Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Fitz Frames: The 3D Printed Eyewear Company for Children

ST Medical Devices

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Fitz Frames is a children’s eyewear company that was created earlier this year by Heidi Hertel and Gabriel Schlumberger, in Los Angeles. Gabriel left his career as a designer at Disney and Pixar a year ago to cofound this new startup, Fitz Frames, with his friend, Heidi, who has worked as a political consultant in the past. Both founders believed that children’s eyewear needed to be reinvented, so they went for 3D printed eyeglasses.

 

Image via Fitz Frames

It’s known that kids are pretty hyperactive, they move around all day, and most of them break things or forget things unintentionally. Eyeglasses are easy to break and it is easy to forget them somewhere in the playground, or wherever they go. Gabriel had an experience with broken glasses before: his son went around for several weeks with his eyeglasses broken, but he had taped them together before Gabriel and his wife found out. Their child was too afraid to tell them about the broken glasses.

Gabriel Schlumberger via Business Journal

Eyewear can be a burden, especially for parents. Knowing that they have to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of glasses that could be broken easily at any time, is an annoyance. Heidi felt that parents are often too busy to visit an optician, or to make their kids sit still while they try different frames. They made the creation of Fitz Frames into their perfect solution for parents, and also children.

Unlike many children’s eyewear brands, Fitz Frames offers a pair of glasses for children that can fit their unique faces, instead of just having two sizes. And what’s better, they don’t need to leave home to try frames. It’s all easily done through an app.

Heidi Hertel via Crain’s Cleveland Business

How do Fitz Frames work?

 

Image via Fitz Frames

 

Download the app “Fitz Glasses”, which is currently available only on the App Store. Then, get your kid! You will have to use the app and camera to help Fitz Frames get accurate measurements of your child’s face to make the perfect frame. The app uses facial mapping, and provides you with a lifelike, virtual try-on process experience. After getting the measurements, you will have to select the frame style of your kid’s preference, as well as the color. Once you decide the design and color of the frame, the frame will be 3D printed by Fitz Frames and delivered to you according to prescriptions. You can also order sunglasses and blue-light glasses as well.

Image via Fitz Frames

The frames are unique. Not only will kids be able to select their favorite color, but they can also have their name 3D printed inside of the glasses, so they know the glasses belong to them.

Image via Fitz Frames

Pricing and subscription details

Testing Durability via Fitz Frames’ Facebook Page

Fitz Frames glasses cost $95, but they offer a subscription plan because they already know kids will break, lose or grow out of their glasses. The subscription costs $185 a year, and this includes:

– Custom-fit glasses

– Unlimited pairs of glasses throughout the year. After the first two pairs, all you pay for is the lenses;

– Shipping is free

New manufacturing facility

The company already has seven workers at its Los Angeles headquarters. Now, they have three workers in Youngstown, where they opened a new manufacturing facility in the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) Tech Block Building 5 last week. The 3D printed frames are made using Laser Powder Bed Fusion (sintering, SLS, Selective Laser Sintering), and from the look of them, the glasses appear to be post-processed and dyed using DyeMansion.

Fitz Frames via The Youngstown Business Journal

“The more research we did, the more we were impressed with the city and saw it to be the Silicon Valley of all things 3D printing. The community has been really supportive and we have found solid talent coming out of the local universities,” Hertel explains.

To Barb Ewing, YBI CEO, this is one of the milestones in additive manufacturing:

“We see a lot of new technologies being developed that are either related to the development of new pieces of AM equipment or materials, or products that are for low volume production, like aerospace or race cars. This is the next step in the evolution of the additive manufacturing market, and is another important milestone for the industry.”

[Sources: Fast Company, Vindy, Fitz Frames, Crain’s Cleveland Business]

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