Let’s face it: most desktop 3D printers are pretty dumb. But now you can add some smarts to your device with the MatterControl Touch.
The MatterControl Touch is a set-top box that you attach to your 3D printer. It requires only a 3D printer with USB capability, and currently over 40 printer models are supported, including “Any 3D printer that runs G-code”. That’s a lot of 3D printers!
Hardware-wise, the MatterControl Touch is essentially an Android-based tablet that’s attached to your 3D printer. It provides a full-color large touchscreen, apps and connectivity to the internet.
For software, the MatterControl touch performs not only printer management, but also can slice 3D models using open source software under the covers. The software also includes an ability to do software-based leveling. 3D models can be modified slightly, but for serious work you’d still want to use separate 3D CAD software. Printing operations can be monitored remotely (including with the onboard camera), because the MatterControl Touch is connected to the internet.
Here’s where it gets interesting. The internet capability can be used to store your models and sliced GCODE in a cloud service. You’re able to access these files from anywhere, too. But if you can access the cloud, can you access online repositories of 3D models, too? Yes, you can!
This means that with this box, your 3D printer would instantly be able to access hundreds of thousands of pre-made 3D models and send them directly to the printer for production! Think about that: ALL of the internet’s 3D models are accessible by your printer if you simply add this control box!
You can purchase one of these interesting boxes for only USD$299, and for that you’ll also receive updates to the software. They say they’re working on these features, too:
- Secure Cloud-based Control
- Support for .x3g and .s3g 3D Printers
- More Camera Integration (time lapse videos, streaming prints, etc)
- Voice Command
- Developer API
The company is also working with several 3D printer manufacturers with the intent of directly embedding the MatterControl Touch into the machines. Thus, when you see a fancy color touch screen on a future printer, it might just be the MatterControl Touch.