CNC routing or laser cutting with MatterControl

  • I have a Lulzbot Taz 5 that I love and use with MatterControl.

    Recently I built my own CNC Router/Cutter based on the MPCNC (Mostly Printed CNC) design and kit - The MPCNC platform can be used as a 3D printer, a CNC mill or a laser cutter and can built at almost any size (I built my MPCNC platform with a massive work area of 24" x 48" x 4"). The MPCNC kit from is controlled by Arduino and RAMPS 1.4, so MatterControl has had no problems controlling the CNC platform like any other 3D printer. I pushed a Sharpie around the MPCNC with MatterControl like a giant Etch-a-Sketch last night. I could easily add an extruder to my MPCNC to make it a giant 3D printer with 24"x48", but since I have a TAZ 5 already, I want to route and cut with it instead of printing (hence the short Z-axis of 4").

    Currently, if you are a designer on a Mac then there are no solutions. PCs have a lot of crappy CNC programs available, but I would have to get a windows machine. Inventibles has a web based CNC Router controller with some light TinkerCAD like features called Easel - Unfortunately, Easel only plays with Inventibles' own CNC mills. Fusion 360 supposedly can control my MPCNC on a Mac, but there is a step learning curve to it. I would love to have MatterControl remotely control my TAZ 5 and my MPCNC.

    Are there any plans to extend MatterControl out beyond purely 3D printer control?

    Does anyone know of any plug-ins or extensions for MatterControl to allow for basic routing or even more simply – just cutting?

    Here is a quick video showing MatterControl pushing my large MPCNC build around. Please tell me there are plans to control other forms of matter than just plastic with MatterControl.

  • If anyone is interested in this at all, I spent all day yesterday looking at the options and doing some quick experiments with the MPCNC.

    I just ordered a GRBL shield to try out instead of the RAMPS 1.4 shield my MPCNC kit had in it. Looks like with GRBL (instead of Marlin + RAMPS), I might be able to trick Easel into thinking my MPCNC is a Shapeoko and use Easel to directly drive the router from a browser after it has generated the tool paths. I also found a port of GRBL that runs on RAMPS 1.4 if anyone is interested in that as well.

    Are there any plugins or even an API available for MatterControl? Still rather have MatterControl drive my MPCNC, but I guess I will find a work around.

  • MatterHackers

    There isn't an API or any plug-ins available (yet) that will let you use MC with the MPCNC. You can run gcode through MatterControl, but you need to generate the toolpath with CAM software (fusion360 is full-featured and free).
    I built an MPCNC about 6 months ago, and ended up running it as a 3D printer for a little bit. I would highly recommend not making your machine compatible with Easel just for the sake of using Easel. We have an X-Carve, and Easel is pretty terrible in terms of features and usability.

  • MatterHackers

    While there is no API for MatterControl it is open source and you can view it on Github.
    While there is a plugin system in MC I believe the key problem here is the lack of a "slicer" for a CNC Mill. If you can find/write a program that will accept the settings MC outputs and generate a proper toolpath for your CNC Mill then you can follow the instructions here to connect it to MC.

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