What was once touted as a game-changer for home 3D printers is now labeled a cautionary tale. Bambu Lab has announced a recall of its A1 3D printers. Late last week, news broke that the company had privately reached out to several 3D printing influencers to unplug their printers while awaiting further details about an impending recall. The problem appears to be due to a possible fault in the heatbed cable. According to Bambu, the issue affects “less than 0.1% of units sold.”
In a blog post published on the 28th, Bambu Lab addressed the issue of potentially damaged cables. Bambu states that the problem is due to improper handling during transportation, cable bending during installation, or force applied after setup. In its updated statement released on February 4, Bambu reiterated these possible causes, but said it could not say with “100 percent certainty” what the root cause of the problem was and issued a blanket request to A1 owners not to use the devices to use more. Prior to this second statement, Bambu had stopped offering the A1 for purchase through its website and, according to Tom’s Hardware, Microcenter began removing it from shelves.
The updated recall post offers users two solutions: The first is to return the device for a full refund and an $80 voucher for another Bambu printer. The second option for A1 owners is to wait for an updated heated bed, replace it yourself and request a $120 Bamboo online store voucher. Bambu expects the new A1 and updated heated beds to be available in May.
Despite Bamboo’s updated statement, some questions still remain unanswered in the 3D printing community. The main question seems to be why a potential safety issue in the A1 was first communicated to influencers before reaching a wider audience. One can assume that Bambu wanted to prevent a YouTuber’s printer from bursting into flames, but what about the rest of us plebeians?
This is a warning to 3D printer companies: do not slowly leak information to popular influencers about a potential safety risk to the homes and businesses of 3D printing enthusiasts! As more outlets report this news and the 3D printing forums become abuzz, there may be a significant portion of the A1 user base who are still unaware of this recall.
As for my part in this ecosystem, I can safely say that I will be a little more critical when considering a product whose announcement is flooded with curated influencer praise. The same people who touted this machine as the best thing since sliced bread also seem to be the only people important enough to learn that they can also catch fire.