How can I better use the Control Center?

For a long while, I simply accepted the way that Stratasys Insight software would layout multiple processed models in Control Center. It wasn’t until recent training that I learned the details of the Control Center options.

Reordering Instances

My first takeaway was learning how to reorder the model instances to my liking. Like many, I would click “Repack” or try to move the instances around on the grid in order to make the Print Head print in rows and/or columns, versus jumping all over the build. In the example below, we see copies of a single part on the grid. Each instance has a number tagged to it. The numbers denote the order that the Print Head will print. Under “Pack Details,” we can see the order layout, from top to bottom.


My optimized print order would start with #2, move left to print #5, and then move down to build #4, #3, and finally #1.

To reorder this Pack, we will work under “Pack Details,” left click the ID number and drag to our desired position. This will not rearrange the instances on the grid, but will follow the order (below) under “Pack Details.” You will see that reorder also reduced the time to build.


First Instance Origin

The first instance and all copies will automatically center on the grid. Click “Options” and uncheck “Repack models at platen center.” With this box unchecked, click “Repack” and verify that the instances layout starting on the lower left hand corner of the grid.


Grid Fill

Let’s say we want to fill the grid, but don’t want to reorder thirty instances.

We can use this feature to assist in making a part grouping in our CMB file. In the example below, I copied a new instance, manually moved the instances in a straight line, and clicked Save As (file name X). From there, I clicked “Clear Pack.” Finally, I clicked “Insert CMB” to bring in my CMB group to the entire CMB.


It is important to note that the software will remember the order of the original CMB grouping and will repeat that order for the rest of the CMB groupings. There may be times where that is undesired, but you still have the option to choose to reorder each instance, even when there are a hundred.

In the completed example above, the Print Head would start on the left of #1 and when finished it would reset to print #2 from left to right. To eliminate the diagonal (air) move, we can set the rotation to be 180. This action can be repeat as needed to reduce excess Print Head movement.


XY Gutter

Another very useful feature that can be found in Insight is the XY Gutter function. This refers to the distance around each instance. By default, Insight’s XY Gutter is set to .25 inches. There may be print jobs where you want copies to be closer or further away. Below you can see how I set the XY Gutter to .75 to increase our gap.

My most common use of this feature is when I’m trying to squeeze one more copy into the pack, so I set a very tight XY Gutter in order to fit as many models as possible.


Sacrificial Tower

The option for Sacrificial Tower is used to improve part quality. The idea is for the Print Head to deposit any strands on the tower and provide a cleaner print for the model. This is a must when printing Nylon6. Personally I don’t use this for other materials because it adds time to the build. There are three sub options; None is default, Support top and Full height.

None will not place or build a tower. Support top will build to the height of the support foundation and Full height will build a tower to the height of the tallest model.

I find Full height to be most useful when I have to use a tower.


Additional Options

The final couple options that we have the ability to edit in Command Center deal with print screen and overlapping parts.  “Print screen after downloading” and “Allow pack download with overlapping parts” are two settings that have yet to find a substantial use for. When making graphics (screen shots) like the ones you see throughout this post, I simply use my Print Screen on my keyboard, which ends up being quicker than going through the options route. Ovelapping parts does not seem like a good idea at all and I am not sure what application this could use. I would advise to leave it unchecked.

While these options allow us to edit our print jobs, I still find that the ability to “Reorder” is a great feature. This will help take some time out of builds and end any questions as to why the Print Head is all over the build. In time, Stratasys may make the “Repack” more than a center tool and include a row/colum option. For now, we will have to left click and drag in the Pack Details.


Not working like it should? 

If things didn’t go as planned when registering your account, please contact CADimensions Technical Support for further assistance. 

If you have an existing case, please contact the Application Engineer you are working with; otherwise submit a new case online.