You’re facing a tough decision: Bambu Lab P1P or X1 Carbon? Let’s break it down.
The Bambu Lab X1 Carbon was launched in 2022 after a successful Kickstarter campaign raised $10 million. Following its release, the company also introduced the more affordable P1P. Shortly after its release, the company debuted the more affordable P1P.
The people behind Bambu Lab are a highly skilled team with a history of innovation. Many of the mechanical and software engineers worked at the drone company DJI, which revolutionized the home drone market.
In this detailed analysis, we’ll compare the designs, build volumes, user interfaces, software, bed leveling, print quality, material compatibility, and ease of use of these two CoreXY 3D printers.
Weighing these factors against your needs and budget, you’ll have a clear view of which printer’s right for you.
So, let’s dive in.
At a Glance: Bambu Lab P1P vs X1 Carbon
Both of these Bambu Lab 3D printers are very similar. They both offer high-speed printing thanks to the CoreXY design and are compatible with Bambu Labs AMS unit for multi-color printing.
The CoreXY architecture allows the printers to reach print speeds of up to 500 mm/s with an acceleration of 20,000 mm/s².
After opening the box, setup is a breeze. Both printers come largely assembled and take less than 10 minutes to get up and running.
At first glance, it’s clear that the P1P is a trimmed-down version of the X1 Carbon.
The P1P lacks advanced features like lidar sensors and uses a stainless steel nozzle. The X1 Carbon offers a sturdy aluminum frame with a full enclosure and glass doors. In comparison, the P1P has a bare-bones, open-frame design.
In our testing, we also ran into issues with the microSD slot and WiFi connection on the P1P. By comparison, we encountered no problems when using the X1 Carbon. We assume the printers use different hardware for the internet connection and SD slot.
|Print area||256 x 256 x 256mm||256 x 256 x 256mm|
|Print Speed||500mm/s||500 mm/s|
|Nozzle size/type||0.4mm Hardened Steel||0.4mm Stainless steel|
|Max Nozzle temperature||300°C||300°C|
|Max Print bed temperature||120°C||100°C|
|Print bed type||Bambu flexible, cool plate||Textured PEI sheet|
|Extruder||All metal dual gear direct drive||All metal dual gear direct drive|
|Material Compatibility||PLA, PETG, TPU, ABS, ASA, PVA, PET, PA, PC, Carbon fiber reinforced, and Glass fiber reinforced.||PLA, PETG, TPU, PVA, PET With enclosure: PA, PC, ABS, ASA|
|AMS (color print system)||Included||Optional|
|Physical Dimensions||389 × 389 × 457 mm||386 × 389 × 458 mm|
|Box Dimensions||480 × 480 × 590 mm||485 × 480 × 528 mm|
|Net Weight||14.13 kg||Net weight 9.65 kg|
|Power loss recovery||Yes||Yes|
|Filament run-out sensor||Yes||Yes|
|Auto bed leveling||LiDar||Touchpoint|
Regarding design, the X1 Carbon offers a sleek aluminum frame with a glass top panel and door. The P1P open frame design resembles a stripped-down X1 Carbon.
The X1 Carbon’s fully enclosed design offers better air temperature control, ideal for printing materials prone to warping and shrinking, like ABS and PC. The enclosure also houses axillary fans for better cooling and ambient temperature control.
Bambu Lab’s P1P has an open frame design. However, you can create your custom enclosure by printing side panels for the printer. The DIY enclosure allows you to customize and personalize your 3D machine.
However, the 3D-printed side panels on the P1P are less effective for temperature control than the built-in enclosure on the X1 Carbon. But you can upgrade the P1P with auxiliary cooling fans.
Both printers offer the same build volume of 256 x 256 x 256mm. The build volume is slightly larger than many standard 3D printers like the Creality Ender 3, Elegoo Neptune 4, or Anycubic Kobra 2.
The CoreXY gantry and Z-axis assembly are identical on both 3D printers. They feature metal rods on the Y and Z axis, while the X axis is equipped with lightweight carbon fiber rods that reduce vibrations during printing.
Both printers use a nearly identical hot end. However, the X1 Carbon offers a LiDar sensor, greatly enhancing the print quality (more on that later).
Another difference is that the X1 Carbon uses a hardened steel nozzle, while the P1P provides a stainless steel nozzle. The difference may seem minor, but the hardened steel nozzle allows the X1 Carbon to print more abrasive materials like carbon fiber filaments, which would ruin the softer stainless steel nozzle on the P1P.
Build Volume and Build Plate Comparison
The Bambu Lab P1P and X1 Carbon printers have the same build volume of 256 x 256 x 256 mm.
However, a small excluded printing zone of 18 x 28 mm prevents the tool head from bumping into your print when using Bambu Lab’s AMS for multi-color printing. The exclusion zone is located next to the mechanical filament cutter, which is used during the unloading procedure of the AMS.
There is a workaround that allows you to access the full print volume when not using the AMS. However, Bambu Lab only recommends using the workaround when the entire build volume is required. Otherwise, the manufacturer doesn’t recommend making changes to the print area.
The 256 x 256 x 256 mm build volume is larger than the typical bed slinger, like the Ender 3.
The generous build size is ideal for most people. You can even print some smaller helmets for cosplay. However, neither printer is large enough to print a full Mandalorian or Iron Man Helmet in one piece.
When looking at the build plate, each printer has a different bed material.
The P1P comes with a PEI-coated, magnetic spring steel build plate that offers good bed adhesion while allowing for easy print removal. PEI-coated build plates are becoming increasingly popular and are a favorite of mine because of their consistency.
The X1 Carbon comes with two build plates: the Bambu Cool Plate and the Engineering Plate. Both build plates are magnetic spring steel plates with a different finish impacting build plate adhesion and print removal.
The build plates on the X1 Carbon have incredible surface adhesion, which makes it challenging to remove prints, especially those with a large base.
When using the X1 Carbon build plates, we recommend using a release agent, such as a glue stick, to make it easier to remove finished parts.
According to the manufacturer, the Cool Plate is intended for PLA, TPU, and PVA, while the Engineering Plate is best for PETG, ABS, TPU, PA, and PC.
The Engineering Plate that initially shipped with the X1 carbon had a smooth finish. However, newer purchases like the one we received come with a textured finish. The textured finish makes it easier to remove prints, but that texture also translates to the bottom finish, meaning you can’t get a smooth surface on the bottom of your 3D prints.
You can upgrade the build plate with Bambu Lab’s High-Temperature Plate. The build surface is a smooth magnetic spring steel PEI plate that offers excellent bed adhesion and easy removal of finished prints without a bed release. I haven’t had the chance to test their new build surface, but users have had excellent results.
User Interface Comparison
The X1 Carbon offers a full-color, 5-inch LCD touchscreen with a custom interface. The custom user interface is very intuitive and easy to use.
On the other hand, the P1P has a smaller 2.7-inch monochrome screen. Unlike the X1 Carbon, the display on the P1P is not a touchscreen. Instead, you control the interface using a click-wheel.
The P1P’s control panel is intuitive and easy to navigate. When testing both printers, I missed the touchscreen, but for the lower price of the P1P, it’s expected to have some shortcomings.
Slicing Software Comparison
Both Bambu Lab 3D printers are compatible with a wide range of software, but the manufacturer recommends using the company’s Bmabu Studio slicing software.
Bambu Studio is a fork of PrusaSlicer, customized specifically for the CoreXY Bambu machines.
The open-source slicer is powerful, user-friendly, and customizable. It takes many quality-of-life ideas from the community version of PrusaSlicer called SuperSlicer.
Bambu Studio is also my preferred choice when working with the X1 Carbon and P1P because of the seamless experience from slicing to printing.
The software has pre-defined slicer profiles for PLA, PETG, and ABS.
Both printers use a proprietary firmware developed by Bambu Labs. The firmware runs well on both machines, and the WiFi connectivity makes it easy to upgrade firmware versions when updates are available.
Both 3D printers offer Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to monitor and control prints using the cloud software.
Some users have reported occasional Wi-Fi instability with the P1P, but we had no issues during our testing.
Because of the high print speeds, the firmware calibrates input shaping or resonance compensations. Input shaping works similarly to noise-cancelling headphones, but input shaping compensates for vibrations to minimize ghosting instead of canceling noise.
When the P1P initially shipped, the company sold a camera as an add-on, unlike the X1 Carbon, which includes it in the base model. But newer versions of the P1P ship with a camera for monitoring prints and recording time-lapse videos.
The X1 Carbon’s camera has a 1080p resolution, while the P1P’s camera resolution is slightly lower at 720p.
The X1 Carbon’s firmware also offers several features that take advantage of the printer’s LiDar sensor, such as advanced bed leveling and pressure advance.
Pressure advance on the X1 Carbon uses the printer’s LiDar sensor to predict nozzle pressure, resulting in more consistent extrusion. The advanced feature reduces under-extrusion, produces sharper corners, and helps hide the Z seam.
The better camera and LiDar features give the X1 Carbon an edge over the P1P.
Automatic bed leveling is a standard feature on modern 3D printers. However, the X1 Carbon and P1P have different methods of automated bed leveling.
The Bambu Lab P1P has one of the fastest automated bed leveling processes I’ve ever seen. It uses a proprietary leveling system. After a lot of bed shaking, the nozzle quickly touches the build plate at regular intervals three times to check the distance. The printer’s firmware even sets the Z offset, making it incredibly easy to get a perfect first layer on every print.
The X1 Carbon is the clear winner when comparing the bed leveling process.
The X1 Carbon uses its LiDar sensor to scan millions of points across the build surface. The LiDar scanner is incredibly accurate, measuring the distance to several microns. Additionally, the sensor provides a continuous measure of the bed, creating the most precise bed mesh compensation, unlike the P1P, which only measures the nozzle height at several discrete points on the build platform.
Print Head Comparison
Both 3D printers use Bambu Labs’ all-metal direct extruder capable of printing at temperatures of up to 300°C. The dual-gear extrusion is incredibly reliable and can print flexible materials like TPU.
Both printers have a 0.4mm nozzle, perfect for the bed size. But you can purchase nozzles with different nozzle diameters to suit your needs.
The primary difference between the two machines is the nozzle material. The P1P ships with a stainless steel nozzle, while the X1 Carbon comes with a hardened steel nozzle.
Hardened steel nozzles can withstand more abrasive filaments like carbon fiber, PC, and wood-filled filaments.
Of course, you can upgrade the P1P with a hardened steel nozzle. But the X1 Carbon offers a better out-of-the-box hot end assembly thanks to its hardened steel nozzle.
Bambu Lab’s direct extruder blows us away. It’s lightweight, compact, reliable, and consistent.
In short, it’s everything you want in a 3D printer extruder.
The only downside is that it’s a custom-integrated nozzle, which means you can’t swap out the nozzle without swapping the entire hot end. The stainless steel and hardened steel nozzles are durable and long-lasting. So you don’t need to change the nozzle as frequently as with printers using a brass nozzle.
Print Speed Comparison
When Bambu Lab announced the Kickstarter for the X1 Carbon, the most significant selling point was the high print speeds. Bambu Lab promised print speeds of up to 500mm/s for the X1 Carbon with acceleration of 20,000 mm/s².
While many experts were skeptical, Bambu Labs kept their promise and delivered the X1 Carbon with 500 mm/s print speeds.
The fast printing is possible thanks to the CoreXY architecture, which allows for more accurate positioning of the print head and quicker movement.
The P1P offers the same 500 mm/s print speeds as the X1 Carbon.
When it comes to print speeds, it’s a tie.
Print Quality Comparison
Both 3D printers offer incredible print quality. When we pushed the printers to their top speeds, we continued to get excellent results thanks to the input shaping and stability of the printers.
You can’t go wrong with either printer, which delivers outstanding results.
However, if we were going to look closely at the results, it’s clear that the X1 Carbon has an edge in print quality. The advanced features like pressure advance and lidar bed leveling give it an edge, producing better prints.
But if we are being honest, the difference in quality is slight and not worth the additional cost for most people.
Perhaps the most significant difference between the two printers is the price tag. At the time of writing, the X1 Carbon retails for $1,199.00, while the P1P is listed at $699.00.
In terms of value for money, both printers hold their ground.
The X1 Carbon has advanced features, excellent performance, and the ability to print more abrasive materials.
The P1P offers impressive performance at a lower price, making it a cost-effective choice for beginners and hobbyists.
There are several other less noticeable cost-saving features in the P1P, including the lower-quality camera, mainboard, fans, nozzle material, and lack of an enclosure.
The X1 Carbon also comes with one AMS unit for simultaneously printing up to 4 colors. You can purchase up to four units for each printer at $349.00 per unit.
Verdict: Which Should You Buy?
In conclusion, the Bambu Lab P1P and X1 Carbon 3D printers are top-notch choices. And you can’t go wrong with either printer.
Bambu Lab’s printers are as close to plug-and-play as they come. Offering insane speeds, excellent print quality, and easy-to-use features.
The P1P is essentially a stripped-down version of the X1 Carbon. It’s 80% of the features at half the price.
Choose the P1P if you’re a beginner or hobbyist looking for a reliable and affordable 3D printer for PLA or PETG.
- Ultra-fast print speeds
- Upgrade options
- Excellent print quality
- Automated bed leveling
- Easy-to-use Bambu Studio slicer
- WiFi connectivity and mobile app
- Built-in camera
- The design is lackluster
- No filament collector
- You’ll need an enclosure to print ABS
Choose the X1 Carbon if you want to print more abrasive and exotic materials like carbon fiber or PC. The X1 Carbon is also a good choice if you require the incredible precision the lidar sensor provides.