Bambu Lab Anniversary: year in review
by Christian on Sep 14, 2023
The last 12 months have been quite a journey
In the end of June 2022, almost exactly 365 days ago, as of writing this blog post, the first X1C was shipped to our very first customer. At that time, we were filled with a mixture of excitement and nervousness, wondering if our 3D printer would live up to users' expectations.
Like any startup in its first year, Bambu spent the past year grappling with a long list of issues including delays, supply chain shortages, accidents, epidemics, reworks, malfunctions, bugs, quality issues, PR crises... Our aim was to focus on building a printer worth talking about. As a team of experienced engineers in product design and manufacturing, we believed we were prepared to tackle any product-related matters. So we felt like eggs were thrown at our faces when social media platforms became flooded with images of broken glass due to our packaging, which, despite passing strict industry-standard tests, proved to be insufficient in real-world logistics conditions. We felt defeated when we realized that we lacked the proper tools and quality assurance systems to ensure the flatness of our heatbeds. Nevertheless, these were the types of issues we expected to encounter, and we managed to add more quality control points to fix them after we learn from the mistakes.
Offering a quality product is just the first step in launching a business, but it is far from sufficient for establishing a sustainable company. Running a company was a new challenge for most of us, myself included. Like many entrepreneurs before me, I can attest that the past year has felt like a rollercoaster ride for me. We faced issues we could not have expected.
For instance, I still blame myself for not devoting enough attention and effort to network security. However, thanks to the community, I have learned this crucial lesson. Network security is now our top priority for all software development. On the other hand, there were also unexpected issues.
I vividly recall that day in November 2022 when I learned about a COVID-19 case in our factory, resulting in a complete shutdown just as demand for the X1C was reaching a new high.
Some aspects have proven to be far more challenging than anticipated. From the very beginning, we aspired to provide a world-class customer experience, so we assembled a team of 3D-printing experts worldwide to support our customers. However, it's easier said than done. Even today, the number of customer support tickets remains unpredictable, and peak periods exert high pressure on the entire team. I guess we are following our learning curve here. Our customer support situation is already much better than it was a year ago, thanks to the dedication of our team. We are committed to enhancing our customer support and eventually reaching the point where it meets the quality standards of our 3D printers.
That is not to say that our printers are near perfect in any way. Judged against the standards of 21st-century consumer electronics, I would rate Bambu's first-generation printers at 55 out of 100. Above average, but still a long way to go to reach our ambitions. The X1C and P1P models are relatively refined compared to previous-generation desktop FDM 3D printers, but they are still light years away from delivering an iPhone-like user experience, which is our ultimate goal.
We can only tell ourselves that these distressing problems that arise daily are part of the growth process. Perhaps, they are a necessary path we have to follow to achieve a score of 90.
A big thank you
Now, what I want to say to our customers and the community is thank you for tolerating this 55/100 product and giving us the opportunity to grow and learn over the past year. Thank you to the community experts who reviewed the X1 when nobody knew who Bambu was. Thank you to the community members who shared feedback, print photos, timelapses on social media using our printers. You not only gave us the chance to reach our potential customers, but also provided us with the most valuable insights to improve our products and our team, and a strong motivation to keep moving forward.
A special thank you goes to the backers who placed full trust in us during our Kickstarter campaign. We hope we have lived up to your expectations and haven't let you down. I am grateful to the community for their leniency and understanding, even in the face of the numerous mistakes we have made. Every time a crisis arose, we witnessed some users comforting and encouraging us, as if forgiving a child who had made a foolish mistake.
Thank you to cybersecurity experts who promptly alerted us to our security vulnerabilities, pushing us to make our systems more secure. Thank you to all users who have challenged our compliance with all different regulations; your challenges have driven us to continuously improve our systems, making everyone's data and privacy safer.
Lastly, a big thank you to all our teammates. Bambu is now a proud team of over 300 individuals spread across multiple continents, dedicating their energy every day to realize our dream of delivering an engaging 3D printing experience for our customers.
As the saying goes, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I can confidently say that thanks to the lessons we have learned this year, the unwavering support of our customers, and the dedication of our team, we are stronger than we were a year ago. After a year of hard work, we have gained a wealth of knowledge about 3D printing. Our lab and production line are now equipped with a multitude of experimental equipment, testing stations, and quality control points that were unimaginable just a year ago. The quality of our machines, software, and firmware has significantly improved, although there is still a long way to go before reaching our ultimate goal. The production line has evolved from a state of intermittent and barely functional production to a modern, high-yield assembly line.
Our gratitude to our customers
I think I have said too many vocal thanks. Twelve months after delivering our first 3D printer, our financial situation has changed dramatically compared to a year ago. We feel this is the right time to show our gratitude with some solid gifts for all your support and understanding.
- For all Kickstarter backers, who made this journey possible, we have prepared a gift pack worths $165 containing 4 rolls of carbon fiber reinforced filaments at $1.99.
- For all customers who ordered at least one of our printers after Kickstarter through our official store before June 26 2023, we have prepared a gift pack containing 2 rolls of carbon fiber reinforced filaments at $1.99.
- For all past buyers of Bambu printers other than the X1CC model from our official store, you might want to try the AMS, so we've prepared a $50 AMS discount voucher for each of you.
Final prices may change based on shipping destinations at checkout. Delivering tens of thousands of gift packages to our customers is a first for us. It presents a significant challenge to our production, operations and logistics teams. So we hope that everyone can understand that this entire process will require some time. For detailed information about how to get your gift please refer to 1st Anniversary FAQ.
In addition to the gifts for all our customers, twelve months after the product launch, we are also reevaluating our product pricing. Bambu has always strived to ensure the stability of product prices. Even when the Euro depreciated significantly in 2022 (BTW, another unexpected challenge), we stuck to this principle. As our purchasing volumes, production capacity and yield rate increase, the cost of our products continues to decrease.
Early investments like tooling, NRE costs have also been largely amortized by now. Another factor I don't want to overlook is competition. After examining the financial statements and the market competition landscape, my conclusion is that we have to push a step further to keep up. This is why we will reduce the price of our Bambu Lab P1P by around 100 dollars (on all stores), to make it more accessible for people who are looking to get one of our printers and share the 3D printing passion with us. We are also discounting the X1C, X1CC and AMS in our EU and UK stores, after taking into account our operational and shipping costs.
The promise of innovation
While we offer gifts and lower prices to express our gratitude to our customers, we understand that the community expects something more from us: innovation.
Innovation that unleashes the full potential of this captivating hobby. Innovation that makes possible the potential impact of this technology into today's world. For this, you have our promise that we will be the most daring team. The Bambu product development team is well-provisioned and moving forward at full speed. Developing groundbreaking products requires long iterative processes, especially when there are no existing references to study. We will launch minor upgrades and different versions of printers to cater to different customer needs and various markets, which can also be a fun journey. Simultaneously, we are dedicating our efforts to developing new major products that will make your patience during the extended waiting period worthwhile.
Tell us more about your experience
It has been in the DNA of Bambu, from the very beginning, to thrive on feedback from our users. As we reach this significant milestone in our first year, during which some of your printers have accumulated millions of printing hours, we believe it's the perfect time to reflect on your experience with our printers over the past year.
Your insights will enable us to gain a deeper understanding of the main challenges you have encountered while using our printers. We kindly request your valuable feedback by taking a moment to complete the survey below.
Your responses will greatly assist us in continuously improving our printers and learning from any mistakes we may have made.
Please follow this link to go to the survey