Origin and development of FullControl
The author and creation of FullControl
I’m Andy Gleadall, a lecturer at Loughborough University. In my PhD, I developed atomic scale simulations for the degradation of bioresorbable polymers. I then went on to 3D print the same polymers for tissue engineering research. From the very first time I used a bioprinter, I felt hugely constrained by the software, so I started writing my own scripts for GCode from the outset.
In the first few years of additive manufacturing research, I wrote scripts of gradually increasing complexity, from simple square-grid GCode generators up to an STL slicer with incorporated print-path previewer.
Upon becoming a lecturer, I realised that many students and researchers wanted to generate their own GCode but did not want to write scripts. They spent a lot of time learning programming and writing scripts, and had less time for doing the actual additive manufacturing work they were interested in.
That led me to see that a framework for GCode generation, based on simple human-understandable instructions, was needed.
I iteratively developed FullControl GCode Designer, and am now sharing it in the hope that people will find it as useful and empowering as my collaborators and I have. It’s allowed us to do things that would be impossible with scripts or slicers.
Why is FullControl free?
I have hugely benefited from free and open source software throughout my education and career. I see the value of it for everyone involved. And in line with overall research ambitions, the more people that have access to FullControl, the better. Therefore, it is supplied with a GNU GPL v3.0 open source licence. Follow-on projects to use or further develop FullControl would be an excellent outcome, and well as research or industrial collaborations. At the end of the day, I’d prefer to put my effort into enhancing FullControl and using it to do unprecedented things, rather than focusing on commercialisation.
Please make sure you give attribution to this website and the FullControl journal paper if you share results generated with the software and please cite the journal paper in publications.
I’m keen to see FullControl used to its full potential, and that may involve some coding modifications that are simple for me, but difficult for someone who’s not familiar with the program structure. Therefore, please contact me about potential revisions to the software. Similarly, I can support applications that require complicated designs using FullControl.
For research, simple collaborations are an option, aiming for top journal publications. For industrial applications, or for more extensive research, either consultancy or joint-project funding applications are more appropriate.
I’m also keen to extend FullControl in a range of ways, for example:
- Making it more accessible to non-experts
- Creating industry-specific software versions
- Adaptation for alternative processes that use GCode
- Integration of complementary capabilities (e.g. I am currently integrating my recent simulation method for microscale geometry – VOLCO).