In Depth: MatterControl Cloud Library for Designs
An exploration of the 'Cloud Library' in MatterControl - a new way to store and manage your 3D printable designs, available as of version 1.4.
The latest version of MatterControl, version 1.4, adds a nifty new feature for managing designs - the Cloud Library. This article examines the Cloud Library depth, showing how this new storage option works and can be used to make your life just a little bit easier.
The Cloud Library works by lazily syncing your files across any devices where you are currently signed into your MatterControl account. This means that when you add a file to your library it is uploaded to the cloud immediately and then downloaded as needed by any other connected device. So, for example, you can add a design to your library using your web browser and then 3D print it later from MatterControl on another computer.
To start using the Cloud Library you will need to first navigate to the 'Library' tab. Clicking on 'Cloud Library' will prompt you to login. You must be logged into your MatterControl account in order to use the Cloud Libary. If you don't have an account already, setting one up is simple - just select 'Create An Account' on the login screen and follow the prompts.
Files can be added to the Cloud Library (or the Local Library), by selecting the 'Add' button at the bottom of the Library tab and choosing the file or files you would like to add. You can also add designs by dragging and dropping files from your desktop into the Library. Supported file formats are .stl, .amf and .gcode. For .stl and .amf design files MatterControl will automatically generate a thumbnail preview of the object for easy reference.
Folders and Navigation
The new MatterControl library introduces 'Folders', a file management concept that may be familiar to users of modern computers. Folders allow you to organize your design files into multiple separate directories or subdirectories. Navigating into a folder is a matter of double-clicking the folder or single-clicking the 'open' button.
You can navigate back to a previous folder using the breadcrumbs found at the top of the library. Selecting 'Home', for example, will take you back the the top level of the Library. You can also select 'back' to go up a single level from within a subdirectory.
Edit mode is not new to version 1.4, but it does have new options. Putting the Library into edit mode by selecting 'Edit' (next to the search bar) allows you to select multiple folders or designs and take actions related to your selection. Folders and designs have different options, described below:
Remove - Removes the folder entirely. Just a warning, this will delete any designs or subfolders that are currently located within the folder you are removing.
Rename - Change the name of the folder to the new name specified. Some folders, such as 'Shared with Me' are locked and their name cannot be manually edited.
Export - Brings up a dialogue of options allowing you to export your design file in one of several formats (such as .gcode or .x3g). This option may be disabled if a design has been shared with you as 'read-only'.
Edit - Opens the design file for editing. For example, parts can be scaled, rotated or moved prior to printing.
Remove - Removes the design from the current folder.
Share - Opens up sharing options for the designs (more on this below).
Rename - Allows you to change the name of the design as it appears in the library.
Add to Queue - Moves one or more selected items into the print queue to be printed.
Sharing A Design
As a new feature of the cloud library, it is now possible to share design files with someone - either directly or by creating a public share code. Shared users will have read-only access to the design, which means they can view and 3D print the design, but not modify or export it.
Sharing a design directly involves entering the person's email address which generates an invite specific to that person.
Once a share invite has been submitted, the recipient will receive an email that includes a link for accepting the invite. The person with whom a design has been shared will need to create an account if they do not already have one and then log in to accept.
You can also share a design by generating a share code. This code can be shared publicly or privately - anyone with the share code will be able to unlock the shared design with read-only access.
Using Share Codes
You can use a share code that has been shared with you by going to 'File' > 'Enter Share Code' and entering the code provided within the prompt. After entering the share code, you will see a 'Shared with Me' folder where all items that have been shared with you are stored.
Cloud Library on the Web
You can access your designs from the web using the MatterControl Sync site. Many of the actions and options on the website are similar to those found in both MatterControl Desktop and MatterControl Touch.
If you have any unanswered questions about the Cloud Library, feel free to post them in the comments below.
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