When owners of Bambu’s highly respected 3D printers awoke on August 15th, some discovered their printers had gone wild.
Some people awoke to failed prints. Some discovered a duplicate of a prior print. And at least a couple discovered that their Bambu X1C or P1P had begun smacking itself apart, breaking components while attempting to print a second duplicate atop the thing they’d actually requested.
Ok so this is a bit concerning, I have zero clue how their system is setup (yay proprietary closed source) but it looks like a disruption in Bambulab`s cloud service cause a whole bunch of peoples printers to just…..start printing last night. pic.twitter.com/Sqbk9zmc60
— NERO 3D (@3dpNero) August 15, 2023
When owners of Bambu’s well-known 3D printers awoke on August 15th, several discovered their printers had gone crazy.
Some folks were awakened to unsuccessful prints. Some people discovered a duplicate of an earlier print. And at least one person noticed that their Bambu X1C or P1P had begun smacking itself apart, shattering components while attempting to print a replica atop the thing they’d requested.
“To put it simply, the previous print job sent to the printer was trapped on the cloud and had a delayed start,” writes Bambu.
To say it is troubling is an understatement because concerns extend beyond failed prints and broken machines. 3D printers are one of the only remote-controlled equipment in the home that can get hot enough to start a fire, and we’re now learning that the remote-control mechanism wasn’t thoroughly thought out.
Bambu isn’t hiding behind any of the usual corporate jargon we’ve seen in the aftermath of such tragedies. According to Bambu, “we accept full responsibility”:
We wish to extend our sincerest apologies for this incident. We understand the frustration and inconvenience it may have caused, and we accept full responsibility. It is difficult to have a cloud service 100% reliable all the time, but we should at least have designed the system more carefully to avoid such embarrassing consequences.
Our R&D and Cloud Networking teams are working tirelessly to identify the root cause and ensure that this never happens again. We are planning to implement changes, such as additional verifications before a print is started, to prevent future issues.
When contacted by The Verge, Bambu will not go so far as to promise free repairs and replacements for all impacted consumers but instead advises anyone who has incurred any damage to contact Bambu support as soon as possible.
“For damage caused by this incident, we will offer the necessary solutions to our customers impacted by the Cloud Outage, in the form of part replacements or a printer replacement if the situation demands it,” says spokesman Taylor Liu.
“Our team is working closely with our customers to provide the necessary assistance and ensure they can return to printing as soon as possible.”
According to Liu, Bambu wants to ensure it has finished examining and documenting the issue before updating clients again.
Of course, issues like this raise concerns about potential misuse and hacking – if cloud servers can remotely control this printer to such an extent, what’s to stop Bambu employees and hackers from misusing it, including the live video feed from its cameras? Liu refused to comment, instead directing me to the company’s Wiki article on printer security. However, our experience with Anker has shown that many well-meaning comments concerning security may not always transfer into actuality.
To Bambu’s credit, the firm provides a robust LAN-only option that you can enable in the printer’s settings to transmit tasks over home Wi-Fi rather than the internet. (Bambu even recently improved it with LAN-based live video streaming, albeit you can only view it from the desktop slicing app, not your phone.) And, of course, you can always print from an SD card instead of transferring files over the air.
My Bambu P1P is the best 3D printer I’ve ever used, and I’ve been working on a story on how well it works for me. However, I have my printer connected to a smart socket that may cut electricity after print tasks are completed, and I may have to promote it to those who are thinking about getting one.