Written by Jacob B.
Last year Bambu Lab released its flagship printer, the Bambu Lab X1 Carbon, or X1C for short. The X1C showed itself to be an incredible machine for the price. Boasting groundbreaking features like micro lidar to check flow compensation, AI spaghetti detection, and breakneck printing speed, it took the maker community by storm! Then, Bambu announced their follow-up: the P1P and the excitement levels have gone through the roof. The P1P claims similar reliability and ease of use with PLA, PETG, and TPU at less than half the price of the original X1C.
I got my hands on an early model for testing and it did not disappoint.
I’m not the first or the last person to say that setting up the Bambu Labs P1P was an incredibly simple task. Cut some zip ties, put in a few screws, take out a few screws, and bam you’re done. You can check out Bambu Lab’s official guide here.
The very first print I did was the included benchy file and I was incredibly impressed at the speed of this machine. Using TPU, my benchy was ready in only an hour, where other printers have taken nearly three times as long. The possibilities of rapid prototyping started to flood my mind and I was more than a little enthusiastic. Speed, however, wasn’t the only reason for my fervor, I was also incredibly excited to start printing with TPU!
For those of you who are new to 3D printing, TPU, or thermoplastic polyurethane, is an incredibly versatile and flexible material. Yes, you read that correctly: it’s flexible! You can finally create models that are squishy, flexible, or can be compressed. The reason I was unable to print with it before (even though I owned three filament printers) was because I had never had a printer with direct drive extruder before. Bowden tube systems have entirely too much tolerance and, as the extruder pushes the TPU in, can easily get bound up and simply stop flowing out of the hot end.
Once I had obtained a roll of Inland TPU I rushed to Bambu Slicer and sliced up a benchy of my own. After an hour I had my squishy benchy and I cannot praise the quality of this print enough! I didn’t have to dial anything in, and it came out nearly flawless. Once I get the retraction settings down, I have no doubt I will be printing lots of TPU parts. Future possibilities aside, I think it’s high time to get to what I’m really excited about: rapid prototyping!
I, like many people, can be a bit messy. Every time I would get out a tool, it would end up on my work bench where my printers live. This can quickly add up to a pile of tools. As my husband and I share a space for our hobbies, I felt it pertinent to find a solution that would help the both of us. I want to be able to store all my frequently used tools in a place I can readily see and access them without taking up valuable real estate. So, I looked back to an age-old answer: pegboards. However, a lot of the tools I use can’t easily hang from a hook.
That seems like a job for 3D printing! I got to work with my favorite CAD software, Fusion 360, and started designing solutions. And this is where that rapid prototyping came into play. I was quickly able to change and iterate on my design as flaws became apparent. For example, at first, I wanted space for 10 thumb drives. However, once I printed it, I quickly realized I had crammed the receptacles in and there was no way to have any two drives next to each other. I made some alterations to the design and while the end result can only fit five drives in, it looks and performs better than expected. I made a few more slight alterations to a few of my designs and what would have been a weeklong project was finished in less than a weekend thanks to the speed of the P1P!
The freedom to iterate is incredible and I have been chasing faster and faster print speeds for years now. And yet, using a printer that can print at these incredible speeds is also somehow teaching me patience. For example, if I have a print that’s going to take 3.5 hours and I’m about to go to sleep, I’ll likely slow the print speed to silent mode. The result will be marginally better, and It’s changed nothing about my evening. It just results in a better print!
The Bambu Labs P1P is definitely the start of the next generation of 3D printing, delivering on an inexpensive, mid-tier printer with incredible speeds and quality. 3D printing has come a long way since I first got into the hobby, and I am incredibly excited for this new generation of 3D printers and beyond. Happy 3D printing!
Seeing how the P1P performed in the store inspired me to get the P1S (which is the P1P with the enclosure). It's probably one of the most exciting things I've purchased in a long time. I'm working on making cosplay props and it's been insanely fun to just be able to build something and then have it manifest in real life.
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