you should get the A1 Mini Combo because the print area was too small, then Bambu Lab has solved your dilemma. Get the A1 Combo; It’s the A1 Mini, but bigger.

The A1 Combo will be available on Thursday, December 14th on Bambu Lab’s official website and Micro Centers in the US for $549, while the standalone version without AMS Lite will be available in a few weeks. Micro Center has long been a place to buy some of these best filament there isas well as cheap 3D printersTherefore, having Bambu printers available in-store is a huge win for both companies.