image- HP multi-jet fusion 3d printer

Case Studies

HP MULTI-Jet Fusion 3D printer – SOFTWARE


HP, Europe

My Role

Interaction / UX Designer


This project involved the HP’s lastest 3D printing system which was its answer to 3D printing demands at an industrial scale.

A joint venture between HP & Autodesk: merging of HP’s dedication to research for 2D/3D inkjet technologies with  Autodesk’s expertise in 3D modeling apps such as Maya & Fusion360. Both companies share a common goal to unlock 3D printing’s full promise in higher speeds, higher quality, and improved User experience.

Project mission

Our team was responsible for the software which enables technicians in managing high-volume production from the workstation. The goal was to provide improvements in:

  • Deliver new User experience  with a web-app-like interaction
  • Machine management of adding printers/machines from the app
  • Preview of the models  collected in 3D and ability to move them around before queuing them to print
  • End-user is a specialised technician – very narrow & small pool to recruit test participants for this profile
  • Each printing job is typically bundled with many projects, taking 10 hours to print and, with the processing station, 10 hours to cool. This gives  few opportunities to witness in person for testing
  • Voxel 3D is newly released and needs time to penetrate public domain use – hard to anticipate common edge-cases when public are yet to use them for actual cases to learn from
Solution / action
  • The focus of our meetings & discussions were on User goals & tasks at hand. Our targets were to achieve this with minimal cognitive load and error prevention, and error correction from the Primary User persona – the technician
  • Deep level User interviews with partnering companies who have technicians with experience in using 3D printers at industrial scale
  • Test every 2 weeks regularly with whatever we have, from paper prototypes to working Rapid Prototype which are clickable
image- HP multi-jet fusion 3d printer


Claiming print speeds of up to 10-times faster than existing technology, with strong tensile materials, HP delivers production-ready functional parts, in volume for less cost than injection mold. The machine could print 5,000 units a day or 30,000 in a week. Giants in engineering/design such as BMW & Nike were the first partners to use them for their prototyping & production process.

A core concept behind the printer is the voxel-based (3D pixel) approach that HP has taken. The entire build space is broken down into trillions of 3D printed points, which are addressed by the tens of thousands of print heads which print the agents onto the powder. All of this is managed by the software.

Primary user persona - the operator

As a key step in pre-processing & preparation of the model, the printers come with their own suite of software tools to ease the workflow for the end-user, the technician. It was essential to understand the key concerns & frustrations which Users  have in the key phases in their workflow & tasks to complete:

  •  Import the 3D files
  • Auto-fix the anomalies in the models within the suite of tools
  • Auto-pack the multiple projects (of models) into printing jobs
  • Preview the printing jobs
  • Choose the printer
  • Send to print


Autodesk’s platform Spark and its web application Fusion 3D were the guiding the way for the project in approaching the foundational interaction challenges in the 3D space. There were plenty of nuanced edge cases which were novel for the HP printer. The information exchange between software & printer was certainly a design challenge to tackle at every step in the process.