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Bambu Lab P1P Review – I Now Love Printing Terrain Again

For a long time, I have hated FDM 3D printing and loved Resin 3D Printing. This is because I mainly print for miniature games and because I paint my prints when they are done. And for painting printed stuff, the detail is extremely important. If your FDM printed is not tuned perfectly, you get layer lines all over, which causes all kinds of problems when trying to paint the prints.

In short, I have wasted way too much time tinkering to try and get an FDM print that I find even close to acceptable in terms of quality. But I can happily say that those days are over. The P1P from Bambu Lab is an FDM 3D printer that prints great quality out of the box and does it at crazy high speeds. The Bambu Lab P1P has radically changed my view of what FDM 3D printing is and what it can do for miniature gaming. I think I have fallen in love with this machine. At least, I have fallen in love with FDM printing, something I doubted would ever happen.

In this Bambu Lab P1P Review, I will go through my experience setting up the P1P and using it out of the box for printing terrain for miniature wargaming and other miniature gaming stuff. I will go through the pros and cons of this machine and what type of hobbyist this printer is best suited for. I will not review the printer from the perspective of printing with exotic filaments, even though the printer is capable of that.

In the end, I will compare the P1P printer to other similar FDM printers you might want to check out before you buy anything.

Review Copy Disclosure

Bambu Lab sent me this printer for review. I have agreed to review this printer, but I have promised Bambu Lab nothing more than that. No money has changed hands and Bambu Lab does not get to approve this article before it is published.

You can read more about our Review Copy Policy Here (TLDR: I take this stuff very seriously)

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What to look for in a good FDM 3D Printer for Terrain and other Hobby tasks

Ease of use features

FDM 3D printing can be brutal. Having to fight your 3D printer to get it to do what you want is not fun. Get one that helps you instead with auto bed leveling and other beginner-friendly features.

Balance of Speed and Print Quality

The speed of the printer can be super important to you, or it can matter very little. The quality of the prints can be super important to you, or it can matter very little. Often times speed will come at the expense of quality (but it is not always the case). Find the right balance for you.

Noisy or Silent?

Cheap 3D printers will often use cheap fans. Cheap fans are often extremely loud. The sound from the movement of the FDM 3D printer can also be extremely noisy. If you are going to sit next to your FDM printer, get something with a volume you can tolerate. Speed is often noisy.

Lifetime and quality of components

FDM printers are made up of so many small mechanical parts, which all have an impact on how it runs. A cheap printer will cost you troubleshooting time instead of money. The parts will also degrade quicker. That might be worth it for some, but not me.

Overview of the Bambu Lab P1P Review

Best 3D Printer for Terrain
Bambu Lab P1P
Pros:
  • Very easy to use
  • Extremely fine tuned out of the box
  • Can print amazing quality at very high speeds
  • Branded slicer that is actually good
  • Cloud and Wifi integration that now (mostly) works
Cons:
  • Ancient UI on the printer itself
  • Build with proprietary parts
  • Very noisy
  • Data privacy issues and cloud breakdowns
Get from Bambu Lab
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The Bambu Lab P1P printer is the successor to the Bambu Lab X1 Carbon 3D printer, which was a massive Kickstarter success. The P1P version is in many ways a stripped-down cheaper version of the X1. At first, I was a bit bummed by the comparably high price tag of the P1P at about $600/£550/€650, but after having tried it I now understand why it the about double the price of “bedslingers” with similar features and size. It is simply better that good.

Terrain from Imperial Terrain printed and used in the Bambu Lab P1P Review
Terrain from Imperial Terrain

The P1P is a Core XY machine, which is similar but yet very different from the many “cartesian bedslingers” you will see in the very cheap end of FDM printers, like the similarly fast and (mostly) easy-to-use Kobra 2 I reviewed.

The P1P printer has a build volume of 256 x 256 x 256 mm and is advertised at a print speed of 500 mm/s, but the actual print speed is more like 250 mm/s. The P1P is known for its speed and accuracy, with some reviewers calling it “ridiculously fast”. I was certainly skeptical because I have experienced firsthand how far the promotional numbers and sales pitch stray from the truth.

The P1P has no side panels and depending on the filament you print with, that can either be a deal breaker or something you won’t miss at all. I want to print cheap terrain for gaming fast, so standard PLA works extremely well. It is more than durable enough for the gaming table and with PLA there is no need for side panels (the panels are mainly there to keep things nice and warm, but PLA does not require that type of enclosure to print well).

Bambu is touting this machine as printer you can “personalize” (hence the P for “Personal” in the name), by printing your own side panels. A bit gimmicky, but I am tempted to print some cool panels anyway. You can also buy the Bambu Lab P1S, which is the same as the P1P just with side panels. Oh, and you can bundle the P1S with the AMS system to print multiple colours on the same print.

The nozzle of the P1P touching the bed when doing auto leveling
The nozzle touching the bed when doing auto leveling

The P1P has an auto-leveling feature, where the nozzle actually probes the bed. This makes it more precise than other methods I have seen where it uses a probe that is offset of the nozzle and then tries to calculate the offset value. Here, z-zero is actually 0. If you have ever tried messing with a 3D printer and damned the Z-offset to damnation, the Bambu Lab printers are for you. The P1P also boasts ways to mitigate the effects of the vibrations from the machine when going at high speeds, as well as a few other tricks to make sure it can print precisely and fast at the same time

The stuff besides the printer. Very little needs to be assembled
The stuff besides the printer. Very little needs to be assembled

The P1P requires very little assembly. In fact, you have to pull out more screws than you have to put in. You pull off a bit of tape, attach the spool holder and the screen and remove some screws that are there to make sure nothing misaligns in shipping.

Remove the screws marked with red
Remove the screws marked with red

The screen is a monochromatic screen without touch. If there is one thing that feels cheap and not well designed about this machine, that is it. While you could make the argument that the wifi/cloud delivery of files to the printer from the excellent Bambu slicer mitigates this issue, it is still extremely weird to have this ancient design on a printer this expensive. I know it is a way to cut corners, but still. The UX on the machine itself feels ancient when compared to even super cheap printers.

Screen on the P1P is black and white and not a touch screen
Screen on the P1P is black and white and not a touch screen

The printer is mainly used via the Bambu Slicer and sent files via the cloud. You can also use the small SD card instead if you really want to. There is also an app to monitor the printer and sent notifications once the print is done.

Speedy 3D FDM printers tend to make a lot of noise, and that is also the case with the P1P. While I can just about cover the noise with my noise-canceling Sony Headphones while being 3 meters away, it is not pleasant. When going fast it vibrates, the belts can scream and pulls makes a racket and the fans spins very loud at an annoying pitch.

My quick take on the Bambu Lab P1P

While there is no doubt that resin is much better for detailed prints, it is not the best for big prints like a terrain piece.

  1. First of all, there is the cost of the resin. Printing a massive piece of terrain in resin is expensive. You can mitigate this somewhat by hollowing your prints, but if you have ever tried that, you know that it can come with some severe drawbacks.
  2. Resin is fragile unless you get a good resin. But sturdy resin costs a lot, so not the best option. If you are printing terrain, chances are someone else is also going to handle it. I would much rather have my gaming buddies throw around cheap PLA than cringe every time they do something stupid to my $50 immaculate resin mage tower.

    On the face of it, FDM 3D printing is the clear solution. It also has a much simpler printing process and post-process (if everything works as it should), so could be a great gateway into printing terrain.

    You can get cheap printers that can easily print PLA which is sturdy enough for terrain and a lot cheaper than resin. While not all printers can print a massive mountain, even on pretty small printers you can do some cool terrain.

    The problem of FDM printers are layer lines and print artefacts

    The standard layer lines of 200 microns (0.2mm) leave some very noticeable lines across the model. While looking at it is okay, it is so ugly when painted. On a terrain piece, you want to use quick paint techniques like drybrushing or speed paints. Both of these methods absolutely suck with layer lines, because the dry brush will pick up the lines and show them even more and the speed paints will sink into the pools. It looks unnatural and ruins any kind of joy I have with it.

    The solution would be to print at lower layer heights like 0.04 or 0.08. That presents 2 main problems:
  1. The tolerances in cheap FDM printers are fine for something like 0.2mm lines. It is easy enough to get a good layer to stick and get a good print. When you go below it, you introduce a host of different problems (and it can actually reduce detail). If your printer bed is off by 0.06mm, that is mostly not a big problem when printing at 0.2 layer height. But when printing at 0.004 layer height? That is a margin of error that is suddenly way too big. You need to solve those problems by tuning your printer, but this is hard work and you will be fighting your machine a lot to make it do what you want. You have to account for correct e-steps, volumetric flow, retraction, and having an incredibly precise bed level and gantry. That creates an even bigger barrier of entry for beginners, so not a route I can recommend to go down (I have wasted too much time trying to get cheap printers fine tuned). So even at very low micron layers, you will likely get layer lines anyway because it is hard to fine tune the printer.
  2. Most of the time printing fast means you get less detail. So to make it easier to print good detail on FDM you should go slower. But suddenly you have a heated bed and nozzle going for upwards of multiple days to get a print done. Depending on electricity prices, suddenly the economic calculations is not in the FDM printers favor. Also, when you have a failed print it can get catastrophic (so much wasted filament and hours down the drain).

So what do I want from an FDM printer to recommend for 3D printing terrain for complete beginners?

  1. To print out of the box without very little setup
  2. To have presets to be able to print very good detail with a minimum of fuss
  3. Ideally to be able to go fast, making printing at very low layer lines take less time than it otherwise would.

Getting something that is cheap and can do the above things have been… let us say a challenge.

When the P1P arrived I had a love/hate relationship with FDM 3D printing. The Kobra 2 made me sure that it was possible to print good-quality terrain fast, but that printer came with too many issues to make it worthwhile (for me at least). The out of box experience was bad and the finished prints did not have the quality I wanted. I really hoped that the P1P would actually just work, but I did not have high hopes for it.

After having used the P1P I love FDM printing. Just writing it feels insane because 6 months ago I loathed FDM printing. After having used this printer for about 5 months now, I must say I am extremely impressed with this machine’s prints and the overall user-friendliness. There is a reason it made a big impact on how I rank and view the Best 3D Printers for Terrain.

My P1P has been running a ton since I got it and I just cannot get enough. It is spitting out wonderfully printed terrain and I do not need to tweak settings or fear that the print will fail overnight and explode my printer. The first layer sticks every damn time, so I can just set a print and leave it while it does its thing. With other printers I have had to babysit it for at least an hour before I felt comfortable leaving it. And even then I felt pretty bad leaving them running overnight (something I have been dreading to do ever since “”The BLOB” happened to me). Not so with the P1P.

The dreaded blob of filament fail on my Creality CR10 S1 V2. It is an epic 3D printer fail.
Have you ever heard of the dreaded blob? What you see here is the blob. It can happen when a printer fails mid-print and keep extruding filament. The nozzle clogs, but keep extruding filament onto itself. The printer can break in multiple ways and can ultimately start a fire. This happened to my Creality CR10 S1 v2, an FDM 3D printer that made me quit FDM printing for a year.

If you have not tried the trials and tribulations of printing on a cheap FDM printer, this might just sound like how it is supposed to be. And you would be right, this is how it is supposed to be. But for the longest time, this has not been how it was.

There is a joke in the printing community that first 10 prints you do will be various mods to actually make the printer work. But this is thankfully not the way it is with the P1P. I have thought about printing the enclosure for it, but just to make it more bling (and maybe take some of the noise away). Other than that, it has been perfect and I do not want to change it with mods in any way.

The P1P is in short magical. And I am not saying this as some sort of hyperbole or to make you want to buy it. But this is actually the first FDM printer I would recommend to a beginner to get into terrain printing. Before this printer, I did not have any FDM printing guides or articles because I just thought this space was too cumbersome unless you really wanted to tinker. Now everyone can print terrain.

A tower from Castle and Forts Kickstarter
A tower from Castle and Forts Kickstarter

So wow, thanks to Bambu for lighting a fire under the FDM scene with the X1 Carbon and your other printers. Everyone is now trying to make similar printers with the Creality K1, the Ankermake M5c and many more to come.

The P1P works out of the box, the Bambu Slicer is actually pretty good, the presets are great and work, the detail of the prints is amazing and it prints fast.

My biggest complaint are the awful screen on the printer itself, noise, and the issues I have had with their Bambu Studio cloud stuff, but that got fixed via some support. Oh, and if data privacy on this thing is bad. So if you care a lot about that, the Bamub Lab ecosystem is not a great fit for you. And on that topic, the machine hardware is filled with proprietary elements, so you have to rely on Bambu to get parts for repairs.

If you can stomach the cloud nonsense, the proprietary parts and the archaic screen, the Bambu Lab P1P is an amazing machine. It gets my full recommendation for any person who wants to get started with FDM printing, especially if what they are looking for is printing terrain.

Best 3D Printer for Terrain
Bambu Lab P1P
Pros:
  • Very easy to use
  • Extremely fine tuned out of the box
  • Can print amazing quality at very high speeds
  • Branded slicer that is actually good
  • Cloud and Wifi integration that now (mostly) works
Cons:
  • Ancient UI on the printer itself
  • Build with proprietary parts
  • Very noisy
  • Data privacy issues and cloud breakdowns
Get from Bambu Lab
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Assembly and first setup of the Bambu Lab P1P

Grab your copy of the Resin 3D Printing Supplies Checklist?

The Bambu Lab P1P in the box
The Bambu Lab P1P in the box

If you have read any of my other 3D Printer reviews (like the Saturn 2 Review), you will know I go through the manuals very thoroughly. If you are a beginner and going through the manual step by step, that thing needs to be correct and explain things well. 3D printing manuals are in general quite terrible. They are poorly translated, so a lot of technical stuff gets lost.

For once, I do not have to use a lot of time going through the mistakes in the manual. It explains well what screws to pull out, everything has good labels and there are red arrows on the printer to indicate stuff. The biggest issues I could find was with the PTFE that could be slightly more precise as well as some wording that seems to be translated a bit awkward. No biggie at all, which is a blessing.

Manual of the P1P that does a good job of explaining everything
Manual of the P1P that does a good job of explaining everything. This is not always the case!

The printer is sturdy and stands firmly on the table. I like the black look, with black screws and everything. I made sure to put it on a very sturdy table, as I have seen just how much it vibrates. Even with a sturdy table, you might want to put a thick rubber sheet under it to reduce vibration noise.

Pairing the P1P via the “Bamby Handy” app worked fine. It was a much smoother experience than other wifi stuff on 3D printers before this, but it still had a few hitches where the manual and app were in disagreement on the order of things. At any rate, it got paired and connected to my wifi.

Note: to even get the P1P online, you have to accept the terms and if you want to print via wifi it will go through the Bambu Cloud (more on that stuff later…).

Bambu states that you have to use the old 2.4hz wifi band and not the 5hz or anything else. Right now my setup is a mesh system where it has 2.4 and 5hz built into the same network, and then the device picks whichever option is best for the current situation. It works with the my P1P, but your mileage may wary.

Turning on the printer I was greeted with an amazing sound: silence. No fan insistent on running while the printer is idle.

Make sure to remove the screws message on the P1P
Thanks for the reminder Bambu Lab

When booting up the dated black and white no-touch screen reminds me of the screws on the hotbed I need to remove and after that it runs the “Self-test” where it measures vibrations of various states it can be in while printing.

After that, it kindly reminded me that my firmware was out of date. I of course wanted to update it, but it did not work at all. It reached 0% of the download and failed, and no matter if I tried it via the Bambu Handy app, the Bambu Studio program, or on the machine it would fail in the same way. Ahh well, a “handy” time to test the support system. After a few back-and-forths with support, I got the firmware updated and have not had any problems with that since (see the section about Bambu Lab Support later for more info on how the support case went).

The first few test prints on the Bambu Lab P1P

With all of the boring stuff out of the way, let us get to printing!

Textured plate of the P1P

The printer comes with a flexible magnetic texture PEI plate (you can print on both sides). For beginners, this is absolutely the place to start. I also got a Bambu Lab cool plate with mine, but it is unlikely it will ever see use (for PLA and terrain it does not confer any benefits)

Normally I find it a bit fiddly to get these plates on and off, as they can be hard to align just right. Bambu has solved this by having a tiny tray for it in the back, helping it fit down to the bed nice and tight. The print volume of 256 x 256 x 256 on the P1P is not the biggest in the in the world, but for terrain it is good enough. I could print some pretty big things without having to split the print up into multiple parts.

Loading in the filament was easy, only hampered by the poor screen and UI on the printer. Seriously, why is it this bad Bambu? I also noticed right away that I had no way of extruding a specific amount of filament in the UI, making it a pain to calibrate e-steps directly on the printer. I had this exact issue on the Kobra 2, but luckily I have never had to calibrate the e-steps on the P1P.

While fiddling about in the menus I also noticed the Auto-sleep mode. Yes, amazing! When doing a print overnight the printer simply goes to a low charge sleep mode instead of standing there blaring with the fans on like other printers will. Testing the idle mode it drew very little power (in 12 hours the idle mode drew about 0.08 KW.h)

With the self-test out of the way and filament in, I simply pressed print on the Benchy test file that was on the SD card on the printer. Yeah, if you do not want to use the cloud integration or LAN mode to send files to the printer, it is done via old-school micro SD.

Test benchy done on the P1P
Test benchy done on the P1P. This is the fast and rough version, so not the presets I am going to use for my prints.

I noticed that the nozzle reached temperature faster than the cheaper printers I have used. After heating up, the printer purges quite a lot of filament and poops it out of the back. You can adjust it to purge a lot less, but I have found that the purge has been pretty useful for keeping an eye on the moisture in my filament, and while it might look like a lot of filament is wasted, it is mainly an issue if you print a lot of small things (as I do not). I think from 24 prints and 2 KG of filament used I have wasted only about 8.3 grams of filament doing the purge.

Filament purged from the P1P
Filament purged from the P1P. Note how clean the purge come out. When I used filament that was less dry, the purge would not look that clean.

I was advised that the printer would make a lot of noise when printing, but it was still a bit scary to hear and see. I have been used to running my FDM printers very slowly to up the detail level of the print, so I am used to any high noises to be a sign that something has gone horribly wrong. But here the noise is just a sign that things are working. When starting it violently slams a small metal thing in the back, wipes the nozzle, and then goes to town with a bed mesh level. The cool thing here is that it uses the nozzle directly on the bed, making sure that z-0 is actually zero.

Benchy test

While printing the first Benchy on the Bambu Lab P1P my review notes read “Scary fast. Wow, it vibrates a lot. That racket is infernal. It is beautiful. I might bein love…””

So here is a comparison with the Kobra 2 out of the box benchy and the P1P out of the box Benchy. In this is not even using the 0.08mm layer height I am going to use for my terrain prints!

Benchy out of the box test. Left Bambu Lab P1P. Right Anycubic Kobra 2.

Wow. This thing prints so damn well just from the factory. This is likely as fine-tuned as you could get most machines to be. The Kobra 2 and the P1P printed the Benchy in about the same amount of time, but the P1P is noticeably better quality.

Clearance Castle test from Makers Muse

I knew I did not want to print my terrain on the presets of 0.2mm layer height. It is just too big for my tastes. The lowest the presets go for the 0.4mm nozzle is 0.08. A bit sad that it did not go down to 0.04, but hey I wanted to see if this was good enough.

The presets for the 0.04 nozzle on the P1P range from 0.08 layer height to 0.28 layer height


I never got the Kobra 2 (or any other printer for that matter) to print the Clearance Castle to a degree of quality that I was satisfied with. Here are the results for the P1P 0.08 presets out of the box:

Clearance Castle Maker's Muse
Clearance Castle Maker’s Muse

Hot damn, it printed it with no problems. There are some bridge issues you could likely fine tune, but for me I can live with that if it means I do not have to fiddle anymore.

Some issues with making a bridge on the P1P
Some issues with making a bridge on the P1P

Various terrain and other prints from the P1P on the 0.08 layer height preset and 0.4mm nozzle

At this point, I was floored. The P1P printed better-looking prints out of the box than any FDM printer I have had in my hands. It actually printed better than things I have tried to fine tune! And it is fast at the same time!

At this point, I did not want to fiddle any more with it. I just wanted to print a lot of stuff now that I actually had an FDM printer that could print to a quality I liked. So I burst through 2kg of white filament from Bambu Lab and it all printed so damn smooth. Here are a lot of images of these with some commentary on the few issues there are.

Terrain from Imperial Terrain printed on the P1P at 0.08 layer height presets
Terrain from Imperial Terrain printed on the P1P at 0.08 layer height presets
Bunker from Imperial Terrain at 0.08 layer height presets. This has been sprayed black, dry brushed and had a few dabs of paint on it. You can clearly see the layer lines from the drybrush, but the camera highlights it even more. 0.08 is not perfect, but it seems to be the sweet spot between quality and time used for printing.
Bunker from Imperial Terrain at 0.08 layer height presets. This has been sprayed black, dry brushed and had a few dabs of paint on it. You can clearly see the layer lines from the drybrush, but the camera highlights it even more. 0.08 is not perfect, but it seems to be the sweet spot between quality and time used for printing.
Bunker from Imperial Terrain at 0.08 layer height presets. This has been sprayed black, dry brushed and had a few dabs of paint on it
Bunker from Imperial Terrain at 0.08 layer height presets. This has been sprayed black, dry brushed and had a few dabs of paint on it
Imperial Terrain at 0.08 presets
Imperial Terrain at 0.08 presets. Drybrushed and given weathering.
Probs and Beyond at 0.08 preset
Probs and Beyond at 0.08 preset
Probs and Beyond at 0.08 preset zoomed in
Probs and Beyond at 0.08 preset. Same as above, just zoomed in so you can see the details
Some paint organizers in the form of the Paintpal system
Some paint organizers in the form of the Paintpal system

I printed a lot of stuff. But then I had my first real fail. It was caused by the tube of the filament banging down inside the printer and causing the print to shift. So I needed to clean the nozzle, so decided to swap over to the 0.2 nozzle and test things out,.

My first (and only) failed print on the P1P. The tube for the filament sits kinda lose and had fallen dawn into the print area. This seems to be a common issue. I fixed it by tightening some things and making sure it is well up and out of the way of everything.
Fixing the issues with the tube on the P1P
Fixing the issues with the tube on the P1P just means making sure the tube goes upwards instead of sagging down into the printer

Testing the Bambu Lab 0.2 nozzle and fine tuning the 3D printer


I tried putting in the 0.2 nozzle and changed over to those preset. This time, it did not work as well. The filament did not stick and my guess was that I had to fine-tune the new filament with the machine.

The presets for the 0.2mm nozzle only go down to 0.06mm layer height

Here are my findings with testing the 0.2 nozzle and the Bambu Lab presets for the P1P:

  • The presets for the 0.2 nozzle are not nearly as well fine-tuned as the 0.4 nozzle. This makes sense as this is a rare use case (wanting FDM to print crazy good quality), but still a bit sad. Also, there is a big difference in how high the tolerance can be.
  • The presets for the 0.2 nozzle did not work that great. The change from a 0.4 to a 0.2 nozzle only gave me presets that went down to 0.06 instead of 0.08mm layer height. The difference in quality was very small between 0.08 and 0.06.
  • The difference in print time absolutely explodes with the 0.06 presets. A print that took about 13.5 hours went to take 2 days with the 0.06 presets. Now speed is secondary, but I do not like to make prints that take that long.
  • When trying to fine tune my own settings going below 0.06 layer height, it became clear that the tolerances of the printer are not made for this low of a layer height. It was very hard to get anything to stick. When it stuck, it would still create artefacts and fails leading to worse quality than the 0.08 preset.
The time to print a small piece of a castle on 0.08 presets with a 0.4 nozzle is about 13.5 hours of printing.
The same piece as above but with the 0.2 nozzle and 0.06mm layer height preset would take about 2 days. Not only are there more layers to do, but the printer has to move slower to make it work.

I tried printing some small bases to see if the difference in quality was worth the hasle of the 0.2mm nozzle or staying at the 0.4 nozzle was just better. You can decide for yourself, but my recommendation would be to stay with the stock 0.4 nozzle and 0.08 presets for terrain and just be happy with that. Going below is, right now, not worth it.

I have been told that a future update of the Bambu Studio might give us some better presets for the 0.2 nozzle, but we will have to see.

Based printed at 0.08 layer height
Based printed at 0.08 layer height. It is painted black and drybrushed. You can clearly see the layer lines and how the FDM printer struggle with round surfaces and organic material.
Based printed at 0.06 layer height and the 0.2 nozzle
Based printed at 0.06 layer height and the 0.2 nozzle. Fewer layer lines, but they are certainly still there. This take about 3 times as long time as the base above. It is better, but for big terrain pieces I would not go below 0.08 for now.

Bambu Lab Support and firmware update issues with the P1P

I had some issues with the firmware and updating it at the start. The firmware would try and update, but failed every time no matter where I tried to install the firmware from (on the printer, via slicer, or on the app).

With this older firmware, I was stuck with serious issues. Here are my notes about things, but I am happy to report they are all fixed on newer firmware:

  • Sending a file of a print that takes 24 hours via the slicer takes about 20-30 min to arrive on the printer.
  • The file often fails to send
  • The notifications do not work on the printer, as they arrive several hours later than they should.

With new firmware the notifications arrive almost instantly, files take about 30 seconds to 3 minutes to send to the printer and they never fail. So all that is great, albeit the download time on the printer is a bit slow (3 minutes for 20 MB could be a lot faster with a good router and internet).

Bambu Lab P1P failed firmware problem
Bambu Lab P1P failed firmware problem

But how was the support from Bambu lab? Not the greatest, but not the worst.

Here is a breakdown of how it went:

  1. Made the ticket and filled out all kinds of funky information.
  2. Got an immediate auto email with them being very busy. Okay, whatever.
  3. 4 days later they got back to me. They need a log file. Why not prompt me for the log file at the beginning, since it is likely something you always ask for?
  4. The P1P would not let me upload the log file. Had to manually upload them via a PC instead.
  5. After uploading the logs there was a quick response within a few hours. They sent me a firmware file. After flashing that firmware via the SD card, the printer would auto update and there has been no problem since.

So overall an okay support experience. I hate it when I wait for support, only for them to come back with their first email requiring more info from me. Let me know what you need to start off. Secondly, I would like for them to have firmware versions downloadable from their site without me needing to go through support. But other than that, fair enough wait times and overall fine experience. Nothing amazing, but not dreadful (as is the case with some other 3D printer companies).

Bambu Lab App, Bambu Studio Slicer, Cloud Integration, LAN mode and Data Privacy

So there is a host of things we need to talk about with this printer. The printer is designed to be used via Bambu Labs cloud service. This means that there is a slicer, an app for your phone and the whole thing really wants to run via their cloud service. So let us go over them step by step with my thoughts on each.

Bambu Studio – Bambu Lab’s slicer

Bambu Lab has their own slicer called Bambu Studio. As far as I can tell it is a slicer based on the Prusa Slicer.

Normally I am not a fan of using the slicer from the manufacturer a 3D printer. That is mainly because they are pretty bad, take away features, and are just not as good as slicers from companies that dedicate themselves to making this stuff.

I have been pleasantly surprised with the Bambu Studio slicer. It certainly takes a different approach to Prusa Slicer or Cura (the two I have been using the most) in terms of UI, naming things and how things are sorted. But after getting used to it, I am actually not missing anything from the other Slicers. In fact, I am in a place now where I add other FDM printers to Bambu Studio because I have gotten very comfortable with the slicer.

Once you have fired off the print via the cloud, you can close it down as the printer will download from the cloud. But take note of this – you are not sending your file from your computer to the printer. You are sending the file to a Bambu Lab server somewhere cloud-style (likely china) and then to your printer. Now if you can stomach the cloud part (and we will get to the data privacy later), this is not a big deal. But it does mean that your print history (and a ton of other data) is stored somewhere outside your control.

Bamub Lab Studio Slicer
Bamub Lab Studio Slicer

Also, what happens when this cloud service has a breakdown and starts your printer without your permission? Or what would would happen if Bambu Lab went out of business? Or if they suddenly decided to legacy your printer because of security concerns? Or take away features? Or hey, maybe the Bambu Cloud is suddenly a subscription service!

While some of these are unlikely to happen, the point is that they can happen. And you need to know that buying anything with a cloud service as an integral part of it is risky business. You know what you get today, but not what you have in a year or 10 years.

You can of course use another slicer, but I imagine it will give you a fair bit of trouble. Not to mention that one of the selling points of the Bambu Labs printers are their very finely tuned presets and the cloud stuff.

Bambu Handy – Bambu Labs app

I have been less impressed with the app overall. So we have Bambu Labs (the company), the Bambu Studio (the slicer) and then we have Bambu Studio – the app on your phone. Why so many names sounding the same?

The primary function, for me at least, is sending me a notification when the printer is done or when anything weird happens. Over time the app has gotten better at sending these notifications in a timely manner. It is pretty good at letting me know that the print is done, but it still has trouble getting me notified about a filament runout issue. And if it cannot do that, I cannot see much use for the app.

The Bambu Handy App
The Bambu Handy App

Yeah, I can see how far my print is on my phone and if I had a camera I could see some still images of the print. I can change the temperature of stuff and stop it. And with the new “model” section I could start a print from it. But most of the time I would need physical access to my machine anyway (removing prints, making sure it is ready, and monitoring the first few layers). Maybe someone likes to change the settings of their printer while far away, but I cannot see much benefit.

So for my use case at least, the app is pretty whatever. Other than using it to get the printer on wifi and get notified, I am not opening it at all (which could explain why it keeps having trouble sending my notifications).

Data privacy, Cloud integration, Terms of Use and LAN mode

So let us talk about some data privacy. To use the P1P I had to set up a user and comply with the Terms of Use, the Privacy Policy and the MakerWorlds Terms of Use (because that marketplace is connected to the app). As far as I can tell, there is no way to get the printer hooked up to wifi unless you go through these steps.

So it is clear that if you do not want to agree to these terms, you should not buy a Bambu Lab printer. What exactly is in these things you agree to? Well, some pretty nasty stuff. From a quick skim this is what I picked up on:

  • It is pretty clear they will be collecting all the data they can get out of your machine. This includes: IP address, network activity and all printing data. They say they only collect stuff from your camera if you say it is okay, but companies have lied before. If you feel uncomfortable with this, maybe do not get a camera for your printer.
  • If you login via Google, Facebook or what have you they will scrape some data there (you should actually never use that as a login method).
  • You can ask for Bambu Lab to delete your data. But they reserve the right to not delete all of it. As an EU citizen, I am pretty sure they are obliged to delete all my data if I want them to.
  • It is very likely that your data will flow across continents and countries, and it would not surprise me if this type of data is getting sold to third parties without you knowing about it.

Is there anything you can do about it? Sorta, but not really. There is a LAN mode…

LAN mode instead of Cloud mode

You can set up your printer so it is not connected to the cloud, this is called LAN mode (Local Area Network). but you can still control it from devices on the same network as the printer. On releasem LAN mode was not on the P1P, but with a firmware update it is now there. LAN mode makes it so you can use the printer if/when the Cloud goes down or try to use it without the cloud.

I have only done a limited test of LAN mode. Here are my notes:

  • Overall the LAN experience is not great. When you turn it on, you lose access to the printer in the slicer and on the App.
  • You can then bind the printer to the slicer again.
  • The app does not work on LAN mode.
  • As far as I can tell, the video does not work in LAN mode (I do not have a camera so could not test)
  • Windows firewall does not play nice with the LAN mode.
  • You will not have any print history.
  • You have to get the printer on cloud mode to update the firmware.
  • When you want to connect to the cloud again, you have to reconnect it via the app.

Overall it is a pretty bad experience and feels very much like it was bolted on later in the design process. It is possible to update the firmware via USB, so why not give us the option of downloading it from the website? Right now this mode feels very incomplete. I understand not having access to the app (which is very much an online thing), but the other issues reflects poorly on an otherwise great printer.

My advice would be to not get this printer thinking the LAN mode will be the way to go. If that is what you want, I would look for another printer.

You can also look into rooting your Bambu Lab and run some other firmware on it, but I have done no testing on it.


3D printed Bloow Bowl board
3D printed Bloow Bowl board

Onboarding, manual and getting started with the Bamub Lab P1P

Overall Bambu Lab has done an extremely good job of onboarding beginners and making sure this FDM printer is actually user-friendly.

First is the experience of unpacking and setting it up. I simply followed the manual and there was no issues. Red arrows for the screws that needed to be taken out and connecting the printer to wifi worked fine.

I have been pleasantly surprised with the various videos in the app, the tips in the slicer and the way they have Bambu Lab has constructed their ecosystem. It is clear a lot of money and research have gone into making an amazing printer and having that printer be an amazing experience to use. This is fantastic, as the experience part often gets neclected.

How you can fine-tune the P1P

So, there is no way to adjust the bed if it not level. Luckily, it does not seem that unlevel and the mesh system works good enough to not give any problems.

But there are times when I needed to fine tune the machine, especially if the filament was wet. One thing that was amazing to see was that the purge of filament can be a good indicator on how much moisture is in the filament you are using. So I have a visual indication that this is likely going wrong because the filament is wet.

Purged filament from the P1P
The purge of the white filament is very clean and there no problems printing with it. The blue filament was very wet and there was tons of problems with it. You can see the purge of the blue looks very funky. After some dry time the blue filament worked much better.

But if you want to fine tune the printer with a new filament that is causing trouble, there is a calibration area of the slicer. You can calibrate the Flow Dynamics and the Flow Rate.

The process is extremely simple and Bambu Lab will hold your hand all the way through. Much better experience than finding a YouTube video and trying to follow along.

Calibrate the P1P
It is simply a matter of finding the best printed one and input that in the slicer

Small gripes and various notes about the Bambu Lab P1P

  • The printer makes a tiny electricity noise when idle. I can hear it from about 3 meters away and I am not a fan.
  • The tube for the filament was not located in a good way out of the box and eventually it caused a print fail
  • When my print has failed, the P1P have not noticed it even though it has some kind of detection software that should be able to notice it.
  • The printer should actually be hooked up to the old 2.4 GHz wifi band. I have been using a mesh system with both bands and it has figured it out okay. But the printer should not have this kind of limitation.
  • The printer does purge a lot of filament when printing. I have not been using the AMS multicolor system, but if you use that the purging and wasted filament goes insane. My only issue here is that the purge does not always fall out of the chute on the back and sometimes it makes its way onto the build plate.
  • The printer uses some power, but not an excessive amount. When printing PLA for 24 hours with stock settings it used 2.12 kW.h. Idle for 24 hours was about 0.16 kW.h – so you should turn it off.
  • The filament runout sensor and the power outage safety have been working great for me. My issue is with the way it handles a filament runout. It keeps the temps and fans going like it was printing at normal, but there is no reason it keeps the nozzle warm and the fans spinning, as that is just wasting energy.
  • You can buy spare parts from Bambu Lab and the price is not insane. But do note that a lot of parts are proprietary, so you cannot get cheap stuff from other sellers and if Bambu Lab goes out of business you are pretty boned.
  • I had some issues with the belts screaming and making a lot of noise. Some Super Lube solved the issue, but it was hard to nail down where the issue was coming from.
  • I sometimes have a warping issue where the first layer will slowly unstick from the bed. Maybe a temperature issue, but it does not seem consistent.

Bambu Lab P1P printed

Is the Bambu Lab P1P the right FDM printer for you?

I see Bambu Lab like I see Apple. For the price of all your data and a proprietary system, you get ease of use and something that just works. Some might see the comparison as a slight on Bambu Lab, but here I think that approach actually solves a real problem.

In terms of print quality and speed, the P1P and the Bambu lab printers are pretty unmatched. It works out of the box and is very finely tuned, it is fast and the print quality is great. The main question is can you stomach the price, the noise and the data protection issues? Oh, and the bad UI on the printer itself.

I cannot overstate how much I have enjoyed the P1P. This review took way longer than I expected, but that is mainly because there is so much I wanted to try on it. I am a bit sad that the 0.2 nozzle did not work out better, so printing miniatures in good quality is (for me) still a long way off. But for printing terrain, I think the P1P is right now the best FDM printer you can get.

What I really like about the Bambu Lab P1P

Works insanely well out of the box as the presets and printer are well-tuned

Prints extremely fast at a very high quality

The slicer is actually good

Cloud and wifi that just works and makes things easier

Direct drive hot enough to print a broad range of filaments

Bed adhesion is great

Things I do not like about the Bambu Lab P1P:

Issues about data privacy

Makes a ton of noise

Support service could be a bit better

Proprietary parts are in essence bad for consumers

The UI on the printer itself is bad

You buy into an ecosystem

Best 3D Printer for Terrain
Bambu Lab P1P
Pros:
  • Very easy to use
  • Extremely fine tuned out of the box
  • Can print amazing quality at very high speeds
  • Branded slicer that is actually good
  • Cloud and Wifi integration that now (mostly) works
Cons:
  • Ancient UI on the printer itself
  • Build with proprietary parts
  • Very noisy
  • Data privacy issues and cloud breakdowns
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Alternatives to the Bambu Lab P1P

Bambu Lab’s other printers

The best alternatives to the P1P printer is actually other Bambu Lab printers. If you want the same printer, but with an enclosure you can get the Bambu Lab P1S (you can also get the AMS on top of that). If you want the same printer but slightly better in some ways, go for the Bambu Lab X1 Carbon (with or without the multicolour top). If you want something a lot cheaper there is the Bambu Lab A1.

Bambu Lab P1S
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Bambu Lab X1
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Bambu Lab A1
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Prusa MK4

Original Prusa MK4
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I have nothing bad to say about Prusa other than the price is insanely premium. But if you need a lot of hand-holding on your first jump into FDM 3D printing, I would strongly recommend them and the Prusa MK4. There is a reason these printers are often used at big prints farms: they are easy to repair and just work.

Creality K1

Creality K1
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Another expensive enclosure machine, this time from Creality. The K1 is super fast and easy to use, but I think the Bambu Lab system is better for most people. But hey, I am pretty biased as I have had some rough experiences with Creality.

Ankermake M5C

AnkerMake M5C
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This little printer is supposed to be surprisingly good. I am trying to get me hands on it, so I still need to have it in my hands before I say anything.

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