3D printing retailer and software provider MatterHackers is continuing to see growth in both adoption of its open source printer control software, MatterControl, as well as its retail 3D printer and supply business.

A possible sign of overall activity in the consumer/prosumer sectors, the company's 4th quarter of 2013 was its best to date for both its online retail printer and supply presence as well as its brick and mortar store in Lake Forest, CA.  This came amid increased competition from fresh startups as the market continues to heat up.

In a nod of appreciation to the community, MatterHackers recently gave away six $100 gift certificates to attendees of the 3D Printer World Expo in Burbank, CA.  The winners were Michelle Petrossi of the Ventura County Library, George Lupanow of Utah, Anarda Williams of the Burbank Public Library, Kevin Williams of Maryland, Jake Williamson of Betty Kiefer Elementary in Idaho and Corey Smith of Illinois.

MatterControl, software designed to balance the ease-of-use playing field between open source printers and proprietary offerings, is also enjoying an increased user base.  Custom versions of MatterControl tailored for the Airwolf and Robo3D lines are shipping and a SeeMeCNC version is being finalized.

The generic Mac or Windows downloadable 1.0.3 package of MatterControl is available with the following pre-configured plug-and-print profiles:

  • Airwolf 3D - v5.5
  • Airwolf 3D - XL
  • Airwolf 3D - HD
  • Blue Eagle Labs - Kossel Clear
  • Deezmaker - Bukito
  • Deezmaker - Bukobot v2
  • Printrbot Simple
  • Printrbot Jr
  • Printrbot LC
  • Printrbot PLUS
  • RoBo 3D R1
  • SeeMeCNC Orion
  • SeeMeCNC Rostock MAX
  • Type A Machines Series 1

The upcoming 1.0.4 release will include Profiles for the following additional 3D printers:

  • Lulzbot TAZ
  • Solidoodle 3
  • Solidoodle 4
  • Portabee GO

Support for .x3g-based printers such as FlashForge and MakerBot plus SLA (stereolithography) printers is expected in the 2nd quarter of 2014.

The core of MatterControl is available on GitHub for those wishing to produce their own customized build.  Plug-ins can be made for it, but they may be proprietary, depending on the plug-in maker's intended purpose.  For example, MatterControl's SMS functionality requires MatterHackers to operate a paid SMS account, not exactly the kind of data that can be opened to the public.  Others also have the option of creating proprietary plug-ins as they see fit.

The latest release of MatterControl includes a text creator, customizable macros, pre-configured plug-and-print profiles, SMS and email notifications, drag and drop queuing, a design library, advanced plating (automatic detection of multiple parts in a single file and the ability to manipulate, scale, rotate and mirror those parts), advanced tools (to tweak printer settings more precisely) and automatic bed level calibration.