Cloud-based printing may not be a great idea, it seems.
Ghost in the CNC
What happens when a 3D printer goes rogue? Just ask the owners of Bambu's product line, which overnight went from playing the docile machine to acting with all the impulse control of a toddler left alone with crayons and a blank wall.
As The Verge reports, many owners of either Bambu's X1C or P1P models woke up on Tuesday to find that their beloved printers had mysteriously started printing entirely on their own. The results, to say the least, were chaotic, and baffled reports on the aftermath soon trickled into the BambuLab subreddit.
"This is absolutely not acceptable," one Bambu owner wrote in the subreddit.
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
What could be the cause for the behavior? Well, it turns out that the chaotic order had come from up above — the cloud.
Bambu explained on its official blog that it "experienced an unexpected cloud outage," causing what it's calling "job jamming." After its cloud service went down, any jobs sent to Bambu's printers during this period went unconfirmed, leading to requests being sent repeatedly, even after the service resumed.
"Simply explained, the print job sent to the printer before was trapped on the cloud and had a delayed start," Bambu wrote.
In other words, the only thing the unlucky owners were guilty of is trying to get a good night's sleep, or running a print job when the outage happened. Still, while Bambu has accepted "full responsibility," the manufacturer didn't go as far to promise free repairs and replacements in its statement to The Verge.
Blamelessness may be little consolation to owners. That their sophisticated machines could go completely haywire over a simple outage is outrageous — that the print queues aren't cleared when the cloud service restarts seems inexplicably negligent.
And, as The Verge notes, 3D printers are a potential fire hazard, so it’s fortunate that no one was hurt or had their property damaged.
Moreover, the debacle relitigates fears over the practical shortcomings of cloud-based technology controlling real-world devices: overengineered lights, for example, that can’t be used when the internet is down.
"This is exactly what you're signing up for when you choose a cloud based printing service, they're an absolute menace," another user wrote.
We suspect that many Bambu owners, if they haven't already, will now be taking advantage of the optional LAN-only mode that doesn't rely on the cloud.
More on malfunctioning tech: Google's SGE Search AI Is Devouring False AI-Generated Info and Saying It's True
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