By Dan Ackerman
In just the past couple of years, 3D printers have evolved to become faster, more accurate and easier to use. One of the most-impressive recent releases is the Bambu Lab A1 (available at retail exclusively at Micro Center). This 3D printer, a big brother to the previously released A1 Mini, works with an accessory called the AMS Lite. The AMS, or Automatic Material System, lets you connect four different filament spools simultaneously to allow for easy multicolor printing. If you want to see the A1 and AMS Lite in action, demo units are set up at Micro Center stores everywhere.
See the Bambu Lab A1 and AMD Lite Combo at Micro Center
I've been playing around with the A1 and AMS Lite for the past week, and as a 3D printing veteran, I've been very impressed with the system, the print quality, the high speed and even the Bambu Studio slicing software. But, like any maker gear, there's always a certain amount of troubleshooting and tweaking to get the best results. Here are some tips for getting the most out of the A1, based on my initial hands-on testing.
When taking a file from the handy Bambu Lab makerworld.com website and importing it into the Bambu Studio slicer software, I'd occasionally run into an error message about having an incompatible printer. Turns out the software had jumped to a different printer model, possibly because of metadata embedded in the Maker world file. To fix this, just go to the upper left corner of the Bambu Studio app, pull down the nozzle select menu and select the A1.
When I first set up the A1, the Bambu Studio software didn't have a preset for the A1. It took a few days after the official release date for the software to be updated, so if you have an older version, go to the Bambu Lab website and make sure to download the most recent version, which now includes the A1.
The A1 is great for creating multi-color prints, but it does kick out a lot of waste material, leaving small scraps behind when switching colors. Fortunately, these tiny scraps are pefect for melting down in a silicone mold and making new things. I got a couple of inexpensive oven-safe molds, filled them with PLA scraps and made new thigns from them. Yes, kind of like those old molds where you'd melt down old, broken crayons into new ones.
Just fill the mold with scraps and bake at 350 degrees for 15 or so minutes. The scraps will melt and leave extra space in the mold, so you'll have to add more and repeat the process at least 3-4 times.
The AMS Lite system, which holds four different filament spools and connects to the A1, is amazing and the easiest multicolor printing I've ever experienced. That said, any mechanically complex system like this is going to need a little tweaking and troubleshooting, especially if you're using it for the first time.
I found that failed loading cycles for filament spools could be solved by withdrawing the filament and then re-loading it, manually pushing beyond the automatic take-up, until it reached the print head. Then I ran into an issue where my filament broke (I was using an old spool that had been left out for a long time), leaving some stuck in the long tube. Use tweezers to push down on the tube's connection to the print head to release it, then you can pull out any broken bits that are stuck inside.
The first things many people print with a new 3D printer are accessories for that very same 3D printer. The A1 has a lot of printable add-ons already, including a top mount for the AMS Lite assembly and plenty of containers to catch the waste scraps the system kicks off to the side.
I made a waste catcher box right away, although I want to print a bigger one now. And I also made a spool adapter for one old spool of filament I wanted to use that had a larger opening than standard spools.
Read more about the Bambu Lab A1 and AMS Lite:
Micro Center News Editor-in-Chief Dan Ackerman is a veteran of tech news publications including CNET and Gizmodo and has been testing and reviewing laptops for almost 20 years. He's also the author of The Tetris Effect, a Cold War history of world's most influential video game.
I'm a newbie in this space and this article is really useful. Thank you.
I need to print a waste catcher for my Bambu printer.
Too funny 🤣
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