Nano Dimension
Fabrica 2.0
Nano 3D printer
Machine interface
2020 - ongoing (TENA studio)

Nanodimension | Fabrica 2.0

Nano 3D printer machine interface

2020 - Ongoing (TENA studio)


Fabrica 2.0 machine is a nano 3D printer. The physical machine (Industrial Design) was also designed by TENA studio. The Fabrica 2.0 has an integrated screen with a dedicated system to control the machine. The client asked for a complete redesign of the system including fitting the new screen to flow more seamlessly with the machine.

1st generation

2nd generation


I joined TENA studio as a Product Designer about 2 months before the project began. TENA studio was founded by two Industrial Designers integrating two disciplines - Industrial Design & UX/UI. I joined the studio right after they assembled the first designed machine.

I’ve grown tremendously at TENA. Some key insights which I have listed below:

  • I have been part of a few design processes that started from non to fully functional systems that are being used by hundreds of users around the world.
  • I had experience working in global teams from different fields to develop a product as a team.
  • I practiced designing new features inside existing systems and developing a new solution to fit within the design system.
  • I have mastered forming complex systems into simple and user-friendly interfaces.
  • I took part in designing for multiple fields such as medical, manufacturing, games, cosmetics, and consumer electronics.

My role

As part of the UX/UI Team, I participated in all phases of the project. Research, wireframing, prototyping, detailed UI design, and handover to developers.

To the point.

(Followed by a detailed case study)

User testing and machine updates were an iterative process that affected the design multiple times during the process. The machine's abilities and features have been updated over time.

The General problem

We had a few key issues we wanted to solve:

  • As part of designing a new location for the integrated screen, we found out that the most sufficient way would be to use a full HD 21” screen in a vertical orientation. This way the machine's aesthetics won’t be harmed. The unusual interface orientation will be a fun opportunity to think outside the box.
  • The company had single units sold to customers. The current interface is complex and most of the machine operation is made by operators that had specific training by the company. This means that most of our test users will be well-trained in-house operators. On the one hand, they know everything about the machine, but on the other, they are biased by the current terminology, interface, and processes.
  • The current interface has no hierarchy and all available operations are clustered together.
  • Because the printer is using SLA technology, the users have no visual way to estimate the progress of the model. We found that users can not estimate the correlation between the x% and the physical status of the model.
  • The printing preparation process and maintenance sessions are partly complex without a training. There should be a lot of guidance through the process without bothering the more experienced operators.

Industrial design screen tests

Given user interface to be rethought and redesigned by TENA


Due to the lack of trained operators for the machine, we conducted research using few methods at once.

  • Interviewing the operators to find their current needs and pain points.
  • Interviewing SLA 3D printer owners, seeking similarities in pain points and finding related pain points from much cheaper and simpler machines.
  • Going over the existing user journey and printing process with both the physical machine and the current interface to uncover pain points and unclear flows.


After collecting the data from the research, we went into mapping the current interface to flows and static screens. There were a few things we could mark from this analysis phase:

  • Determining the range of end-users we need to design for, we agreed on three main users - an operator at the location, a maintenance operator from the company, and an advanced service operator.
  • The previous interface does not have any hierarchy and all users can control the whole machine.
  • There was a lack of correlation between the tasks the operator needs to do in the physical machine and the tasks the interface has shown.
  • The machine had different states in the backend, but there was no indication for any of them in the interface. These states control the availability to start a print, control machine motors, or change printing parameters values.
  • The interface was clustered with technical wording only the internal R&D team knew how to translate.
  • There was no view of the printed model / 3D file before, during or after the print.

Wireframing the solution

Based on the above problems identified. We worked towards addressing these pain points by coming up with potential solutions:

  • Design visual wizards to allow the most untrained operator to use the machine.
  • Define the right hierarchy to hide the advanced settings and operations from the average user.
  • Establish a clear visual form hierarchy of the main screen with a 3D model view and printing progress.
  • The machine had different states in the backend, but there was no indication for any of them in the interface. These states control the availability to start a print, control machine motors, or change printing parameters values.
  • Define specific machine states and include an indication for each.

We mocked up some wireframes to gather feedback about the overall layout. The challenge of designing for a vertical integral screen is different than designing a mobile app. There were ergonomic issues that need to be considered both in the physical world and digital world.

First wireframing examples

Information architecture

Advanced wireframing

Focus point - print progress

Fabrica 2.0 is a nano printer, and as such, it takes a lot of time to print. We are talking about days.Because the machine is a closed box with no way to foresee the object mid printing. Without the interface, the operator can not know if the machine works at all. We wanted the operators to indicate the print progress with some info that the machine is running correctly and as planned.

We suggested adding a wireframed 3D view of the current loaded / printed model with its progress indicated as filling of the body. This progress indication was an opportunity to include a few more important parameters: layer progress, and layer change.

Printing progress visualization concepts

Focus point - machine status

If SLA printers weren’t complex enough already, a nano SLA printer is much more. The machine goes through a few processes until it’s ready to print. In the current interface, there was no indication of the machine state and availability for print. We chose to solve that issue in a few major paths:

  • Keeping a constant machine status indication at the top of the interface. This part will include the printing progress bar once printing has been started.
  • Adding a secondary machine status section in the main screen that will reflect different machine parameters as a content-aware component. This section will add important information for the operator during different machine states, wizards, and maintenance operations.
  • In most cases, the machine will be part of a bigger manufacturing floor. We wanted to allow the operator to know the machine's status without coming over. We used a strong color coding language in a few parts of the main screen interface for the operator to see in a high level - even from a far distance.

UI concepts

Because the physical machine was designed by TENA studio, we already had a basic artistic direction for the UI. The interface has to be coherent with the physical machine design and reflect the company's essence as leader in the industry. The UI concepts phase allowed us to refine the UX in more detail and to play with different variations.

Results and takeways

The company has showcased the new Fabrica 2.0 3D printer with it’s new Interface in Formnext 2021 with high engagement from the participants.

  • Working on an interface that is an integral part of a machine was a steep learning curve. We had many feature ideas that might be a good experience in the digital interface but requires a lot of development in the physical machine.
  • The fact there were not so many users, and the ones we had were very much familiar with the machine, played as a comfort and a challenge at the same time. It was very interesting to see the professional's point of view in comparison to non-operators that had no idea what some parameters even means. It allowed us to create a user journey that makes the maintenance and printing process accessible even for a non-operator.
  • Focus on the problem. Working with a startup company means the time and effort have to go to the right directions in the right order. A startup company works under a lot of pressure and our point of view helped the team to prioritize their tasks for development. It was our responsibility to define which parts of the interface are crucial in each phase of development sprints to achieve a stable user experience.