What was once being heralded as a game-changer for home 3D printers, is now being labeled a cautionary tale. Bambu Lab has announced a recall of its A1 3D printers. News began to trickle out late last week that the company had privately reached out to several 3D printing influencers to unplug their printers and await further details of a pending recall. The issue seems to stem from a potential fault in the heated bed cable. Per Bambu, the issue impacts “less than .1% of units” sold.
In a blog post published on the 28th, Bambu Lab addressed the issue of potentially damaged cables. Bambu states the issue stems from rough handling during shipping, the cable getting bent during installation, or being subjected to force after setup. In its updated statement published on February 4th, Bambu reiterated those potential causes but stated it could not say with “100% confidence” what the root cause of the problem was and issued a blanket call to A1 owners to stop using the devices. Prior to this second statement, Bambu stopped offering the A1 for purchase via its website, and according to Tom’s Hardware, Microcenter began pulling it from its shelves.
The updated recall post offers users two solutions: The first is to return the device for a full refund and an $80 voucher towards another Bambu printer. The second option for A1 owners is to wait for an updated heated bed, replace it themselves and claim a $120 voucher for Bambu’s online store. Bambu believes the new A1s and updated heated beds should be available in May.
Despite Bambu’s updated statement, the 3D printing community is still left with some questions. The most significant question appears to be why a potential safety issue in the A1 was disclosed to influencers first before reaching a wider audience. One can surmise that Bambu wanted to prevent the potential slew of bad press from a YouTuber’s printer catching fire, but what about the rest of us plebians?
Let this be a warning to 3D printer companies: Don’t slowly trickle out information about a potential safety hazard to the homes and businesses of 3D printing enthusiasts to favored influencers! While more outlets are reporting on this news and 3D printing forums are abuzz, there could potentially be a sizable portion of the A1 user base not yet aware of this recall.
For my own part in this ecosystem, I think it’s safe to say I will be a little more critical of how I look at a product whose announcement is awash in curated influencer praise. The same people who heralded this machine as the best thing since sliced bread also seem to be the only people important enough to learn that they can also catch fire.
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