June 1, 2015
Below we can see a default 20x20x20 mm cube sliced with a thickness of 1mm.
This is the same 20x20x20 mm cube sliced with 2mm width. You can see that the outer walls are much thicker. The top and bottom will be this thicker 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.
In the support tab you can adjust many of the settings that will effect how support is produced by the slice engine
The air gap is the space between the top of the support material and the bottom of the print. Air gap is the most critical support material setting, since it controls how well the support structures will stick to your print.
The larger the air gap, the easier it will be to remove the support material. However, it will also make the bottom surface of your print messier. A smaller air gap will give a smoother, higher quality bottom surface, but also make the support material harder to remove.
Choosing the right air gap requires a lot of experimentation, and it is heavily dependent on the material you are printing. Materials that typically have stronger inter-layer adhesion, like PLA, will require a larger air gap.
Unlike other slicers, which simply skip layers, MatterControl takes a unique approach to the air gap. For the first layer of the print above the support material, the nozzle is lifted by the air gap distance. Since the nozzle is higher than it normally would be for that layer, the plastic falls a short distance onto the support material below, and cools a little while it is falling. By adjusting the air gap, you can precisely control how much the plastic cools while it falls and thus how well it sticks to the support material below.
For subsequent layers, the nozzle drops back down to the height it would be at otherwise. The air gap only affects the part of the first layer that is directly above the support material. Other parts of the layer will be printed at the normal height.
The Filament tab allows us to change the settings for our extruder and heated bed.
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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