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3D printer usage


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The MatterControl interface

MatterControl main icon We currently are transitioning to MatterControl for use with the 3D printers. Its icon lives on the desktop of the 3D printing workstation and can be seen on the right. Its use is suggested over the use of Slic3r and Pronterface, which are kept on the 3D printing workstation for historical value.

Opening MatterControl brings up the main window:

MatterControl main interface

Printer Status

printer Status Printer Status | shows the status of the current printer, as well as allowing you to disconnect or connect to a different printer.


Print Queue Shows the print queue for the current printer, as well as a library of printable objects and a history of the current print queue. This panel serves double-duty as the print settings and printer control views.

Model View

Model View Displays the current object ready for printing. This view allows you to pan around the solid object, as well as view the generated G-Code.

MatterControl: Print settings

This view allows you to adjust print settings. The two most common (and the only two that should really need adjusting) are:

  • layer Height (determined by the preset for “quality”). These are in increments that vary from printer to printer
  • Fill Density: The amount of material that the 3D printed object will actually be solid within the interior. Common values for this are: 1-20% (0.1 0.2) for decorative pieces, 50% (0.5) for light

MatterControl: Printer control

This view shows the current state of the printer's hot ends and bed, allows movement and extrusion, fan control and even lets you see where the 3D printer thnks te head is.

As a bonus, during prints it lets you change the speed of the print and extrusion multiplier while the printer is running.

Printing with MatterControl

  1. Turn on the printer. For each printer, there is a switch which controls mains power.
  2. Check the preflight list for the printer you wish to use.
  3. Open MatterControl and connect to the printer you wish to use.
  4. Add the model you wish to print to the MatterControl queue
  5. Check settings for the model you wish to print, e.g. layer height (resolution) and infill density.
  6. Press print. MatterControl should take it from there.

Pausing/stopping a print

Use the Printer Status buttons to pause or stop a print while the printer is running. If you wish to immediately start printing again, be sure to preheat the printer using the temperature buttons in the Printer Status view.