3D printed glasses: Taking the eyewear industry to the next level
3D printing is now changing how glasses are designed and manufactured. Many eyewear manufacturers, or even individuals, are starting to adopt this layer-by-layer technique, mainly to differentiate their products from their competitors and bring more innovation to their glasses designs. But 3D printing technology also offers new possibilities for your eyewear company.
Why is additive manufacturing so interesting for this sector? What are the best projects? Let’s find out and get inspired to start your own custom 3D printed eyeglasses project.
Why is 3D printing a great technology for the eyewear industry?
3D printing brings unlimited possibilities of designs
There is a simple sentence that clearly defines the whole potential of 3D printing when it comes to creation and design: “The only limit is your own imagination”. Indeed, this technology allows you to create extremely complex structures, and in some cases, designs that you could not even make come true without 3D printing due to traditional manufacturing constraints.
In the eyewear industry, this technology has been used more and more to create 3D printed glasses since it opens a broad range of possibilities to create 3D printed glasses frames totally custom-made. You can easily create either simple and complex designs.
Custom-made 3D printed glasses are more comfortable
For the person wearing glasses, choosing the right pair is not an easy task. Finding comfortable glasses with good design takes time. Also, the limited choices of design, in some cases, lead the wearer to sacrifice the design above their own comfort. Thanks to this cutting-edge technology, 3D printed glasses can be customized to fit the individual’s needs. It gives the wearer a feeling of comfort and at the same time a cool style.
Besides offering freedom of designs and shapes, 3D printing uses less material to produce glasses frames. Additive manufacturing also offers new opportunities, it is actually a great way to improve your product thanks to new designs and new materials: lighter 3D printed glasses frames can be made thanks to 3D printable frames.
With 3D printing, you can produce high-quality glasses
When it comes to choosing glasses, quality of the material, resistance and durability are the main elements that need to be taken into account. To produce the same quality of glasses, Polyamide 12, known as Nylon, is commonly used to 3D print glasses frame. This material has the expected properties, being resistant, durable and offers great freedom for design. Thus, thanks to 3D printing you can create high-quality 3D printed glasses. For the moment, companies 3D print frames, but soon, it could even become possible for you to 3D print lenses for your glasses
Build your brand thanks to 3D printing
3D printing helps you get ahead of your competitors, by getting a much more efficient manufacturing process. Moreover, using additive manufacturing is the perfect way to build your brand and your DNA. Using 3D printing, combines aesthetics and innovation, pushing your company to a brand new level.
Optimize your supply-chain
If you want to use additive manufacturing to create finished 3D printed glasses, then, this technology will help you optimize your whole production process. Indeed, using additive manufacturing also means reducing your stock. With traditional manufacturing techniques, you need to build your stock, but with 3D printing: you avoid waste, you can produce your parts when you need them!
Best 3D printed glasses projects
3D printed glasses have been around for years and many companies started to adopt this innovation to improve their design. Here are some 3D printed glasses manufacturers that adopted this technology to improve their products, or their manufacturing process.
Sculpteo recently partnered with Netlooks, a company precisely at crossroads of technology and craftsmanship. This eyewear company is now making the most of the advantages of 3D printing.
In the beginning, Netlooks was handling everything in-house: customers just had to choose the eyewear, get a face scan, and try a test model, before getting the final handmade product. But here is the problem, per store, more than 200 testing models were required, involving more than 1000 hours of work and a dozen craftsmen dedicated to creating them. That is precisely where 3D printing appeared to be the best solution for Netlooks, to create their test eyewear models and scale their business growth! The final product is still handcrafted, but 3D scanning helps to create 3D models, and 3D printed glasses helps to ensure that the eyewear frames are perfectly adapted to the customer’s morphology.
Aiming to bring innovation to the fashion industry, Monoqool manufactures its own 3D printed glasses. In its new Slider Collection, this Danish-based eyewear company creates ultra-thin and lightweight glasses thanks to 3D printing. In this case, additive manufacturing is used to improve the product, not to create extravagant designs and collections. These glasses frames are simple and feature screwless hinges.
Creating 3D printed eyewear made in France! October71 uses our online 3D printing service to create ultra-light glasses. According to its founder Christophe Mouty, 3D printing for optics is a way to make light products, actually 30% lighter than acetate or plastic on average), but also very robust, customizable eyeglasses and sunglasses. It definitely helps optimize the supply chain of a eyewear manufacturer.
Oxydo is another brand, creating what they call “wearable sculptures”. This company is pushing the limits of creativity, using 3D technology to develop their impressive products. Colorful and original 3D printed sunglasses, with architectural forms and a lot of details.
Additive manufacturing also allows for fancy possibilities. Hoet is a Belgian eyewear design company. Their goal is clearly to use 3D printing technology in order to experiment and find new designs. These glasses are another proof that additive manufacturing is able to create end products with great quality.
Another eyewear company that adopts this cutting-edge technology to create 3D printed glasses that really fit you. Protos Eyewear is using 3D printing at a more complex level than the previous brands: Protos created a software that allows them to alter the design of glasses to fit your facial structure. Using hypoallergenic bioplastics, Protos Eyewear creates innovative designs that are impossible to replicate using a traditional manufacturing process.
How to create your 3D printed glasses with Sculpteo?
Manufacturing eyewear is not an easy thing to do, but 3D printing can help you with the manufacturing process, for rapid prototyping for example, but also for the production of your finished eyewear product. At Sculpteo, we help you give life to your 3D design in a few clicks.
Choose the best materials
Each project you develop has its own needs. This means, each project will need a different 3D printing material, different material properties, and a different finished look.
So what material will be the best option in order to develop your 3D printed eyeglasses? For a reliable and economical project, the best choice will be to use a powder bed fusion technology, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), which offers you possibilities to print using various of our plastic materials such as Nylon PA12, or Multi Jet Fusion PA12 and make the most of great finishes for your 3D printed glasses, or 3D printed sunglasses.
You could go even further by developing glasses made using plastic and metal 3D printing: technology such as binder jetting could be used to add details and some jewelry to your creations. Additive manufacturing offers new opportunities, impossible to reach with traditional manufacturing techniques.
The perfect finish for your 3D printed glasses
You are now ready to 3D print your own glasses, but we have one more tip for you. Indeed, to help you get the best finished product, we recommend you to add the Color touch finish to your 3D printed glasses. This finish is available on our online 3D printing service thanks to the DyeMansion technology and will optimize the final look of your glasses by giving them a satin look. At Sculpteo, we already 3D printed luxury sunglasses with this finish. They have been used daily for more than two years now, and their colors are still UV-stable and brilliant.
Check out the color touch finish page to get more information about the DyeMansion technology and the colors available for your 3D printed glasses.
So, do you have any idea in mind about your own 3D printed glasses design? Print your own glasses right now by uploading your 3D file. Make the most of our professional 3D printers and receive your parts in a few days! From rapid prototyping to production, additive manufacturing will help you give life to your 3D design.
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