Nanotechnology represents a major area for research and development and has already led to the introduction of hundreds of products that incorporate nanotechnology-based materials, components, or methods. It is an area of significant investment and economic development globally. NanoInk, Inc. designs and develops instrument systems used for nanotechnology research, education, and manufacturing. Our initial product was built to support sophisticated research programs in academic and government labs. It was based on a complex instrument that was difficult to learn and use: the atomic force microscope (AFM). In order to make our technology accessible and useful to a broader range of potential customers and markets, NanoInk developed a new instrument platform, NLP 2000, that is simpler to learn and operate by users who are not university-trained PhDs. This article will discuss several of the challenges, design goals, and approaches taken in developing this instrument platform.