From head to toe, 3D printing can help in keeping each individual stylish and comfortable. While 3D scanning and 3D printing are making huge strides in personalized footwear, eyewear is becoming an increasingly high-visibility area for 3D printed customization. I make no promises that those will be the last obvious word plays accompanying the latest announcement from Stratasys.
Today at the TCT Show in Birmingham, UK, Stratasys is taking a close look at the benefits offered via 3D printing as not only an additive technology, but as one used in conjunction with materials developed specifically for a given application. With this approach, two unpopular facets of eyewear development can be reduced as the company says that the design of new eyeglass frames could see a significant reduction in time to market, taking down development costs as a matter of course. Prototyping is a critical step in the development of any new product, and one that goes on a person’s face requires great attention to detail — and usually, say Stratasys’ eyewear customers, about 18 months of traditional development techniques.
“The eyewear market continues to expand, driven by new technologies, demand for customization and growing addressable markets. As the industry seeks to maximize its opportunity, Stratasys’ prototyping solutions for frames and eyewear accessories — which can cut time-to-market by upwards of 80 percent — will be an attractive solution that is able to deliver immediate value for users looking to make parts with a high degree of mechanical function and appearance,” Mike Vasquez, Founder and CEO of digital manufacturing consultancy 3Degrees, said.
Stratasys has spent a good amount of energy in 2017 toward the revisiting of rapid prototyping, the original application for 3D printing. Earlier this year, the company introduced the F123 series of 3D printers; today, we learn about the new VeroFlex Rapid Prototyping Eyewear Solution, with which Stratasys takes aim at eyewear-specific rapid prototyping with full aesthetic and functional evaluation.
The material is intended for use across the prototyping process, starting with initial concept design and early iteration and moving through performance-testable precise functional models. Internal tests can be carried out on VeroFlex-created frames before tooling and production. Functional performance testing can include drop tests, lens mounting, stress tests, and wearability tests.
Stratasys is appearing this week at TCT Show at Stand D30; I’ll be visiting tomorrow to get a good look at VeroFlex and other updates from the company’s executives.
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