NovaSpider Tutorials

Example of a pattern generated with FullControl G-code design for MEW
Example of a pattern generated with FullControl G-code for MEW

Tutorial Nº3:

Use FullControl G-Code Designer for MEW

Welcome to our comprehensive tutorial on using FullControl G-Code Designer for MEW 3D printing. Melt-electrowriting (MEW) is an advanced technique with applications in bioprinting and tissue engineering, and FullControl is your key to unlocking its full potential.

In this guide, we will cover the essential concepts of MEW and introduce you to the critical parameters involved. Then, we will delve into FullControl Gcode Designer, a powerful tool that empowers you to create precise and customized Gcodes for MEW applications. 

If you are new to G-code generation for melt-electrowriting (MEW) do not miss our prevous tutorials:

  1. Introduction to G-Code for MEW
  2. Use Standard Slicers to Generate G-Code for MEW

Understanding Melt-Electrowriting (MEW) and Key Parameters

Melt Electrowriting (MEW) is an advanced 3D printing technique used in applications like bioprinting and tissue engineering. MEW utilizes an electric field to draw fine polymer fibers from a molten source. To get started, it’s crucial to grasp the following key parameters:

High Voltage:

In Melt Electrowriting (MEW) systems, a high voltage power source is essential to create the electric field needed for fiber formation. This electric field acts as the force responsible for extracting the fiber from the molten polymer and guiding it towards the collector. Therefore, it is desirable to have a strong electric field. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of the air’s electric breakdown limit, which is approximately 0.6 kV/mm but can vary depending on factors like relative humidity and air conditions. To ensure efficient fiber generation without causing electric discharges, it’s important to maintain a balanced gradient within this limit.

Extrusion Feed rate:

The extrusion feed rate manages the flow of molten polymer, often adjusted through pressure control. In some cases, it can also be controlled by the movement of a piston or a screw, depending on the extrusion method. Regulating this flow rate results in changes to the fiber diameter. A higher feed rate leads to thicker fibers, while too little feed rate can produce fibers within the range of a few microns or even below a micron. This can result in a curly effect in the deposited fiber, caused by a wiping action. Whether this effect is desirable or not depends on the application, as MEW applications typically require straight fibers.

Nozzle-to-Collector Distance:

Keeping the right space between the nozzle and the collector plate or bed is essential for precise printing. If it’s too close, it can impact fiber diameter and even create an electric field. On the flip side, the closer it is, the more precise your prints will be. Finding the right balance between proximity and avoiding these unwanted effects is crucial.

Print Movement Speed:

The speed at which the nozzle moves in relation to the collector while printing has a significant impact on print quality. It affects factors like fiber diameter, feature accuracy, and can even lead to a curling effect if it’s too slow.

Material properties:

Each material has its own properties, and they are crucial for the way they will behave during the MEW process. The chemical composition and molecular weight play an important role together with the presence of additives or impurities. All of them influence the viscosity, Fluence rate, Poisson’s ratio, and conductivity that dramatically affect the material behavior during the MEW process.

Melt-Electrowriting (MEW) is an advanced 3D printing method revolutionizing bioprinting and tissue engineering. By leveraging high voltage, it draws fine polymer fibers from molten sources, necessitating a strong but safe electric field. Managing the extrusion feed rate controls fiber thickness, while the nozzle-to-collector distance and print movement speed ensure precise outcomes. Materials’ unique properties, like composition and additives, significantly impact behavior during MEW. Understanding these key parameters unlocks MEW’s potential for groundbreaking applications.

SEM images of a PCL Melt-Electrowritten sample using NovaSpider. J.Latasa and C.Tollan at CIC nanoGUNE
SEM images of a PCL Melt-Electrowritten sample using NovaSpider. J.Latasa and C.Tollan at CIC nanoGUNE

FullControl: Unconstrained Gcode Design also for MEW applications

FullControl Gcode Designer is a powerful alternative tool for generating Gcode in the 3D printing world created by Andrew Gleadall and his team at Loughborough University. It is open source and stands out for its unique capability to create parametrizable geometries, making it invaluable for dynamic non-standard 3D printing applications.

FullControl G-code design used for MEW

Advantages of Using FullControl G-Code Designer for MEW

FullControl offers numerous advantages for MEW applications:

Parametric Precision and Optimization:

FullControl offers unparalleled parametric design capabilities, enabling scientists to create complex 3D models and Gcodes based on adjustable functions. This precision is vital in scientific applications where precise geometry and parameters are critical, such as tissue engineering and microfluidics. Scientists can fine-tune structures for specific experiments, optimizing research outcomes.

Complex Function-Based Designs and Enhanced Reproducibility:

FullControl enables the creation of intricate geometries based on complex mathematical functions, a valuable capability in scientific research. This enhances reproducibility by translating conceptual designs into precise Gcodes, ensuring consistent and accurate results in experiments.

Streamlined Workflow for Scientific Research:

FullControl offers scientists a streamlined workflow, simplifying the process of converting design concepts into precise Gcodes. This efficiency is especially valuable in time-sensitive scientific research, allowing researchers to focus on experimentation rather than grappling with complex Gcode generation. By streamlining the workflow, FullControl accelerates scientific progress and ensures consistent, reproducible results.


FullControl is open-source, making it accessible to a broad community of researchers and developers. Collaboration and customization are at the core of its utility.

In summary, FullControl G-code design for MEW offers scientific researchers a powerful and flexible platform for designing and printing intricate structures with precision. Its parametric capabilities, optimization potential, and open-source nature make it a valuable asset in scientific applications, particularly in the pursuit of cutting-edge solutions in fields like tissue engineering and microfabrication.

Step-by-Step Guide: FullControl G-Code Design for MEW

Step 1: Using FullcontrolXYZ in Google Colab

In this step, we will show you how to access FullControl in Google Colab, a cloud-based Python environment. This approach eliminates the need for local installations and ensures accessibility for all skill levels. Follow these steps:

  1. Watch the Quick-Start video: Begin by watching a quick-start video below that introduces you to FullControl.

  1. Visit the FullcontrolXYZ GitHub repository for an introductory explanation.

  2. Explore the FullcontrolXYZ tutorials in Google Colab to test available demos, create, and run your FullControl scripts. Colab offers a user-friendly environment without the complexities of local installations.

  3. For a more detailed instructions explore our Step-by-Step tutorial below:

Guide 4: Example use of FullControl G-code Designer for MEW


Step 2: Testing Gcode with a Visualizer

Validate your Gcode to ensure it aligns with your project requirements. After generating Gcode with FullControlXYZ, it’s crucial to validate it before printing. Use an online Gcode simulator/visualizer like to review the toolpath and ensure it aligns with your project requirements.


Step 3: Customizing Gcode for Your MEW System

Learn to adapt Gcode for your specific MEW system. Customize parameters like nozzle-to-collector distance, temperatures, movement speeds, and more. Ensure precise results tailored to your setup. These customizations ensure precise and tailored results for your unique MEW setup.

  1. Open the Gcode file in a text editor like Brackets or any preferred editor.
Image of the Brackets text editor interface that can be used to post process the FullControl G-code designed for MEW
Image of the Brackets text editor interface that can be used to post process the G-code.
  1. Introduce custom commands in the header and end sections of the file. Customize parameters such as nozzle-to-collector distance, extruder and collector temperatures, movement speeds, high voltage settings, extruder pressure (if applicable), and any other system-specific configurations.

Attention: Remember to deactivate the extruder if your FullControl script since material extrusion is independently controlled using hydrostatic pressure.


T0 M109 S75   ; Temperature hotend 1
T1 M109 S75    ; Temperature hotend 2
T0                      ; Change hotend
G28                   ; Send tool to Home.
G0 X0 Y0           ; Move to that position.
G0 Z5               ; Move the platform to 5 mm.
G92 Z0             ; Reset Z=5 to be new 0
M54 S6000      ; HV2 set to 6000 V.
M53 S500        ; Extruder pressure 500 Bar.
G0 F800           ; Set movement SPEED.

G28                      ; Home
M53 S0                ; hv OFF
M104 S0              ; Temperature 1 turn off
T1 M104 S0         ; Temperature 2 turn off

Examples for “header” and “tail” G-code

Conclusion: Unlock the Potential of MEW with FullControl

In the world of Melt Electrowriting (MEW) applications, precision and flexibility are paramount. FullControl G-code design for MEW empowers you to achieve both, offering a dynamic toolset for designing and printing intricate structures with unparalleled accuracy.

By harnessing the parametric precision of FullControl, scientists and researchers can fine-tune their designs, optimizing geometries and parameters for experiments in diverse fields like tissue engineering and microfluidics. The open-source nature of FullControl fosters collaboration, allowing you to share your designs and insights within the scientific community, accelerating advancements in cutting-edge research.

As you embark on your journey to master FullControl for MEW 3D printing, we invite you to explore the possibilities it unlocks. Dive into the FullControlXYZ GitHub repository, delve into the tutorials, and leverage Google Colab to unleash the full potential of this remarkable tool. With FullControl, you’re not just designing; you’re shaping the future of scientific exploration.

Join us in the pursuit of precision, innovation, and discovery. Explore FullControl further and make your mark in the world of MEW applications.

Unlock MEW’s potential with FullControl – your gateway to limitless possibilities.

Recommended Sources and References:

  1. FullControlXYZ GitHub Repository
  2. Tutorials – FullControl GCODE Designer
  3. FullControl GCODE Designer – Official Website
  4. Technology: NovaSpider – Melt electrospinning and Solution electrospinning

If you are happy with the job done by FullControl, please cite the original journal paper ( available to download free from the website and give Andy Greadall and Dirk Leas some well deserved kudos!

Last updated on September 12th, 2023 by
Javier Latasa Martinez de Irujo
Mechatronic Design | Electrospinning | R&D Projects | PMP®