Rethinking Cloud-Dependency: A Closer Look at Bambu Lab's 3D-Printer Failures

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Bambu Lab's 3D printers have turned the industry, previously dominated by titans like Prusa Research and Creality, on its head. Bringing high-speed printing to the common folk at an affordable rate, Bambu Lab's offerings felt like a breath of fresh air. Their flagship model, the X1 Carbon, features an enclosed build, corexy kinematics, and automatic z-offset detection, integrated seamlessly with cloud technology. Yet, one of its main selling points was its robust integration with the cloud. This innovation, however, has proven problematic, culminating in a catastrophic self-destruction event for numerous printers, leaving owners unaware of the unfolding disaster. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential pitfalls associated with cloud-dependent technologies. The failure of Bambu Lab's cloud services not only disrupted normal operations but also led to extensive damage and operational chaos, highlighting how the cloud's promise of convenience and efficiency can swiftly transform into a liability.

Secondary camera with timestamps. One to many F... Damaged plate.
by u/Ced_Battlewind in BambuLab


Reservations About Bambu Lab 3D Printers

As we explore the implications of cloud dependency with Bambu Lab's 3D printers, it's pertinent to discuss why some might perceive a bias in our critique of the company. Despite the acclaim for their X1 and P1 series, there are significant concerns, especially for supporters of open-source initiatives.

Bambu Lab has come under scrutiny for infringing on PrusaSlicer's AGPL-3.0 licence, an act that blatantly disregards intellectual property rights. Such behaviour contradicts the values we uphold at Home Assistant Guide, where we recognize and respect the extensive contributions to open-source projects. Consequently, Bambu Lab's actions are fundamentally at odds with our principles.

Furthermore, Bambu Lab's printers suffer from limited repairability, a stark departure from the open-source commitment of companies like Prusa Research and Sovol. These firms embody the RepRap philosophy, which promotes the self-replication of printers and allows users to fabricate even the metal components independently. Unfortunately, Bambu Lab does not support such freedoms with their hardware.

It is important to note that issues of open-source integrity are not exclusive to Bambu Lab. Prusa Research and Sovol have their flaws, and Anycubic has also faced accusations of misusing Prusa's intellectual property by simply renaming it in their products. The authenticity of open-source claims, particularly highlighted by the debates around the Original Prusa MINI, remains a contentious topic within the 3D printing community.

Josef Prusa himself pointed out the infringement after the release of PrusaSlicer 2.4.0, which included an opt-in feature to send system information anonymously. This version saw entries suspiciously similar to PrusaSlicer, rebranded under Bambu Lab, appear in their database. Despite these issues, Prusa maintains a commitment to its roots, proudly citing its Slic3r heritage in its software revisions.

A screenshot of two tweets discussing the Bambu Lab's alleged infringement of the PrusaSlicer software. The first tweet, from Josef Prusa, features a perplexed emoji and remarks on the appearance of 'BambuSlicer' entries in their database after the release of PrusaSlicer 2.4.0, suggesting the Bambu version is a reskin of their software, inviting thoughts on the issue. It includes an image of a JSON configuration file with the 'bambuslicer' label and software version numbers that match Prusa's. The second tweet, from Adam Haile, urges Bambu Lab to release their modified source as it's based on the GPL-licensed PrusaSlicer, stating it's evident and should be published since people already have it installed.
A tweet from Josef Prusa expresses frustration over Anycubic's apparent use of Prusa's software. He accuses Anycubic of merely replacing 'Prusa' with 'Anycubic' in their slicer software, a process he derides. The tweet includes a screenshot of a reply from Andrea Fontana, noting that Anycubic has been working on their slicer since 2016. The lower part of the image shows a highlighted text snippet from a software file, indicating the name “AnycubicSlicer Research” and a version history from 2016 to 2023. The tweet suggests a lack of originality and effort from Anycubic in developing their slicing software.

The Unravelling Nightmare of Bambu Lab 3D Printers

Since its inception, Bambu Lab has promoted the idea that cloud technology would revolutionize the 3D printing industry. Their proprietary, closed-source system was designed to enable users to initiate and manage print jobs from anywhere, at any time, within a unified platform. However, on the morning of August 15, 2023, between the hours of 10:03 and 11:10, and again from 12:11 to 12:23 UTC, this once-celebrated feature turned problematic, causing widespread disruptions.

The Mysterious Incident

Imagine a typical day at Bambu Lab turning abruptly chaotic due to a cloud outage. Normally, such an outage would merely pause operations temporarily, but on this occasion, it triggered a chain reaction known as “job jamming.”

The cloud service, unpredictable as British weather, failed to confirm the completion of print jobs. These jobs, sent to printers routinely, lacked the final “delivered” acknowledgment, akin to a text message hanging without confirmation.

A screenshot of a Tweet sent by @CanuckCreator reading:

The Domino Effect

The failure to confirm job completions led the system to resend jobs incessantly. Confused users exacerbated the issue by manually initiating jobs, while the overwhelmed cloud service continued to resend commands indiscriminately. As a result, commands accumulated like unchecked notifications during a long weekend.

Further complications arose with a second outage. Once connectivity was restored, the system, in its zeal to clear the backlog, issued multiple commands at once. Printers, idle at the moment, activated unexpectedly and began printing en masse, leading to a severe overload.

Compounding these issues, a surge in API access requests put additional pressure on the service. The Bambu Studio’s logic, designed to trigger print requests promptly upon cloud access, unfortunately, intensified the problem, pushing the API service to its limits.

The Aftermath

Despite the printers completing their assigned tasks correctly, the cloud's delayed updates caused it to resend the already completed jobs when it reconnected. This miscommunication led to unnecessary repetitions and material waste, akin to a machine stuck in a loop.

Shifting Clouds: Bambu Lab and the 3D Printing Paradigm

Over the past week, numerous Bambu Lab enthusiasts have defended their choice of 3D printers, highlighting that using cloud services is optional. They point out the capability of these printers to operate via local networks or directly from an SD card. However, this flexibility is not the primary mode Bambu Lab envisions for their products.

Bambu Lab targets two main user groups: 3D printing enthusiasts seeking fast, reliable machines that require minimal setup, and beginners eager to explore 3D printing. The printers are designed to serve these users with ease, promoting cloud-based operations as the default setting. This setup nudges users towards using cloud services, emphasizing simplicity and user-friendliness, especially for those new to the technology or those who prefer not to engage deeply with technical details.

Bambu Lab Crash 05
The image presents a promotional message from Bambu Lab, advocating for the use of the 3MF file format over STL for 3D printing. Displayed is a computer monitor showing a 3D modelling application with various parts laid out for printing. Accompanying text promotes the convenience of managing model files, printing parameters, assembly instructions, and license information all in one place, emphasizing that their X1 printer, with native support for 3MF files, allows users to manage their entire project on one cloud platform. A detailed figurine of what appears to be a science fiction warrior stands to the right of the monitor, possibly indicating the complex designs that can be achieved with this technology.

The Inherent Risks of Cloud Reliability

While connecting a 3D printer to the cloud offers convenient remote access and automatic updates, this method is not without its faults. These issues are not unique to Bambu Lab; they are common to other technologies and services, such as Google Drive, Amazon Alexa, and Dropbox.

A photograph of a Bambu Lab P1P 3D-printer. The printer has a black enclosure, with one colourful side. At the top of the printer a screen is attached, showing the progress of the current print file.

A Tethered Balloon

The stability of cloud services is highly dependent on continuous internet connectivity. The analogy of a balloon tied to your wrist illustrates this precariousness: if the connection is lost, so is the balloon. This can be particularly problematic in areas with unreliable internet service, where accessing essential data or operations becomes challenging.

Data Privacy and Security Concerns

Using cloud services involves entrusting your personal data to third-party servers, which poses inherent security risks. Despite robust security measures, no system is entirely fail-safe, and the responsibility for protecting this data lies with external companies. This arrangement can be likened to the unforeseen vulnerabilities even in historically deemed 'unsinkable' constructs, such as the Titanic.

Potential for Service Discontinuation

The possibility of a cloud service being discontinued or abruptly altered is a significant risk. This scenario could force users to quickly migrate their data or face losing access entirely, a disruptive and often complex process. Users are essentially at the whim of their cloud providers, who control the underlying infrastructure and can make changes that may not be in the user's best interest.

A Local Alternative

The considerations for 3D printers extend to smart home software as well. Home Assistant, for example, allows you to control your smart home from a local device, such as a Raspberry Pi or a home server. When paired with other offline-capable technologies like Zigbee bulbs, Shelly smart plugs, or the OctoPrint 3D printer controller, you can operate independently from the cloud. Even if your internet connection is severed, your lights will still turn on. Moreover, no one at Home Assistant has the authority to revoke your software or halt its operations. While locally hosted software may involve a steeper learning curve, it invariably offers superior control and reliability.

To effectively monitor and manage your 3D printer remotely, integrating Home Assistant with a Nabu Casa subscription alongside OctoPrint or Prusa Connect provides a comprehensive solution. By using OctoPrint or Prusa Connect, you can connect your 3D printer to your network and manage print jobs through their respective web interfaces. Home Assistant can then be integrated with these services, allowing for the creation of a custom dashboard that displays print statuses, webcam feeds, and temperature controls. With a Nabu Casa subscription, secure remote access is facilitated, enabling you to monitor and control your printer from anywhere without complex network configuration. Additionally, Home Assistant offers automation capabilities such as notifications for print completions or errors and supports voice commands through integration with popular voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, enhancing the ease of use and functionality of your 3D printing setup.

Bambu Labs Alternatives

Here is a list of alternatives to Bambu Labs that are notable for their commitment to open-source principles and community engagement:

A photograph of a Bambu Lab X1 Carbon 3D-printer.

Prusa Research

The image shows the menu bar of PrusaSlicer software version 2.7.4, highlighting its lineage with the note “based on Slic3r.” The menu bar contains tabs for File, Edit, Window, View, Configuration, and Help, along with icons for quick access to Plater, Print Settings, Filament Settings, and Printer Settings.
PrusaSlicer highlights its lineage

Voron Design


A portrait photo oif Liam Alexander Colman, the author, creator, and owner of Home Assistant Guide wearing a suit.

About Liam Alexander Colman

is an experienced Home Assistant user who has been utilizing the platform for a variety of projects over an extended period. His journey began with a Raspberry Pi, which quickly grew to three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-fledged server. Liam's current operating system of choice is Unraid, with Home Assistant comfortably running in a Docker container.
With a deep understanding of the intricacies of Home Assistant, Liam has an impressive setup, consisting of various Zigbee devices, and seamless integrations with existing products such as his Android TV box. For those interested in learning more about Liam's experience with Home Assistant, he shares his insights on how he first started using the platform and his subsequent journey.

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