Since the early days of FDM desktop 3D printing and the rise of the Reprap project, many different 3D printers have appeared and the market is now vast. Today, we wanted to introduce you to another exciting addition that aims to set a new standard in FDM Desktop 3D printing: the new Bambu Lab X1 series. The line of FDM 3D printers officially hit the market just a few days ago. The Chinese manufacturer announced the printer before launching a Kickstarter campaign that will last throughout the month of June.
For those who haven’t heard of it, Bambu Lab describes itself as a “consumer technology company that focuses on desktop 3D printers.” The company is based in both China and Austin, Texas, and hopes to build next-generation printers to break down the barriers between the physical and digital worlds. The X1 is their first release. Before proceeding, please note that this product is currently funded through a Kickstarter campaign which does not guarantee delivery of a final product, it is entirely dependent on the money earned.
Promotion through Kickstarter
Historically, many 3D printer brands grew out of Kickstarter campaigns, and examples like Formlabs certainly paved the way. Although Kickstarter campaigns are typically used to fund ideas and help bring to life projects that have only reached the prototyping stage, the platform is increasingly being used differently today. Brands like Creality are now using the tool more as a marketing platform, as we’ve seen with the launch of the CR-30 printer. This means that some brands are launching campaigns for products that have already been funded, developed, and are now almost ready to ship.
In this case, Bambu Lab X1 R&D started in 2020 and involved the work of around 100 engineers, seven iterations and more than 750 prototypes. Now that the X1 series is developed, the Kickstarter campaign is quite short, as it will only run during the month of June and shipping should happen right after, in July.
Bambu Lab hopes to revolutionize desktop FDM 3D printing
Looking at the official website and Kickstarter campaign, the Bambu Lab X1 series promises to revolutionize desktop FDM 3D printing by offering a number of exciting features. These include great material compatibility, multi-material printing with its Automatic Material System, a robust chassis, and a refined user experience while maintaining an attractive price. The Automatic Material System is particularly interesting as it allows the use of four different filaments. Additionally, Bambu Lab plans to soon launch a hub that would make it possible to combine four of these AMS to print with up to 16 materials.
However, the main innovation of the Bambu Lab printers is the AI-powered calibration. Its goal is to ensure perfect calibration for reliable world-class printing. By using a force sensor, the printer can compensate for bed leveling ensuring perfect flow and Z-height calibration thanks to Lidar. In combination, these sensors should eliminate the need to check that the height of the first layer is positioned correctly and the baby step adjustments will be made automatically, thus eliminating the entire bed leveling process. Bambu Lab 3D printers also feature a camera that is capable of detecting print flaws such as spaghetti (loose filament extrusion caused by the printer separating from the print bed).
Lastly, the printers are equipped with an accelerometer, allowing them to actively compensate for vibrations. This means the printer can speed up and print faster while eliminating ghosting and ringing issues (artifacts caused by the print head suddenly changing direction) because the printer analyzes the frequency of vibrations caused by rapid accelerations and decelerations. thanks to the accelerometer and compensated by an algorithm. The X1 3D printers have a touch screen and a mobile application to always keep the user informed about the status of the printer and notify them in the event of a problem or failure.
Optimized for speed
As we mentioned earlier, Bambu Lab 3D printers use an active vibration compensation algorithm to allow them to print faster, but the manufacturer didn’t stop there. X1 printers are designed for high speed. To do this, they use ultralight carbon X-axis rails, a high-performance 40W ceramic heater to constantly melt the filament, a powerful 12W partial cooling fan, and a robust chassis.
Overall, the Bambu Lab X1 series seems to be an interesting and innovative project. Although we have already seen most of the features it improves on Voron 3D printers, this is the first time we have seen them implemented on a commercially available plug & play 3D printer. Hopefully Bambu Lab’s dream of making FDM 3D printing more exciting and accessible through an easier and faster printing process will inspire other manufacturers to compete. You can learn more about this here.
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*Cover photo credits: Bambu Lab