Many people have to get glasses at an early age, even in young childhood. For a child, having to get glasses can be traumatic – the fear of being labeled a nerd or four-eyes is a big one. What can help, though, is having cool frames. That doesn’t go away with childhood, either; many adults balk at wearing glasses, but when they can be made into a fashion statement, they become much more appealing. Not long ago, the options for glasses frames were relatively limited, at least if you were on a budget, but in recent years styles have gotten much more stylish, as well as varied – and 3D printing has not only expanded variety and style, but made frames more affordable as well.
Eyewear manufacturer Safilo got on board with 3D printing a while ago, and has been using the technology to produce some fabulously fashionable glasses. Now the Italian company has partnered up with Materialise for a brand new 3D printed collection that turns glasses from simple visual aids to visual art. Safilo’s OXYDO brand is billed as a collection of “wearable sculptures,” and indeed the new 3D printed OXYDO SS 2017 collection features beautifully sculptural designs that are striking without being overwhelming.
“We focused on leveraging the capabilities of 3D Printing to produce very fine ornamentation while keeping a very minimal silhouette,” said Francis Bitonti, who collaborated with OXYDO on one of the designs in the collection. “We were interested in how the next generation of ornamentation might look.”
Bitonti, a 3D designer and founder of Studio Bitonti, has shown a flair for high fashion in the design of everything from shoes to scoliosis braces. His streamlined style is evident in the O.No 1 Bitonti model, which is one of four different options in the in the OXYDO SS 2017 collection. The collection features spectacles with 3D printed accents that stand out with a pop of color or unusual geometry, without being distracting or overwhelming the face. The designs are based on classic styles like round and cat-eye glasses, yet they have a modern twist, making them unlike any other eyewear I’ve seen before.
The frames themselves are conventionally manufactured, but the 3D printed structures that surround or wing out from the frames are what make them unique. Those 3D printed structures are manufactured at Materialise’s Certified Additive Manufacturing facility, which has several 3D printers dedicated to eyewear alone. The designs are 3D printed in Polyamide 12, then post-processed with Materialise’s Luxura finish, which was introduced last year. Luxura is available in 15 colors, and improves not only the look but the performance of the frames, offering durability and resistance to UV rays, sweat, and stains.
“It is always our goal at Materialise to not only meet industry standards but to raise them. With Safilo, and their leadership in the eyewear industry, we have found a partner that values this goal equally,” says Alireza Parandian, head of wearables projects at Materialise. “The eyewear industry and Additive Manufacturing have built a symbiotic relationship, where each helps the other raise its standards and challenge expectations constantly. I’m looking forward to where this partnership leads next.”
We’re looking forward to it, too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need some new glasses. Share your thoughts in the 3D Printed Glasses forum at 3DPB.com.[Images: Safilo]