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FAQ on 3D Printed Eyewear
You probably know a little bit about 3D printing by this point. It’s like a regular printer, but it makes real stuff. When it comes to prototypes, model products, etc. there are lots of natural applications for 3D printing. But why is it so big in the world of eyewear? Is it a trend? A gimmick to make certain glasses sound more interesting than others?
Not at all. 3D printing and eyewear have proven to be a natural pairing for a number of reasons. Today we look at a few of the many benefits that come with 3D printed eyewear.
Enormous Design Potential
With high-quality 3D printers, there is truly no end to the level of design sophistication that you can apply to your prints. The sky is limit when it comes to creating unique patterns and structures. There is an almost artisanal quality to the process of 3D printed eyewear.
If you can dream up a pair of glasses, you can make them with a 3D printer.
They Can be Extremely Comfortable
Made to order, bespoke eyewear is designed to fit the face of the wearer. Using the unique measurements of the customer’s face, eyewear makers can produce glasses with customized dimensions you just won’t find in frames that were bought off the rack.
Even when 3D printed glasses are not made to order, however, the still usually have an edge over competing pairs. Namely, they are typically of a lighter weight.
3D printers usually use less material than traditional production methods which means they also sit lighter on the face of the wearer.
They Use the Right Material
Nylon is the most commonly used material when it comes to 3D printed glasses, and for good reason. For one thing, nylon naturally produces the comfort factor highlighted in our last heading. It is a simultaneously durable and lightweight material that sits well on the face.
It’s also just naturally resistant to all of the factors that might otherwise be perilous for eyewear. Resistant to sunlight, dirt, chemicals, and normal levels of trauma, it should stand up well to daily wear and tear.
When you get right down to it, there really isn’t anything that 3D printed glasses don’t do well. Durable, comfortable, and completely unique, there isn’t anything else like them in the world of eyewear.
When it comes to 3D printing there are a variety of different technologies available, each one with its own unique set of benefits. Some printers are good for classrooms others for large scale production. Each comes with its own unique set of pros and cons.
However, when it comes to making custom eyewear for the consumer looking for the very best product they can get their hands on one method stands out above the rest: SLS.
Today, we look at why Selective Laser Sintering is the best way to produce high-end eyewear.
First, What do We Mean By Premium Eyewear?
Defining premium eyewear is a good way to determine exactly what sort of technology is needed to produce the desired results. After all, if the only goal of a pair of glasses is to serve as a generic container for your prescription, most printers will do.
When it comes to premium eyewear, however, the goals are usually a little bit loftier. A premium pair of glasses should be fit to the precise specifications of the wearer’s. face Bespoke eyewear is prized for the level of comfort and style it produces.
However, to deliver on these requisites, technology like an SLS printer is necessary.
Of the many 3D printing technologies, SLS is prized the most for the high-level of performance that it is able to produce. SLS printers use high powered laser to combine powder particles to create a solid, nuanced final product.
SLS printers are able to produce a level of detail that lower-end units simply cannot hope to match. Interior features, smooth textures that are strong, lightweight and durable.
Though it can be used in cooperation with a variety of materials, nylon is most commonly used, prized for its durability, as well as its general resistance to a variety of environmental factors such as UV light, dirt, and water.
All of this is a somewhat complicated way of saying that SLS printers can deliver the exact features that consumers look for in eyewear. A comfortable, nuanced design that is suited to contours of their face, as well as a strong build that will stand up to the wear and tear of daily use.
While other printing methods may be used in the production of eyewear, none of them have it where it counts in quite the same way as the SLS printer.
3D printing and eyewear have proven to be a winning combination. The 3D printer allows for unique opportunities with eyeglasses that other means of production simply cannot match. 3D printed glasses can be made to order, producing bespoke eyewear that is comfortable, stylish, and durable.
But how exactly does the process work? Today we look at how 3D printed eyewear is made, starting with the conceptualization and ending with the post processing. Read on for everything you need to know about how 3D eyewear is made!
It Starts With A Design
Naturally, it begins with a design concept. Usually the product of measurements are taken via facial scans, or manual data taking. That information is subsequently uploaded and applied to the template program, allowing the creator to then shape the frames as they see fit.
During the concept phase of the process, everything from arm shape to hinge points need to be factored in so that the end result will be a data file with all the specifications of a properly fit, fully functioning pair of glasses.
Prototyping comes before production. This part of the process allows the designer to test the effectiveness of their design without risking the high costs of production.
Functional designs are then passed on to next phase: Printing.
The printing process will be contingent somewhat on the printer itself as well as the materials being used. Regardless, incremental layers will be applied to take the eventual shape of each component of the frame.
Nylon is a popular material in the world of 3D printing for the fact that it is durable, lightweight and comfortable.
Post processing is where everything comes together. The materials used in the printing process may not necessarily be comfortable on the human skin immediately after printing. They often need to be sanded, smoothed, and refinished to optimize them for comfort and appearance.
Assembly is also required post-production. After that, it’s done! The eyeglasses are now ready to be enjoyed!
Not so easy, but in skilled hands, this process produces some of the best pairs of bespoke eyewear in the world. 3D printed glasses are great for the exact reasons listed above. This process is all about made to order precision—a level of customization and comfort you just won’t find with other glasses.
3D printed eyewear is definitely changing how people see glasses and has even changed the way that they are being manufactured, giving consumers the opportunity to enjoy custom fit eyewear that is comfortable and stylish. There are, however, a few things to look out for when selecting your own 3D printed glasses. Today we look at how to recognize good 3D printed eyewear.
How To Recognize Good 3D Printed Eyewear
One of the most important factors is of course how the glasses fit. While shopping for 3D printed glasses, you’ll see that most providers will provide very detailed specifications as far as the lengths of the different parts of the glasses as well as the prescription range. It is important for the customer to be familiar with their own facial measurements and preferences while selecting 3D printed glasses that are not bespoke.
Bespoke 3D printed glasses offer a sure perfect fit. Using detailed measurements of the customer’s face either traditionally or via 3D scanning, opticians craft a pair of glasses that is perfectly suited solely for that specific customer. Customers wanting to get the most precise fit possible may find that 3D printed glasses fitted using 3D facial scanning technology are preferable. The 3D scanning method helps opticians create a comfortable pair of glasses.
Pay Attention to How They Look
Spotting good 3D printed glasses can also be as simple as paying attention to how they look. The two materials most commonly used in 3D printing eyewear are Nylon and ABS. They are used because of their mild flexibility and strength, but in the hands of lesser eyewear companies sometimes the naturally porous nylon isn’t smoothed out and winds up feeling rough. It’s not supposed to happen this way, of course, but it is a common complaint with lower end units. The most premium eyewear manages to offer an evenly colored surface without any white edges or color differences.
At the end of the day, what you’re really looking to do with any piece of eyewear is to find something that you will be happy with every day. As all eye glass wearers know, your glasses are a major aspect of how you present yourself to the world. You want something that looks good, feels good, and can be comfortably worn throughout the day.
By now you’ve probably heard the term 3D printing dozens of times. 3D printers are everywhere these days being used in business and education all over the country. A 3D printer might even be part of the STEM curriculum at your child’s school.
But what is 3D printing? Today we demystify this increasingly ubiquitous technology.
So, what is 3D printing?
To put it plainly 3D printing is the process of making a 3D model in incremental layers applied in quick succession by a 3D printer.
It’s a process not unlike conventional printing but instead of words and images the 3D printer produces objects. Instead of ink and paper, it uses substantive materials like plastic.
In terms of manufacturing, it is a revolutionary process that allows creators to escape the wasteful cycle of subtractive manufacturing in which goods are cut from and extracted out of bulky molds.
With 3D printing, it is possible to make complex structures using only the exact amount of materials needed to complete the project. In that sense, fewer materials are wasted and therefore more money is saved.
Exciting though the 3D printer might be, it’s also not a toy. The successful operation of this sensitive equipment requires labor-intensive modeling software or elaborate scanners that require skilled hands to operate.
What is 3D printing used for?
To put it succinctly, a lot of things. Two of the major applications are for business and education. Entrepreneurs can now use 3D printing technology to make models and produce products via a means that is (relatively) low cost and burdened by a reduced amount of overhead. Bespoke eyewear advantage of the precision and efficiency of 3D printing methods.
In the world of education, 3D printing is being used both to get kids more engaged with their learning and even to provide them with unique opportunities never before possible like making their own prototypes.
So, what is 3D printing? A better question might be what isn’t 3D printing? It is a revolutionary manufacturing process. An engineer’s dream. A unique and exciting way for the next generation to learn math and science, and it is only becoming more prevalent.
As the technology continues to improve, it will likely only have a bigger impact on the world of manufacturing and business. For now, however, it is the means to a very pleasant end: increased efficiency.
3D printing is bigger than it has ever been. One minute, it was a relatively obscure piece of technology, the next minute it was in the computer lab at your children’s school.
But where exactly did 3D printing come from? Is it as new as it seems?
Actually, no. 3D printing has been around for decades, and though it may have gained a tremendous amount of momentum over the course of the last few years, it is by no means new.
Today we look to explain the history of 3D printing.
First, What Exactly do We Mean by 3D printing?
Complicated though 3D printing technology may be, it can actually be explained in relatively simple terms. In application it has much in common with traditional printing with one key differentiating factor: while ordinary printing produces words, images, graphics, etc, 3D printing is able to produce objects.
History of 3D Printing
3D printing first hit the scene in 1981 when it was invented by Hideo Kodama. Kodama’s early take on what we now call 3D printing was a simpler process that used ultraviolet rays to harden and shape polymers into objects.
This process eventually paved the way for SLA printing. However, the process did not quite become so refined until Charles Hull reworked it, inventing stereolithography in 1984.
At this point, inventors began to take to the idea of 3D printing, rightfully seeing it as an affordable, effective, and quick way to create models and prototypes of their ideas.
However, it wasn’t until the nineties that the technology really took off, with various printer units becoming commercially available.
The prints were not perfect—intricate designs still a pipe dream, but they were certainly better than nothing.
The original 3D printers were expensive to the point that they only found a home in the professional setting, but regardless it was clear that a valuable piece of technology was emerging.
Since these initial forays into the world of 3D printing, the technology has become only more prevalent. Today, there are many different types of 3D printers, available for all types of users. Some are sophisticated enough to produce products and important models. Others are simple and affordable, perfectly at home in the hands of a student or hobbyist.
With all the progress 3D printing has made in its thirty-year history it is certainly exciting to see what the future has for this technology.
3D printing is revolutionizing the world of manufacturing, engineering, and quite possibly STEM education. A dream tool for entrepreneurs and businesses of every variety, it’s also not a “one size fits all” type of technology.
There are, in fact, a variety of different 3D printing technologies, each with their own set of benefits and advantages.
Today we examine some of the core technological options present in the world of 3D printing.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Likely the most common method of printing, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is a good all-purpose approach that is frequently found in the hands of hobbyists and every day consumers.
Despite the relatively common nature of the technology, however, it is also very effective.
The FDM printer melts and emits thermoplastics in a layered approach to produce the eventual product. Though not as intricate as some other printer technologies, it can be used in a professional context for proof of concept modeling, and even in the production of prototypes.
SLA is the oldest and perhaps most trusted means of 3D printing. First landing on the scene in the 80’s, it’s since been the go-to technology for professionals everywhere for decades.
Lasers cure the liquid resin turning it to hardened plastic. The approach is praised for the simple fact that it produces the greatest level of detail—effortlessly producing detailed designs that other approaches, such as FDM printing simply cannot hope to match.
Granted, the technology does not come cheap, with even basic options costing thousands of dollars. Regardless, for many who are serious about their 3D printing, this will be money well spent.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Selective Laser Sintering is another high-end production process often used in a professional capacity to produce complicated geometrical figures that more basic printers could not possibly work with.
Included in the range of the SLS printer is the ability to create thin walls, undercuts, and interior features.
In terms of production costs, SLS printing is only moderately expensive which makes it a popular option with engineers. However, the upfront cost of an SLS printer can be ten thousand dollars or more.
The various 3D printing technologies currently available democratize the process somewhat, giving a wide range of people access to this unique and revolutionary process. The 3D printer making bespoke eyewear likely won’t be the same one in your children’s school lab. Either way, one thing is clear: when it comes to 3D printing, there is truly something for everyone
Advances in both technology and design have eliminated the need to settle for uncomfortable eyewear that don’t quite fit right. Bespoke 3D printed glasses offer custom fit, totally personalized lightweight eyewear and with 3D face scanning technology, they are readily available.
How it Works
Using many methods both classic and new, bespoke eyewear is an entirely personalized process. It often begins with an eye exam followed by very detailed facial measurements. Precise measurements are done around the head, nose and ears to ensure that the glasses fit perfectly.
What makes the process truly precise and accurate is the use of 3D scanning and modeling. Using advanced technology and software, 3D scans are taken of the face and then recreated as a 3D model. Any necessary adjustments are then made to the model based off of the initial measurements. 3D face scans provide opticians with large amounts of information about the customer’s face very quickly and in combination with traditional measurements create a perfect template to begin customization.
The customer selects the materials that they would like from eyewear frames. After taking photos of the customer wearing their selected eyewear frames, the pictures are sent to the production studio. There, the redesign and customize the frames specifically to the customer’s facial measurements using the 3D model of the face.
Using a 3D model, the specialists are able to work through the design process with a perfect representation of the customer’s face. This process is what makes bespoke eyewear truly personal and unique to each individual wearer. Using software, they can render eyewear frames onto the 3D face model showing with accuracy how it would actually fit on the customer’s face.
Once the optimal size is locked in, the glasses are 3D printed and ready for the customer. Because of the 3D printing process, less material is used to create the glasses resulting in lighter and more comfortable glasses. The possibilities and designs are endless because of 3D printer’s ability to get around certain regular manufacturing limitations, how little material is used, and the overall look and feel of the glasses themselves.
Now, with the boom of both 3D scanning and 3D printing, there’s no reason you can’t get eyewear that is an exact match to your own face. If your own pair of bespoke 3D printed glasses fit perfectly on someone else’s face, then something is wrong!
The implementation of 3D face scanning and 3D modeling has revolutionized everything from security to the eyewear industry. Now that scientists and programmers are able to fully recreate accurate 3D facial models, everyone from the medical industry to the world of fashion are utilizing this technology.
A typical 3D light scanner is comprised of two major components. First, there is the actual hardware; the capturing unit. The capturing unit is a projection light source made up of both white and blue LED lights typically. Next is the software which is what actually controls the scanner and converts physical data into a 3D model that can be manipulated.
The process begins when the 3D scanner’s capturing unit projects several reference patterns, such as vertical beams, onto the subject’s face. Next, the camera captures the images being bounced off of the face. Once the images have been collected, they are relayed back into the program.
Next, begins the process of triangulation. During this process, the software is able to accurately calculate all surface information and depth. From there, you’ll wind up with a digital 3D representation of the face that is both accurate and advanced.
There are several methods and different technologies available in the world of 3D face scanning. Stationary 3D scanners for example, are very effective and useful but come with the disadvantage of not being mobile and extremly expensive. Typically, this process takes longer and requires the subject to change positions while being scanned to ensure comprehensive imaging.
The efficiency and stunning accuracy of 3D scanning has major potential application across a variety of industries. It goes without saying that the world of medical equipment and security have enormous potential to benefit from 3D facial scanning.
Future application may be even wider. Education, entertainment, and many more industries may make good use of this enormous technology. Amazing though this technology is, it seems like we have only just scratched the surface of what can be done in the world of 3D facial scanning.
One of the big benefits of 3D printed eyewear is that it is optimized for customization. But how exactly does this work? How is the template model adapted to suit the measurements of a unique face? Today we answer that exact question.
Read on to find out what it takes to get your 3D printed eyewear fit to the measurements of your face.
It Starts With Precise Measurement
First things first, precise measurements are needed to ensure that the glasses are indeed fit to the needs of the eventual wearer. When it comes to 3D printing the preferred way to get measurements are via a facial scan. Scanning technology is able to take a precise read of the features of the human face, noting even the smallest details and eliminating the potential for human error. Consequently, eyewear that is the product of 3D scanning is prized for its level of comfort and personalization.
When facial scans are not an option, conventional measuring is also possible. In this instance, the measurements of the face are taken by hand. In either case, accurate data is required for measurements to be effectively applied to the base model.
Applying the Measurements to the Model
Once the data has been taken, the rest of the process is mercifully simple. Generally speaking, the general design concept remains the same, but the dimensions themselves are carefully adjusted within the 3D file to guarantee perfect customization. Once these adjustments have been made, the bespoke eyewear is ready to make its debut in the world.
Then It’s Printed
That’s right! Once the measurements have been taken and applied, the glasses are printed. The made to order approach of 3D printed eyewear means that no two pairs from the same company are exactly alike. The glasses that you wind up with are unique to your own needs.
Getting customized measurements applied to 3D printed glasses is pretty easy for the consumer. Facial scans that take the data can be done quickly, and after that the rest is just a matter of waiting for your custom eyewear to be made to order. The process listed above can be easily applied to give you the best pair of eyeglasses you have ever worn in your life!