Thoughts on the Bambu Lab X1 Carbon Kickstarter?

It seems there is a new Kickstarter out there for a Bambu Lab X1 Carbon printer.

What do you think of it?

Looks incredibly interesting. Almost seems to good to be true until you see that most of the people working on it are former engineers for DJI. I feel like they’ll be able to pull off everything promised.

I would be backing it if a new printer was higher on my list of new toy desires.

I’m amazed it’s taken this long to start the thread!

The most informative video I’ve seen yet was the livestream with Bambu Lab and Edge of Tech. We got to hear about a lot of stuff straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were.

I’ve backed it for an X1Carbon. The non-delivery risk seems minimal, and the printer offers everything I was wanting from the Prusa XL, plus more. Bascially, I’m tired of fighting with my Ender-5 trying to figure out why it isn’t working this time.

I want a printer that just works. I think the XL is a big step towards that functionality, but I also think the X1 is a huge step towards that. Moreover, the X1 looks like it’s going to be a better machine for ABS, and I do a lot of ABS. (I use my printer for droid parts, which means I want something that’s easy to join and sand. ABS is a pain in the butt to print, but once it’s printed it’s way easier to finish.)

Yeah, the X1’s print bed is smaller than the XL’s, but 36x36 isn’t minimally useful; most of what I’d want to print that wouldn’t fit on a 25x25 bed needs a 50x50 bed.

Finally, the XL is about half the price.

The AMS is cool, and if they get fail-over for spool runout working it would actually be useful, but leaving that for a six months or a year down the line seemed better, financially.

Kickstarter … honestly have never had one deliver what was promised, even with bigger companies. While it’s nice to back projects I’m much more inclined to wait until someone else gets to be the beta tester to get all the bugs work out before I shell out my $$. Been stung one too many times backing projects.

The consumer 3d printing market is worth several billion dollars a year. All projections are in in the double digits per annum for the forseeable future.
If you have established engineers, a ready supply chain, manufacturing and marketing wherewithal, why on God’s green earth are you monkeying around with crowdfunding?
It doesn’t seem worth the hassle to me. The whole thing smells like teen spirit, not grownup business.
As @Gerk implies, beta testers aren’t necessarily the same as investors, esp when the pitch is Prusa easy.

There sure do seem to have a ton of stuff in there though. Does the company have any history? I can’t imagine this is going to be simple to source and build with reasonable quality control. LOTS of moving parts in this thing, but if they can pull of what they say AND still be able to ship units to keep up with demand it should be pretty darned impressive.

I kinda want, but the128-filment option is not for me. Is there a basic dude model?

End of day: it’s a core xy machine. Will they sell their firmware to the unwashed with less high bred machines?

Okay, I don’t know what you mean by “128 filament option.”

If you mean the AMS, that links up to 4 AMS units to get you up to 16 spools, not 128. And yes, you can buy a printer without an AMS.

If you’re referring to some sort of hardness or what have you, yes, you can by the X1 version (as opposed to the X1 Carbon) which doesn’t have a hardened nozzle.

If you mean something else… well, you’ll have to expand your thought, then, because those are my best guesses.

Bambu Lab itself is a new company, but the main people behind the company are from the team that build DJI drones. So they’ve experience with creating successful startups.

As for Kickstarter… well, there are three explanations that come to mind.

  1. It’s a good tool for generating hype; and for generating initial orders while they work on geting a webstore set up.

  2. They have loans but not steady capital; Kickstarter and crowdfunding are a good way to generate a pool of capital they can use to service the loans. (They obviously don’t need startup money.)

  3. It’s all too good to be true - perhaps there are only a couple dozen actual printers, we see around twenty in their office (on livestream, so we know these are different machines than the ones YouTubers have) plus maybe a dozen in the hands of various YouTubers. But maybe that’s all there is, and KS is either a naive bid to raise funds to build actual printers, and the shipping time promise is wildly optimistic. Or for the cynical, it’s all a hoax to generate a quick turnaround and then they’re gone!

Personally, I think #3 is unlikey. My opinion is that #1 and #2 are much more plausible scenarios. But I could be wrong, I’ve no special insight.

I don’t think it’s #3 either … but I’m a bit cynical about the shipping times and that they have enough product in place to meet the demand, because if they deliver even part of what is advertised it will be high demand. Time will tell.

Creating the technology and full-on production are very different beasts, especially with the supply chain issues and chip shortages we’re currently seeing. I’m still SUPER trigger shy about anything to do with Kickstarter. Not that I don’t trust them, I don’t trust anyone on a platform where if they fail there’s no way to get recompense.

The way they are talking about things on Kickstarter and that they will be delivering the units to backers in July makes me think that they already have a bunch of units and that they have the pipelines already there … but let’s see what happens.

I’d have to rewatch the videos to find it again, but I’m pretty sure they said they had a few hundred units already completed before they launched the KS. The implication is that this is why they aren’t doing stretch goals or anything like that: a lot of the units are already boxed up.

I don’t know that for certain, of course. That’s just my guess.

A couple of things about DJI make the short hairs on my neck stand up. the stuff is way too cheap. they ask for too much trust and it feels as if they are trying too hard to ensure people buy them while demanding this trust and makes me feel like there is a different goal than just selling me products kinda like the feeling I get from Facebook actually. I Didn’t mean to reply directly to you @VagabondElf it was just a response to the DJI engineer’s comments

No worries; I actually find this post really interesting!

I don’t use Facebook, so I don’t know what Bambu has said over there. Also - just to be clear, when you say “the DJI engineer,” I assume you’re referring to Dr. Tao, who helped set up DJI and is now the CEO of Bambu Labs. (It’s possible that someone who is still working for DJI has commented and that might put a different spin on things.)

Anyway, assuming you’re talking about your reaction to Dr. Tao’s comments, I find it interesting because I’m having the exact opposite reaction. I feel that what’s been said on Bambu’s blog and in the KS comments and on the Edge of Tech livestream - those are the main sources of my information - is being very open and transparent about what the company is doing, what’s ready to go, and what needs a bit more work. I don’t feel they’ve demanded trust from me at all - rather, they feel like they’re going out of their way to make sure I know as much as practicable about the situation.

They are, without a doubt, aiming for the low-margin, high-volume business practice. I figure that’s a big part of why they went for the KS in the first place - yes, they have startup investors, but if they’re going for a low margin, economy of scale approach they need to get sales volume to end up in the black and the KS funding will be a welcome infusion. But the interest seems to be present, and it looks like they’re off to a good start.

My main worry is that it’ll turn out the shells are made in a factory full of Uighur slaves or something like that. Which would suck, hard. But beyond that - all the communication so far seems pretty open and honest to me.

So, I’d really like to know more, if you’re able to offer it, about what’s tripping your spidey-senses. Multiple viewpoints are always very useful, and maybe there’s an angle I haven’t considered.

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There are a few things specific to DJI which I understand probably should not be held against this company. with DJI they give you options on their consumer drones to share images but this has to be done through their platform and you must log into your facebook/twitter or whatever the social media platform is from within their app. You, as far as I can tell can’t just click share and your device’s OS then loads your login to the social site you want to use. it seems this app is acting as you with your credentials after the first time you use it.

They suddenly dropped play store support for their portable device app support which needs frequent updating this coincided with some added security google added to play store and DJI has made no statement or explanation. the company line is only to give you instruction on how to sideload updates from their site and bypass your phone’s security.

My Old DJI drone was an expensive larger less refined machine that was harder to use. Suddenly the new drones were an order of magnitude cheaper MUCH easier to use and very refined in everything to do with the drone and its functions but the software, for the user is still a hot mess of problems. every single update has propagated old bugs and sometimes presented new ones. The price is very low on them compared to other similarly capable drones.

I’ve looked at a few of these Carbon X1 unveiling videos it’s a very impressive machine but of note is that the hardware appears complete and very refined, but I gather there is no user connection other than WIFI, the unit needs to be connected to a network and their cloud service for regular operation and you have to have a BAMBU account. Although you can actually print your own designs without them being stored in the cloud via an SD card, it’s not clear if you can use their slicer on your models without being connected or if after the Kickstarter or sometime in the future, they demand everything come from the cloud. The price of this unit with the AMS system will be under $2k CAD when in the wild and not a Kickstarter which is a buy-the-market kind of price even without the Kickstarter promotion. unless they are somehow getting extra value for themselves that makes it worth it for them to leave money on the table. In their case, they are only using the Kickstarter as a marketing vehicle, the hardware is totally in its last iteration and they indicate they are in full production. The only thing left for them is the software, and that is the key to deciding how their customers are going to use it. DJI could do anything with their software that will significantly change the value of the equipment you’ve bought and own, it could be the same with this.

All very good things to hear about.

I don’t really know anything about DJI, other than to have done some casual browsing when I was checking out Dr. Tao’s bone fides. He has said, however, that he founded Bambu to “recapture the excitment” of starting up DJI, or something along those lines. There’s kind of an impression that what he’s really saying is “the new boss is a jerk so I’m starting my own company.” Of course, that could just be me seeing what I want to see. But my feeling is that Tao left DJI because he didn’t like what the company was doing, which gives me some confidence that Bambu won’t go in a similar direction.

Every single reviewer and influencer has said you can use the printer totally off-line, once the initial registration is done. That makes me pretty certain that the slicer will work offline.

I am a bit concerned about the way the software leans on the cloud… especially because Bambu is in China, and tensions between Canada and China are still high. There’s always the chance that something will go tits up on a geo-political level and screw all that cloud based functionality. And as you say, one never knows what the company might choose to do in the future.

But ultimately, that kind of worry is true in almost every consumer electronics. And, well, the risk seems small enough to be worth taking, for me.

Absolute worst case: my plan is to use it as an ABS factory, churning out parts for my R5-D4 build. I don’t expect to be using a lot of different filaments in it. So if I have to, I’ll just use plain old PrusaSlicer and feed it plain gcode once I’ve tuned in some generic ABS.

Still, I appreciate hearing your thoughts, they’ve been an important thing to consider! Thanks!

To me if you can accept the way it works when you get it then it should work for you the firmware is proprietary so if there is a problem they might not fix or want to fix then there is no other remedy other than that there’s no issue. STL files don’t really have enough information in them to be sensitive but the slicer, if it works from the cloud would mean you have to save your models to the cloud the remedy is just don’t use it but then a lot of features won’t work.