3D printing marketplaces are full of accessories: you name it and you will find it in every size, design and material. I would like to focus on one particular accessory. A design that is a necessity for a lot of people – functional, detailed and, above all, very personal and comfortable to wear: glasses.
There are some interesting 3D printing developments regarding glassesthat are worth mentioning, especially when it comes to customization and logistics such as transport and inventory costs.
Ron Arad has been designing with 3D printing for many years. One of his recent projects is designing the frames of optical and sun glasses models for pq eyewear (see above). In March 2015, pq launched the D-frame collection, a single frame model, no hinges, no joints, yet flexible, feather weight, in a variety of colors. A high quality design with a clear signature from Arad. Another very sympathetic example of 3D printed eyewear is Soda Sunglasses (bottom image in this blog). Using the specific characteristics of FDM printing, Soda Sunglasses offer the option of choosing between different colored frames and arms with one pair of glass lenses. You pick the colors you like, order them and the glasses are sent to your address.
The two above mentioned examples do not have the option of customized frames and arms. However, each face is unique. The distance between the eyes, as well as nose and ear measurements differ for each person and even over the years for the same person. Adjustments to fixed models need to be done by a specialist. With current software and 3D printing it is much easier to personalize frames and arms to your own face and style. Mono Eyewear is a collection of eyewear that makes it possible to adjust your glasses and to bring the perfect-fit (and enhance wearing comfort) by providing the choice of size (S, M, and L) for 3 dimensions: temple/arm length, frame width, and nose depth. The frame and arms are 3D printed, lightweight, and made out of one piece, thanks to a patent-pending design of the DNA-hinge (see above). Two other examples of personalization of 3D printed frames, thanks to advanced software, are Protos Eyewear (see one of their available frames below) and Boulton Eyewear. With an easy scan of one’s face (either by taking photos or making a video), the manufacturer adjusts the 3D digital model of the frame and arms according to the unique facial proportions. The glasses are 3D printed (so no material waste) and sent to the customer.
The current advantages of these businesses is that there is no need for a physical inventory (frames are made to order) and there is a direct interaction with the customer. Ideally, in the near future, the customer should receive the personalized digital file and have the glasses printed at his nearest printer service to avoid high transport costs or even lost or damaged products while shipping.
If you have interesting designs of eyewear or if you have other ideas on 3D printing advantages for designers and customers, please comment on this blog below. For those interested, we will feature pictures of designs you send to us on our Pinterest board.