3D Printing

Materialise 3D prints glasses with Italian designers Safilo

Belgian 3D printing specialist Materialise has revealed its latest collaboration with Italian glasses company Safilo.

Safilo has enlisted Materialise to 3D print complex designs, which they have referred to as “wearable sculptures“, for the OXYDO Capsule Collection 2017. OXYDO is a proprietary brand of Safilo’s, but the group also creates eyewear for brands such as Dior, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger among many others.

Hoet Design Studio 3D printed glasses. Photo by Michael Petch.

The new collection is an expression of intent, demonstrating not only what Additive Manufacturing is capable of today but where it could lead the eyewear industry tomorrow.

The 'O.No 1.1' design. Image via Materialise.
The ‘O.No 1.1’ design. Image via Materialise.

3D printing frames

Materialise is certainly familiar with the eyewear industry as founder and CEO Fried Vancraen explains to 3D Printing Industry in a recent interview. Materialise has been working with Japanese company Hoya to create 3D printed frames for its ongoing Yuniku brand.

Now, for the OXYDO collection, Materialise is 3D printed parts at its in-house additive manufacturing facility. The company is using selective laser sintering machines with Polyamide 12 material before post-processing with Materialise’s Luxura technique.

Materialise believes the eyewear industry is a particularly attractive area for future growth. Alireza Parandian, head of wearables projects at Materialise, explains how the new Safilo collaboration fits in to Materialise’s goals of raising industry standards,

With Safilo, and their leadership in the eyewear industry, we have found a partner that values this goal equally. 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.

The 'O.No 1.3' frame which incorporates subtle 3D printed elements. Image via Materialise.
The ‘O.No 1.3’ frame which incorporates subtle 3D printed elements. Image via Materialise.

3D printed lenses

While 3D printed frames is an interesting avenue for Materialise at the moment, it doesn’t seem long before they are incorporated with 3D printed optical lenses. Fellow Belgian company Luxexcel has recently been granted ISO accreditation for its optical 3D printing process. Upon receiving its ISO approval, Luxexcel received $10 million in funding.

With the combined possibilities of 3D printed frames and lenses, the two technologies could compliment each other well. U.S federal research facility Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has also developed its own 3D printing lenses technology.

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Featured image shows the ‘O.No 1. Bitonti’ glasses which were designed by New York artist Francis Bitonti . Image via Materialise.