MatterHackers

Fun with MatterControl's Text Creator

With their latest update, the folks behind MatterControl feel they have a product comparable to the software run on printers made by industry leaders like Stratasys and 3D Systems.

MatterControl, now in its 20th incarnation since its initial launch back in May, 2013, is free software for organizing and managing 3D print jobs. It has integrated slicing, automatic print leveling and allows you to create your own library of parts that can then be queued for printing.

MatterControl print queue

"Today we are announcing that all of MatterControl will be made available as open source software," MatterHackers CEO Lars Brubaker said. "This is a huge deal in the open source 3D printer community. Other companies, like MakerBot, are moving from open systems to closed systems, restricting innovation and ignoring the community that made them great. We want to be going the other way. We are working hard to ensure that the ecosystem around open source and independent 3D printers remains vibrant and competitive."

MatterControl Layer View

The source code for MatterControl will be made available at bitbucket.org, on January 31st – the first day of the 3D Printer World Expo.

Robo 3D Printer and Airwolf 3D Printer already ship their printers with MatterControl software, but Brubaker doesn't want to stop there.

"We would like to see MatterControl running on every independent 3D printer in the world," said Brubaker, who was also one of the principal designers of the software. "The 1.0 updates all center on making MatterControl as powerful and easy to use as possible. That's our big goal, that MatterControl is very simple to use, but at the same time has the depth necessary for the advanced user", Brubaker said.

Some of the recent major changes include:

  • Text Creator design plugin: An easy to use tool to generate 3D printable words and letters. Once created, text extrusions can also be exported and/or combined with other designs - allowing for easy labeling on existing designs.
  • SMS and Email notifications: Your printer can now send you a text message or email alert when the job is finished.
  • Customizable Macros: Advanced users can now setup MatterControl to perform any function at the click of a button. This makes it easy to automate tasks such as calibration, turning pins on and off, moving to a special position, or even loading and unloading filament.
  • Mac friendly: Users of the Mac OS X version of MatterControl will notice some UI improvements that give the application a more native look and feel.
  • Export functionality was significantly streamlined and now allows both .gcode and .stl exporting.
  • G-code exports now include print-leveling, if print-leveling is enabled.
  • Library items now include preview icons