MatterControl Tutorials: Beginner
In this tutorial, you will learn the basics of how MatterControl works, and hopefully, by the end of this video and article, you will have a good lay of the land and be able to easily slice and start your first print.
When you open MatterControl for the first time, you’re going to be presented with the “Quick Tour of MatterControl.” This will broadly go over things like where the buttons you really want to pay attention to are located, and it’s quick and easy to follow. This video is going to be a deeper dive into where some of the most important features you might want to know about are located.
Along the top of the screen you have several category tabs:
- Store - Where you have quick links to MatterHackers filament, specific How-To guides, and different real-life use cases of 3D printing
- Library - Where you can quickly see all of your locally stored 3D models and models saved to the Cloud (purchased from the MatterHackers Design Store, uploaded by you, or shared by a friend).
- Hardware - Where you can add a new printer to control and use. Either choose one from the list that matches your printer, which will have settings created by the team at MatterHackers, or create your own printer profile if your printer isn’t on the list. From there, you’ll be walked through a setup process to connect your printer to your computer for printing (which you can cancel if you don’t use USB for printing).
- New Design - The first time you open MatterControl you are presented with a creative space that you can use to make anything you can imagine.
- A ‘+’ (plus) button that allows you to open a new design tab at any time, so you can work on more than one at a time.
The first time you run MatterControl you are in a design space. You can load up a part you would like to view or print, or you can start designing something new right away.
On the left, you have a bunch of shapes. These are the Design Tools. You can drag and drop these into the workspace and create your own models within MatterControl by adding and subtracting them from each other.
Along the toolbar at the top, you’ll find options for bringing in models you have saved to the Cloud or on your computer, and a variety of buttons for the setup of your models on the print bed. Some of these buttons are also used for Design Tools for some more intricate designing.
When you have something you like, either designed or imported, you can click “print” and if you don’t have a printer setup MatterControl will help you get everything up and running.
Once you have created a new printer you have some additions to the interface:
On the right, you now have a few tabs:
- Slice Settings - where you can change the settings for how the G-Code is generated; like a really fine layer height or a really dense print.
- Controls - where you can move and tune your printer. Most of the controls on this tab are grayed out if you aren’t currently connected to a printer since there would be nothing to control. Most importantly, this tab is where you go to recalibrate your printer whenever you need to. For advanced users, you can even create custom macros where, with a click of a button, you can send a series of custom G-Code commands to your printer.
To see the other tabs, select the three dots next to the bed temperature, and show Controls, Printer, and Terminal.
- Printer - Where the features of your printer are stored, like bed size, nozzle size, does it have leveling tools, or even specific G-Code to be used at the start of a print.
- Terminal - where you can manually send G-Code to your printer, or watch as G-Code is being streamed to it while you’re printing over USB. This can be helpful when trying to tune things like how accurately does your nozzle heat up, or things like that.
There are lots of ways to start using MatterControl so let’s showcase how, as a beginner, you may want to work through your first time.
- Start it up and log in, this will save your profiles to the Cloud so you can access them from anywhere.
- Select your printer from the list of Makes and Models, or select a custom one.
- I have a Pulse D-232 next to me, but you can see how many options you have here.
- With the Pulse, there are some built-in prompts to get it set up using the BL-touch, but other printers won’t have that, so I’m just going to skip over it for now.
- Once at the bed, I’m going to click here, to select a model I want to import from my computer.
- That brings it in, but it’s at a funny angle and definitely smaller than I intended.
- I can rotate it to be near where I need it, then Lay flat to bring it down right.
- I can also scale it, specifically, or I can select if it came in using the wrong units (MatterControl assumes models were designed in millimeters).
- This model that came in with it now isn’t flat, I can ungroup to be able to move it around separately.
- I can right click to copy and paste more or click this button up here to copy more. I don’t need that many, so I’ll delete these with the delete key (not backspace) or by clicking the red X.
- I could take the time to get everything spaced out neatly, or I can click “Arrange All Parts” and let MatterControl do it for me.
- Phil doesn’t need any support by design, but this example model here does. I can click here to generate support, and I can choose to have it supported only where support can touch the bed, or have it generate support everywhere. I can even delete specific support if I don’t want it there at all.
- Now that I have the bed set up with parts, I’ll make sure I have the right material selected, the right quality preset, and click slice.
- MatterControl automatically switches over to a 3D view of the slice.
- I can also view one layer at a time, and turn on or off all sorts of options for how the model is viewed.
- From here I can click print which will reslice the model if I made any changes since I last clicked slice, and then start a print on the Pulse.
- When I do that, I can modify print settings using the buttons in the top right corner for the nozzle or for the bed.
- If I wanted to print from SD card or USB stick, I could go up here, export, and select where to save it and what name.
There you go! That should be enough to get you started 3D printing using MatterControl. You can also check out the help page in the top left for some walkthroughs, or you can contact our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org or give them a call at (949) - 613 - 5838 for some live help with your specific issue. I’m Alec from MatterHackers, Thanks for watching.
To continue to the Intermediate tutorial article and video, follow this link:
To continue to the Advanced tutorial article and video, follow this link:
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