Southern California-based 3D printing products and supply retailer MatterHackers has just released a massive update to their popular MatterControl 3D printing management software. The free, open source 3D print and slicing program has widely been seen as a more robust version of Cura or Slic3r or as an alternative to paid 3D printing software like Simplify3d. With their new MatterControl 1.5 update, MatterHackers has added a huge list of new features as well as several fixes to lingering bugs from the first release. The 1.5 update has been in development for over four months, and is a response to their communities feedback from the software’s debut performance and functionality.
One of the key new features in MatterControl 1.5 is an all new, completely rewritten support generation system. The new system has improved support detection which optimizes the placement of support structures and is capable of determining where the print actually rests on a support surface and is better at determining what parts actually need to be supported. Not only does this reduce the amount of material needed for supports, but it makes them much easier to remove and will leave less marks on the print surface.
The new Support Percent feature controls how much of each layer and which segments will receive support structures. MatterControl users can now set interface layers, which will provide the supports with more structure without actually attaching any additional or unnecessary material to the model itself. The update also allows for air gaps, which keep as much of the support structure apart from the rest of the model as possible while allowing the layers to cool more evenly during the printing process. All of these new features will lead to smoother final parts and less failed prints due to inaccurate or insufficient support structures.
Another new feature is “Baby Stepping” or position tuning, which is primarily used by more experienced 3D printers. However by adding the feature directly to MatterControl, anyone can make sure that their extruder position is perfectly adjusted so the first layer will print perfectly. The feature will work with any 3D printing firmware. The update will also offer improved part merging so 3D models can easily be added to a base, or two models can be joined without any printing errors. MaterControl simply detects where the 3D models overlap and perfectly joins them all within the slicer.
While some 3D printers offer the option to stop a print at any time, most models of 3D printers will not allow a print to be cancelled while the printer is coming up to temperature and usually freezes the entire operation until the temperature has been reached. This can be a problem if users accidentally entered an incorrect printing temperature or if they wanted to tweak the printer settings without the print starting and wasting filament. However MatterControl 1.5 now gives users the option to stop or cancel a print while the 3D printer is still heating up so users can make changes to the printing settings or restart a print for whatever reason. Finally, the updated 3D printing software will also offer users better seam hiding during the printing process. This feature works by selecting the optimal point to begin 3D printing each layer so the beginning and ending position will be hidden in a naturally existing seam or crack.
Take a look at this brief video of MatterHackers Lars Brubaker explaining some of the new features:
Here is a list of all the new features that will be added in the 1.5 update:
- Set if we are going to retract when changing islands
- Made it possible to have the first perimeter have a different extrusion width to compensate for more accurate small holes
- Added top infill speed
- Add support for closing MatterControl while printing
- Put in reporting of hardware errors
- Improved the local search feature
- Added visual indicator for http failures
- Made it possible to render translucent extrusion paths
- Support drag and drop onto the settings widget will still add to queue
- Fixed the macro window to grow in y
- Implemented scroll wheel in the terminal widget
- Added user configurable library folders
- Finished Braille 2 functionality
- Velocity during rotation of 3d view
- Improved MatterControl Touch printing
- Improved Android soft keyboard support
- Only process the most outside perimeter with spiral vase
- Fixed slicing to handle badly wound polygons
Here is a list of all the glitch and bug fixes included in the 1.5 update:
- Now reporting bed and extruder heating state for Repetier firmware
- You can now type a partial entry to a count or mm field and not have it get messed up if you are slow
- Make sure we turn off all heaters when we shut down
- Ability to save to the queue on save as
- Suppress error reporting and abort on COM Access Denied errors
- AMF save progress reporting
- Fixed first layer speed issue
- Better thread safety
- Made the leveling page easier to use on MatterControl Touch
- Made message box easier to use on MatterControl Touch
- Allow invalid image file formats to return a load failure rather than throw an assert
- Group objects move correctly on the bed when scaled
- Made it possible to edit the 3 point leveling positions even after you have set up 7 or 13 point leveling
- Making the save feature always go through a separate file so that we don’t get collisions with files in use
- No crashing on corrupt zip files
- Fixed bug when opening and closing EEProm window
- Restore Clear Cache functionality
- Loading large GCode file no longer pauses Android
- Loading repetier EEPROM settings no longer pauses Android
You can find out more about the MatterControl 1.5 update over on MatterHackers here, and you can download the MatterControl 1.5 update over on MatterControl.com. Thoughts on this update? Discuss in the MatterHackers Update Helps with 3D Supports forum over at 3DPB.com.