Should I Wait for the New Generation?

I know the decision is ultimately up to me; however, please listen to my situation, I would like to hear what you would do. I just finished up my first year of mechanical engineering and love it. I am fortunate enough to say that I currently intern at a local space design company. I started looking into 3D printers again shortly after I started working there. I have used multiple 3D printers in the past, owning one of them back home which is an original Flash Forge Creator Pro. I grew tired of tweaking this printer, which is why I am looking so heavily into a Bambu Lab printer. I have always wanted a quality 3D printer but now possess the means to purchase one. I am specifically looking for a printer that can print engineering-grade materials. I was going to pull the trigger on a Bambu Lab X1C at the beginning of this month. About a week before this preset date of purchase, the Reddit AMA occurred, where they said the new generation of printers will come out soon and definitely in 2024, teasing a revolutionary design. I currently have a budget of about 2000 dollars and would like a printer at least on pre-order before the next semester starts in late August. It is quite difficult to find a printer to use at the school and I need to print many parts for one of my upcoming classes. If you were in my shoes, Would you buy an X1C now? Would you wait for the New Printer to be announced and decide then? Is there another printer that you would buy? Please share any knowledge that may help and I thank you for taking the time to read this post!

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How long is a piece of string?

At some point, you will have to jump in and buy something.

When you have, something new will come out and you will wonder if you should have waited for that instead of the one you purchased.

You could buy an entry-level A1 mini to start playing now and later buy the bigger, better, unknown entity.

You could buy the best now and benefit from actually 3D printing something now with that top-end model.

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That’s a really good point! I like the analogy and that’s a smart way to look at it. Buying an A1 mini for now wouldn’t be too bad of an idea… I’ll have to give that some serious thought.

Thank you so much for your input!

You are welcome.

I recommend getting the AMS lite as a combo with the A1 mini.

I haven’t heard of a single person who regretted it.

  • You can use it for multiple colours
  • You can use it for PETG support layers and vs versa
  • You can use it to have more than one spool auto continue when another one runs out.
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As with any technology, you can always wait for the next thing that’s coming. At some point, you just have to decide what your requirements are and if the current model fills those needs. Yeah, it’s frustrating to buy something and have a new something come out shortly after, but in this case, an X1C is an amazing printer and if they do release an X2 line, I’m sure it will be amazing too but that doesn’t change the fact the X1C is still amazing.

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@Jake_Mayer
Unpopular opinion:
Considering your focus - stay away from bambu. Instead of tinkering with the printer you’ll find yourself tinkering with parts that are out of tolerance by random amounts depending on the geometry on the xy plane.
If up to +/- circa 3/10mm depending on shape sounds fun you’ll be fine though…

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As someone fortunate enough to work with a machine shop that is accurate down to the hundred thousandth inch, I think I forgot how difficult it can be to get a dimensionally accurate part. With your point, what printer would you recommend instead? Do the parts produced by Bambu vary that much no matter what or is there something I can change about it as I dial in the printer? Also how do other companies combat this and how does the calibrated Bambu Tolerance compare with a self-calibrated printers tolerance? Sorry for the onslaught of questions and thank you for your input!!!

Can’t give you a direct product recommendation without basing it on actual personal experience. So I won’t.
I only know the P1s and X1c and older bed slingers that I modified in hard- and firmware to suit my needs for rapid prototyping.

What I can tell you, is that my bambus are not it when it comes to repeatability and controlability of the produced dimensions. They seem to apply a kind of tool path smoothing with an (from an engineering standpoint) extreme tolerance. And the user has no control over any parameters that would influence this behavior in a controlled and predictable manner.

FDM already has some process inherent ‘challenges’ when it comes to generating parts that are true to size. Add to that a machine that randomly adds significant tolerance to the programmed toolpath depending on the parts ‘shape’ and you are doomed.

Imperial units throw me off - a 1/100 of an 1/1000 fraction of an inch? That would be roughly a quarter of 1um or 254nm. I think either me or you got something wrong there… :wink:

Like I said, you can’t ‘calibrate’ or predict the tolerance on the bambus - random deviations depending on shape.
Regarding my other manually dialed in and trued printers, with calibrated filament I get dimensions within 0.05mm of tolerance without even really trying.
But I guess out-of-the box most consumer printers suck in this regard. It’s just on bambu printers you can’t do anything about it

But much more important is what tolerance is acceptable to you. You said, you have printers available - measure parts you were happy with and check how true they really are.