"Our goal is to enable everyone to take advantage of the incredibly powerful technology that is 3D printing," stated Lars Brubaker, CEO of MatterHackers, "and while multi-material 3D printers aren't quite up to the level of Star Trek replicators, they are taking us one important step closer."
Users with multiple extruders can now set the extruder count in MatterControl's settings and assign materials to their parts, allowing for printing in more than one color or more than one material. A common example would be printing the part in ABS and the support structure in dissolvable material such as PVA or HIPS, making support removal much easier.
"We worked closely with our users and our manufacturing partners on this update," noted Kevin Pope, lead designer of MatterControl, "and together we've been able to create a multi-material workflow that just makes sense."
Erick Wolf, Chairman of Costa Mesa 3D printing company Airwolf 3D, said, "multi-material printing opens up new realms of possibility in desktop 3D printing." Wolf, whose HD2x dual-extrusion 3D printer will leverage the new capabilities of MatterControl, also stated, "we are excited to make this update available to our customers."
Additional features in MatterControl 1.2 include:
Improved Support Generation – Available only when using the MatterSlice slicing engine (MatterControl can use other slicers), Interface layers aid in breakaway support creation even when using only one material. Employing a dissolvable support material can be even better.
3D Layer Preview – Watch your print job before it happens. Printing toolpaths can now be previewed layer by layer and line by line before submitting the actual print job. Simulated extrusion allows for an accurate estimation of exactly how the print will unfold.
Touch-Friendly UI – MatterControl 1.2 has been improved to work better with touchscreen devices.
Signed Windows Drivers – Means fewer steps during the setup process, contingent upon manufacturer participation, which currently includes 16 manufacturers and 29 models.
Cloud Monitoring – Users can now enable cloud monitoring to check the status of their prints via the web.
Embedded SD Card Support – MatterControl and a printer's embedded SD card can now be synced and prints can be initiated directly from the SD card.
Experimental support for Flashforge and MakerBot printers, support for the AMF file format and various UI and performance enhancements have also been added.