Slice Settings Explained - Part 2
Posted on June 1, 2015 by Taylor Landry
This is part two of the series that will explain all the various slice settings found in MatterControl so you can unleash the full potential of your 3D printer and get exactly the results you’re looking for.

In Part 1, we covered the Basic view mode of MatterControl. You can view it here if you missed it. Part 2 will cover all the settings found in the Standard view.

Standard view provides an excellent balance of control and simplicity. To change to Standard view mode, click “Settings” on the Home Screen and then Select standard mode from the drop down menu.

Note: We recently released version 1.2.3 of MatterControl. There were significant changes made to the layout and order of the settings and menus in 1.2.3. This guide refers to those changes. Please upgrade to the latest version.


Settings

Layers/Surface

  • Layer Height – (see part 1)

  • First Layer Height – In the Basic view, all layer heights are the same. In the Standard, we have the option of adjusting the first layer height independently from the rest of the part. This can be useful for materials like ABS that can be more difficult to stick to the bed. A taller first layer means more material will be extruded and more material provides more bed adhesion.
    It’s important to note that neither the layer height nor the first layer height can exceed the diameter of your nozzle.

  • Outer Surface: Width – This setting determines the thickness of the walls of your part. This is also sometimes called the “shell”.  Since we do not need to print objects that are 100% solid, we can determine how thick the top, bottom, and side walls will be. Unless you are printing with 100% infill, the strength of your part is greatly affected by this setting.

    This is a layer of a 1” cube sliced with the “Minimum” Width setting. Notice there is just 1 perimeter line around the outside. The top and bottom will also be ~.3mm thick.


This is the same 1” cube sliced with 2mm width. You can see that the outer walls are much thicker. The top and bottom will be this thick as well.


Tip: Lower layer heights (<.20mm) require a thicker Width setting in order to properly fill in top and bottom layers for water tight parts.

Infill

  • Fill Density – (see part 1)

  • Infill Type – in the Standard view, we can choose the type of infill pattern used. The default is Triangles. This is the strongest infill type. You can check out our article examining various fill patterns here

    The images below shows various Triangle and Hexagon Infill percentages



Skirt and Raft

  • Skirt: Distance from Object – The default skirt setting draws 3 lines around the outside of our print in order to prime the nozzle before beginning the first layer. We can also specify the skirt to touch our object which helps increase bed adhesion.

    This is the first layer of a 1” cube with a “Standard” Skirt – There are 3 perimeters printed 3mm away from the cube.


  • Create Raft - (Covered in Part 1 here)

 

Support Material

In Basic view, we can only choose to generate support material or not. In Standard view, we can adjust the support material settings. “Generate Support Material” must be selected in order to print support material for your part.

  • Support Type – Similar to Infill Pattern, there are different types of Infill. “Lines” is the default, and is our recommended setting. “Grid” provides more support, but is much more difficult to remove from the part after printing.

    This part requires support material to print properly


Layer view showing "Lines" support pattern


Layer view showing "Grid" pattern


  • Interface Layers – This is a unique setting to MatterControl when using MatterSlice as the slicing engine. Interface layers are solid layers on top of support material. When printing with a single extruder, they can provide an even, flat surface for your part in the event that standard support is not enough.

    When printing with dual extruders, the interface layers can be printed with a dissolvable material which allows for easy support material removal with no trace of material leftover.

    2D layer view with no Interface layers on the last layer of support material (layer 159)


The overhang of the part prints directly on top of support material


Layer view with 4 interface layers on the last layer of support material (layer 159)


3D view showing interface layers in blue


  • Z Gap – This setting allows you to put a gap between your support material and part. The larger the gap, the easier it will be to remove the support material. A larger gap will also have more sagging/drooping, so you will need to determine what’s more important for your part – easy support removal or better surface finish.

    This can either be input in layers or in mm. If you are printing with .25mm layers, and enter “1”, the Z Gap will be .25mm. This field defaults to “Layers”, so you must include “mm” if you want to specify distance rather than number of layers.


  • Support Everywhere – This option allows you to generate support material on top of your part. Without enabling Support Everywhere, support material will only be generated if it touches the bed.

This part has 2 overhangs over the same area of the printer bed


If we do not enable Support Everywhere, only the first overhang will be supported


Support Everywhere enabled


  • Support Options: Pattern Spacing – This allows us to specify the distance between support material lines. More spacing will generate less support material which allows for easier removal, but may cause more sagging.

  • Extruders: Support Material Extruder – If you have a machine with dual extruders, you can choose to print support material with the 2nd extruder.

Filament

The Filament tab allows us to change the settings for our extruder and heated bed.

  • Filament: Diameter – This is one of the most important settings that affects print quality because it is used to calculate how much filament to extrude. The two standard sizes are 1.75mm and 3mm, but these are nominal diameters – not actual. Every spool of filament is going to be a little different. For best results, we recommend you measure a few places at the beginning of your spool with calipers and take the average. If you frequently change out spools, take the measurement, write it down on a piece of blue tape, and stick on the spool so you don’t have to re-measure.                                             
  • Extruder Temperature – this is the temperature of your hot end. Each type of filament extrudes at a different temperature. We recommend starting in the middle of the filament manufacturers recommended range and then adjusting according to results. For example, PLA is typically recommended 190 - 210°C. It’s a good idea to start at 200°C and then observe printing results.

  • Extruder Wipe Temperature – This feature is only applicable to machines with a wipe procedure at the start of prints, i.e. Lulzbot Mini. Please consult your machine’s user manual for recommended settings.

  • Bed Temperature – this is the temperature of your heated bed. Some materials require a heated bed in order to get bed adhesion. Like Extruder Temperature, we recommend starting in the middle of the recommended range for the filament and adjusting according to results.

  • Bed Remove Part Temperature – this feature is only applicable to machines with a part removal procedure at the end of a print. Please consult your machine’s user manual for recommended settings

  • Retraction: Length on Move – Retraction relieves pressure in the melt zone of the hot end to prevent filament from oozing during non-printing moves. Retraction does not create a vacuum and “suck” filament back up through the nozzle. It simply retracts the solid filament above the melt zone in order to relieve pressure that causes oozing/stringing. Each hot end has different retraction settings, and too much retraction can cause jams, so consult your manufacturer’s recommended settings before adjusting this.

  • Retraction: Speed – The speed at which filament is retracted. Faster speeds can relieve pressure more quickly, but too fast can cause missed/skipped steps.

  • Z Lift – When specified, this setting causes the hot end to lift up in the Z axis before retracting and moving to another location on the print. It can be especially useful on Delta machines to reduce/eliminate stringing.

  • Retraction: Wipe Before Retract – Typically, once filament is retracted and pressure is relieved from the melt zone, slight oozing occurs immediately and then stops. When Wipe Before Retract is enabled, filament is retracted, and then the hot end moves backward along the previously printed area for a few mm, and then moves to the next printing location. This allows the material that will ooze to be deposited in an area that is not noticeable, or is less noticeable, and can greatly reduce stringing. 

You're now an expert when it comes to the Standard view in MatterControl.

Keep reading Part 3 of this series, which covers the Advanced View and all of the settings that are currently controllable.

As always, Happy Printing!

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