djackson - if you have not already seen this, this link has very good information on why the slide happens - as it's suction force that prevents us from lifting straight up.
However, I like the idea of being able to slide and lift at the same time. Since the suction force is the real limiter, it would be great if the there was a way to monitor the force of Z lift (voltage variation from motor?). That way if at first the suction force was too high, the slide action starts. As soon as the Z lift force was within an acceptable range, the slide stops and the Z lift completes.
This would speed things up for the layers that have very little cross sectional area, and by not needing to go the entire 60° slide rotation in most cases.