We’re seeing a lot of 3D printed eyewear these days. The global eyewear industry is valued at more than $100 billion by some estimates, making the customization offered via 3D printing a major opportunity for the industry as a whole to get ahead. There are 3D printed smart eyeglasses, luxury glasses and affordable glasses and sunglasses, and let’s not forget about Luxexcel, the only company in the world that can 3D print ophthalmic lenses without needing to grind or polish them. A new company that manufactures 3D printed, premium glasses has entered the arena – Powder & Heat is a 3D printed eyewear trendsetter.

Based in Germany, the design label, founded by Georg Vollmer and Manuel Breit, offers customized, luxury frames. They come in multiple colors, with fine finishes and luminosity, so wearers can really let their personalities shine through. Powder & Heat individually manufactures each pair of its high-quality glasses and sunglasses, which can be personalized by the end customers, using computer-generated design and a laser sintering process: layers of polyamide are fused from the powder bed to form the glasses. Then, the light racks are polished, dyed, and then polished again for maximum shine.

3D printing can decrease manufacturing waste and cost for products, while increasing availability, which are good qualities to have when it comes to making custom, expensive eyewear – custom products usually take longer to manufacture than mass-produced items, like standard prescription frames. According to Powder & Heat, there are no manufacturing processes better equipped to quickly and inexpensively produce personalized eyeglasses than 3D printing.

Powder & Heat’s new frames, complete with many color options, allow opticians to increase their customer-specific glasses and stand out from the crowd with its new, trendier eyeglass models; additionally, the frames are 3D printed in nylon, which is 30% lighter than the more traditional acetate frames. As a glasses wearer myself (my current pair is purple), I was pretty intrigued and immediately went to the “Design Your Own Glasses” tab of the company’s website. You can scroll through eleven different frame models for eyeglasses and nine for sunglasses, with names like The Diva (my favorite), The Feline, The Top Dog, The Writer, and The Witty, and choose from 9 different color combinations, 12 texture combinations, and 18 different sizes.

According to Powder & Heat, “Until now, 3D printed glasses were only available in limited designs, solid colours and with matte surfaces. Powder & Heat is now the only manufacturer capable of producing frames with multi-coloured textures, intense colours and high-quality surfaces – something previously impossible.”

The company places a lot of emphasis on its quality and design, and as its Flamboyant model won both the the German Design Award 2017 and the Red Dot Design Award 2017, clearly Powder & Heat is doing something right. You can order 3D printed glasses models directly from the company, and they are also available from selected opticians, who will have access to the company’s easy-to-use software, which is required in order to sell the glasses and make adjustments; opticians will receive training on the software.

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