Bambu Lab’s Latest Firmware Upgrade for the A1 Mini 3D Printer Tackles Air Printing and More

By on March 28th, 2024 in news, printer

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The A1 Mini 3D printer gets even better [Source: Fabbaloo]

Bambu Lab announced a firmware upgrade for their A1 Mini 3D printer that include several very advanced features.

Firmware version, which should be available via network download, has six advanced features, including:

  • Air printing detection
  • Build plate detection
  • Nozzle clumping detection
  • Remote SD card browsing

By far the most useful will be the air printing detection feature, because that’s a problem encountered by nearly every FFF 3D printer. Air printing occurs when the filament stops moving, but the printer doesn’t know it. The toolhead then moves dutifully around for the remaining six hours of your job, printing “air”.

Causes of this issue could include debris in the extruder gears, snagged filament, clogged nozzle or other factors.

How has Bambu Lab implemented this feature? It’s actually quite interesting. The (optional) AMS Lite 4-spool changing unit includes a filament odometer, so they can know how much filament has left the spool. This measurement is then continually compared to the expected motion of the toolhead extruder.

If the two measurements don’t match, then the filament has stopped or slowed down for some reason. Either way, the print is corrupted and has to be stopped.

Build plate detection is designed to prevent situations where the operator forgot to replace the build plate and the job is about to print directly on the heat bed. That could cause damage, and should be avoided. The new feature somehow detects the presence of a properly positioned build plate.

It’s not clear exactly how this is done. Bambu Lab explained that this feature works “on the official build plate (or build plate with exact same shape as the official build plate) only”. That might suggest there is some way they can detect each of the magnetic attachments?

Nozzle clump detection is perhaps the second most useful feature in this upgrade — if you’re not prone to forgetting your build plate. The idea here is that during the print job it is possible for bits of thermoplastic to accumulate on or around the nozzle. As the print proceeds this accumulation could drop off, forming a blob on the print and spoiling the finish.

The new feature checks for clumping after every eight grams of material has been printed. The check is performed by touching the nozzle to the build plate in an area without prints. By measuring the pressure on the nozzle it is possible to detect the presence of a clump. They don’t say what happens when a detection occurs, but presumably the nozzle goes to the wiper for cleaning.

Finally, there’s an ability to remotely manage the contents of the mounted SD card. This means that one can finally access the stored timelapse videos directly from Bambu Studio. Previously you would have to unmount the SD card, mount it on a PC, and extract the videos.

These are all excellent new and advanced features that absolutely make the A1 Mini even more powerful than it was before. By the way, you might be interested in reading our four part review of the A1 Mini, published a few weeks ago.

These firmware features echo those that were dispatched to the company’s larger A1 machine some weeks ago. However, due to the recall notice, no one should be using an A1 until the repair kits appear. This means that most people will see these new features on the A1 Mini.

Via Bambu Lab

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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