I Bought a Bambu A1 Mini Even Though I Know What I Am Doing

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Writing these sorts of blogs is starting to feel like a tradition, and it would feel weird not to do it. I buy a thing. I don’t know what I am getting myself into. I write about what I am expecting and hoping for. I did this when I bought my first wooden 3D printer. I did it again when I bought a Shapeoko CNC router. I did it when I bought an electric unicycle. I did it again when I bought a LumenPNP pick and place machine.

Stable Diffusion 3D printing guy

The Bambu A1 Mini is different. It isn’t my first, second, or third 3D printer. I also can’t decide if I chose the A1 Mini because I know what I am doing, or in spite of the fact that I know what I am doing. That is assuming I really do know what I am doing!

At this point, I have only placed my order for a Bambu A1 Mini. It says my printer is supposed to ship before December 8. That is just over a month from now.

The Bambu A1 Mini should be an amazing printer for beginners!

It wasn’t that many months ago where a beginner had to either pick a good printer than would do most of the calibration work for them, like a Bambu X1C for $1,200, or a decent but inexpensive printer with a bit of a learning curve, like the Sovol SV06 for $250.

It is true that Bambu won’t yet sell you the A1 Mini without the AMS filament changer unit, but Bambu says that when they do, the A1 Mini will be priced at $299. That gets you all of the awesome hand-holding of the Bambu X1C for only a little more cash out of your pocket compared to the Sovol SV06.

NOTE: I am aware that this is a Sovol SV06 Benchy video and not a Bambu A1 Mini. I don’t yet have an A1 Mini to record a video.

It may not be obvious to you if you have never owned a 3D printer, but r/fixmyprint and r/Sovol over on Reddit are both overflowing with new users who don’t know how to correctly dial in their first layer. A significant portion of those posts explain how frustrated they have been spending hours trying to figure things out without success.

In my opinion, almost the entire price of the Bambu A1 Mini is worth it for a new user not having to spend the time learning how to calibrate your z-offset.

I stand behind everything I have ever written about the printers from Sovol. They were an amazing deal, and if you need a larger printer, they are still a good value. Bambu has really shaken things up six months after I picked up my refurbished Sovol SV06 for $159.

Let’s move on to talking about me. I know how to calibrate my z-offset. I had my Sovol SV06 printing a nice first layer in less than 15 minutes. I have done this hundreds of times. Once you get that first layer dialed in, you may not have to touch it again for months.

Every now and then, though, my first layer on the Sovol SV06 or Prusa MK3S will be a little extra squished if I run two prints back-to-back. Things expand and contract as the temperatures change, and the longer the bed is heated, the more parts in the bed take on that additional temperature. The Bambu A1 Mini’s perfect first-layer calibration will mean this won’t happen to me ever again. Any small improvement in the reliability of print jobs will encourage me to waste less time keeping an eye on the printer, and I consider my time to be valuable. You should value your time as well!

Bender MINI 13 on the Sovol SV06

I bought the Sovol SV06 because friends were asking me which 3D printer to buy, and the Sovol SV06 seemed like the printer to recommend. I didn’t feel great having to explain that it looks like an amazing printer, but I haven’t used it myself, so I have to make the recommendation based on what I have heard from others.

The same is true of the Bambu A1 Mini. It is so obviously the 3D printer for people new to the hobby, but I haven’t used one, and I don’t own one. I feel like I need to correct that problem.

Why did I buy such a small printer?!

Some people buy a Bambu X1C, open the box, and immediately print a Mandalorian helmet to stick on their own head. If that is you, then maybe the A1 Mini is the wrong printer for you.

The vast majority of the parts I print are much smaller than my hand. I could count on one hand the number of things I couldn’t print because they wouldn’t fit on my Prusa MK3S. I am sure that number would be even larger with the 180-mm bed of the A1 Mini, but it still wouldn’t be all that large!

I am much more excited about iterating on my own designs quickly. So many things that I print on my Sovol SV06 are finished 10 to 20 minutes after hitting the upload and print button in PrusaSlicer. It helps that I have set up Marlin’s input shaper on the Sovol and upgraded to a 0.6-mm nozzle.

Bambu A1 Mini build plate with a Gridfinity Pliers holder bin

The Bambu A1 Mini is large enough to print the biggest Gridfinity bin I have ever printed. There is enough room for a 4x4 bin or grid.

My SV06 is about three times faster than my Prusa MK3S. That means I can print three or four iterations on my hot-rodded Sovol SV06 in an hour to test fit a part, whereas it would take all afternoon to do the same on the Prusa MK3S.

The Bambu A1 Mini may be up to twice as fast right out of the box as my Sovol SV06, and I have put a lot of hours and work into dialing up the speed on the Sovol. Being able to iterate on a part five or six times in a single hour is going to be fantastic!

NOTE: I imported my Sovol SV06 input-shaping profile into Orcaslicer. I figured it would be easier in the long run to use one slicer for both printers, and Orcaslicer supports the Bambu A1 Mini. My aggressively tuned SV06 with its 0.6-mm nozzle printed my Orcaslicer test part in 8:46. The fastest profile for the A1 Mini with its 0.4-mm nozzle estimated just over 13 minutes for the same part.

I am also excited about the multicolor AMS unit

The AMS module for the A1 Mini is interesting. It looks fairly small. I have been guessing that it looks to be about three spools of filament wide, and maybe about two spools deep. That’s pretty compact, especially compared to the huge AMS for the Bambu P1S and X1C.

The trouble is that the new AMS won’t just stack on top of your brick of a printer. My setup with the A1 Mini won’t be as tall as a Bambu X1C combo, and it will probably take up less depth on the shelf, but I expect my setup will be wider than a Bambu X1C. I will understand this better when I see it in person.

Printing multiple colors will be a neat trick. I am sure I will print some fun toys and trinkets in four colors, but that isn’t what I am excited about.

I am excited about printing support material interface layers for PLA prints using PETG. You can dial down the separation between supports and the print so that they are touching, and the PETG won’t stick well to the PLA, so you can just pop it right off. From what I have seen, the supported underside of those PLA prints is almost as clean as if they were printed right on the bed. How awesome is that?!

I am excited about trying ABS prints on the Bambu A1 Mini!

I don’t print all that much using ABS filament. ABS is one of the more durable filaments, doesn’t require extreme temperatures to print, and it doesn’t wreck brass nozzles. It is also one of the few filaments that will survive when sitting on the sunny dashboard of my car here in Texas.

Bookbag hooks on the Sovol SV06 in PETG

NOTE: I usually print these in ABS, but I bought my first spool of PETG, and I figured they would be a good test print. I just picked a PETG filament profile, made sure the flow rate limit was up around 20 cubic mm/s, and hit the yolo button at 28-minute Benchy speeds on the Sovol SV06. I thought they came out all right for zero tuning for PETG!

ABS filament isn’t supported on the A1 Mini, but I want to try it anyway. The A1 Mini’s bed can reach 80C, and I used to print ABS on my original printer at 90C, so maybe I can get away with that. Most of the parts that I print in ABS are rather small, so I am expecting it will work out all right.

The A1 Mini’s hot end can reach 300C. That is way more than you need for ABS. That is hot enough to print nylon.

Why not the Bambu P1S with an AMS?

The short answer is some combination of timing, cost, print volume, and the fact that I just can’t buy every 3D printer I would like to own. The P1S combo for $940 was released several months after I bought the Sovol SV06. I also have friends running Bambu P1P and Bambu X1C printers. I have watched them print. I have no worries about recommending these printers to people.

Stable Diffusion 3D Printer Guy

I can’t find any actual timing numbers, but everyone seems to be saying that the new AMS Lite can change filament significantly faster than the original Bambu AMS. If you are printing with all four colors, this can be a HUGE deal. It takes the original AMS more than 30 seconds to swap filament.

If you run a print job that has to change colors four times for every layer, and that print is 200 layers tall, then the original AMS would spend more than 6 hours on just filament changes. Trimming just ten seconds off each filament change would shave two hours off the print time.

I like the idea of spending half as much for faster multicolor prints.


I could write so much more. I am way too excited about my Bambu A1 Mini order, and I can hardly wait for it to ship. I figure I should probably stop speculating on my future here, because I don’t have any data or photos to back myself up, right?!

This isn’t really a conclusion. I haven’t even started yet. My Bambu A1 Mini won’t even ship for another four weeks. This isn’t the blog about how awesome the A1 Mini 3D printer is or isn’t. This is the blog about why I made this choice, and what I expect to come of it.

What do you think? Will I keep using my Sovol SV06, since it might be 10% faster than the Bambu A1 Mini? Or will I only fire it up to print things that don’t fit on the A1 Mini, since the first layer of the Bambu ought to be more reliable? Are you upgrading from a Sovol SV06 or Prusa MK3 to a smaller Bambu A1 Mini like me, or have you already done so? Are you happy with your A1 Mini? Or should I have paid more for a P1S? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!