In a bold move, Bambu Lab is walking back its “no more Bed-Slingers” statement. The newly launched entry level A1 Mini is a cantilevered Cartesian machine – aka “bed slinger” – with a tiny footprint and a bespoke table mounted AMS unit.
Bambu Lab turned the 3D printing community on its ear in 2022 when it launched a consumer friendly four-color Core XY printer with insane 500mm/s print speeds. Makers flocked to the pricey X1 Carbon, and later praised the P1P and P1S, for their comparative affordability. But even the stripped down P1P, one of the best 3D printers, will cost a hefty $948 with a multi spool AMS feeder attached to it.
Retailing at $459 for the combo, and $299 for a stand-alone printer, the A1 Mini is superior to the original in many ways. The simplified AMS design eases potential jamming points and reduces the length of tubing filament needs to travel. Each spool is directly attached to a motor, which eliminates the need to re-spool during retraction. The hotend is also simpler with a magnetic attachment point, secured with a clip, removing the need to re-wire and apply thermal paste to your machine when you swap nozzles. It’s also extremely quiet, with no loud fans and specially calibrated motors.
But the A1 Mini is decidedly in the compact range, with a 180 x 180 x 180 mm build volume. This will disappoint those hoping for a larger “max” size, which has been a predictable move by industry competition. Creality, Elegoo, Anycubic and even Prusa have been vying for the Biggest 3D Printer title with build plates ranging from 360 mm to 450 mm. Comgrow is the dark horse in that race, with a 500 x 500 x 500 mm monster 3D printer we’ve yet to review for lack of a table big enough to hold it.
Like the full sized Bambu Lab 3D printers, the A1 Mini has a top speed of 500mm/s, but “only” half its maximum acceleration rate at 10,000mm/s².
Each combo unit will come with a free “mystery box” maker project that will encourage the user to try out Bambu Lab’s new MakerWorld file library. The project will have a mix of simple electronics and 3D printed parts, with files located on Maker World. For example, our review unit came with the parts for a wireless mouse to print and build.
Tom’s Hardware is currently reviewing the Bambu Lab A1 Mini and in depth results will be posted soon.
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Denise Bertacchi is a Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering 3D printing.