GRO’s extensive experience designing screen-based products made us an obvious choice to help Ultimaker develop their first touch-screen enabled 3d printer, the flagship S5.
We were initially tasked with developing an elegant and useable touch-screen module that could be realized within a very tight timeline and wouldn’t radically change their existing engineering concept. To reduce tooling time and investments we challenged ourselves to achieve this with a single injection moulded part that could be easily mounted to the front of the S5.
Working very closely with Ultimaker’s design and engineering teams we also realised elegant interior hinges, magnetic door handles and a far-read blue tint for the new hardened glass doors of the S5.
Other refinements included new more opaque side panels to reduce shadowing from the interior light, new ultra-flat construction screws and work on branding and product graphics.
During this intense period, we also had the opportunity to work with Ultimaker’s UI team to give our thoughts on structure, navigation and graphic identity for their first touch screen user interface.
Ultimaker Material Station
The Material Station is a 6-spool filament ‘juke box’ that compliments the flagship Ultimaker S5 printer. It delivers almost continuous printing with up to 6 different materials and allows effortless loading of new spools, even while the printer is running. It is also temperature and humidity controlled, ensuring materials are always in optimum condition for a perfect print.
GRO worked closely with Ultimaker on the Material Station concept definition during an extensive portfolio road mapping exercise.
The main design challenge was creating a product that delivered a great user experience and became a unified whole with the S5 printer when they were together.
To further unify the products, many distinctive design elements from the S5 were implemented such as an extended aluminium opening handle, an angled black UI zone, interior lighting and a blue tint to the full width door.
The great results of these projects were only possible because of how seriously Ultimaker takes design. The exceptionally close relationship between the Ultimaker team, GRO design and our long-time collaborator Michiel Cornelissen, led to open and honest discussions and a high level of trust.