Materialise is now offering custom 3D printed eyewear in translucent colors.


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enthusiast, I am always on the lookout for new advancements in eyewear technology. One of the most exciting innovations in recent years has been the use of 3D printing in the production of eyeglasses. Back in 2017, Fried Vancraen, the CEO of Materialise, a Belgium-based 3D printing company, spoke about the potential for customized eyewear using this technology. Little did we know then just how far it would come.

Fast forward to the recent SILMO PARIS optical fair, where Materialise unveiled its latest offering: 3D printed eyewear made with a translucent material. This breakthrough has opened up a world of possibilities for eyewear designers, allowing them to create frames with a unique interplay of complexity and depth. The introduction of translucent materials to the 3D printing palette has transformed eyeglasses into works of art, giving designers unlimited creativity in crafting intricate and customized frames.

The global eyewear market has been growing steadily, and is estimated to reach a staggering $370 billion by 2032. This growth is driven by consumer demand for fashionable designs, and 3D printing is perfectly positioned to meet this demand. The advantages of using 3D printing in eyewear production are numerous, including sustainability, shorter development cycles, faster routes to market, and more creativity. With the design freedom that 3D printing offers, designers can experiment with textures, complex structures, and shapes that were previously unachievable with conventional manufacturing methods.

However, there was one aspect of eyewear aesthetics that 3D printing hadn’t quite nailed – the translucency of acetate frames. Materialise recognized this limitation and spent five years conducting trials with over 50 different materials, testing for impact resistance, thermal resilience, and biocompatibility. Finally, they had a breakthrough and developed a translucent material that meets the gold standard of established eyewear materials. This new material will enable designers to create visually compelling collections that move past the design constraints of acetate.

But Materialise didn’t stop there. In addition to their translucent material, they also showcased their Eyewear Fitting Suite at SILMO Paris. This innovative solution aims to bridge the gap between online shopping and personalized in-store experiences. The Custom Fit Eyewear Suite allows opticians to create an anatomically exact scan of a customer’s face, enabling them to customize frames according to the customer’s features or preferences. This level of personalization is highly sought after by consumers, especially since prescription eyewear accounts for the majority of the global eyewear market. Opticians and retailers who offer this level of customization will definitely stand out from the crowd.

The Materialise Eyewear Fitting Suite has the potential to revolutionize the in-store shopping experience. By using a detailed 3D scan of the customer’s face, opticians can help them choose the perfect custom-fit frame, taking into account factors such as size, style, color, and shape. This level of personalization is something that is often lacking in traditional eyewear shopping experiences, where customers can feel overwhelmed by choice or struggle to find the right frame for their facial features. The Eyewear Fitting Suite eliminates these challenges, providing customers with a better understanding of which frames will perfectly suit their specific face.

As someone who has worn glasses for most of my life, I am excited about the innovations happening in the eyewear industry. The combination of 3D printing technology and personalized fitting solutions opens up a new world of possibilities for both designers and consumers. With the ability to create custom-fit frames and explore new materials and designs, the future of eyewear is looking brighter than ever before.

Choosing the perfect pair of glasses can be a daunting task. Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, it’s difficult to gauge how they will look on your face. And let’s not forget the frustration of those big price stickers that often adorn the frames in brick-and-mortar stores. But fear not, because there is a solution – the Eyewear Fitting Suite.

The concept behind the Eyewear Fitting Suite is brilliant. It allows customers to try on glasses virtually, giving them a clear idea of how they will look without ever leaving the comfort of their own homes. This innovative platform, developed by Materialise, not only offers convenience to customers but also benefits retailers in a number of ways.

One major advantage is the option for an omnichannel purchasing journey. This means that customers can seamlessly transition from trying on glasses virtually to making a purchase in-store or online, all while having access to a digital inventory of frames. This eliminates the need for physical stock, reducing the risk of expensive inventory becoming outdated or wasted.

But what sets the Eyewear Fitting Suite apart is its use of 3D printing technology. Materialise’s platform ensures that frames are 3D printed on-demand at their production facility, which happens to be the largest of its kind in all of Europe. This means that opticians can focus solely on providing a customized experience to the customer, without worrying about the availability or variety of frames.

Not only does this streamline the purchasing process, but it also supports more sustainable operations. By reducing the need for physical inventory, the Eyewear Fitting Suite helps to minimize waste and promote a more environmentally friendly approach to eyewear retail.

In conclusion, the Eyewear Fitting Suite is a game-changer in the world of glasses shopping. It offers customers the convenience of trying on glasses virtually and provides retailers with a more efficient and sustainable approach to inventory management. With Materialise’s technology, the focus can remain on providing customers with a personalized experience. So say goodbye to the stress of choosing glasses and embrace the future of eyewear retail.

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“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”


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Meet the mastermind behind NozzleNerds.com: GCode-Guru, a 3D printing wizard whose filament collection rivals their sock drawer. Here to demystify 3D tech with a mix of expert advice, epic fails, and espresso-fueled rants. If you've ever wondered how to print your way out of a paper bag (or into a new coffee cup), you're in the right place. Dive into the world of 3D printing with us—where the only thing more abundant than our prints is our sarcasm.

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