We’ve covered companies pursuing the use of AM in producing unique eyewear, but these firms have relied on plastic. Both the Bay Area Protos and the German Mykita use Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) with polymers to achieve their 3D printed designs. Belgian eyewear company Hoet has increased the ante with glasses made from 3D printed metal.
Designed by Hoet and manufactured by AM/Rapid Prototyping firm Melotte, these titanium specs are the first glasses to be made from 3D printed metal. The line of glasses is called Hoet Couture and, while it only features two pairs at the moment, there are seven different combinations of lens and nose measurements available. The earpieces of the eyewear feature a spring system made from “titanium shape-memory alloy” and look as though they are less prone to breaking than traditional hinges. As you can tell from looking closely at pics of the glasses, this design could not have been made using traditional methods. Both Hoet and Melotte also tout the eco-friendly nature of 3D printing, with the Melotte blog suggesting that the process sees “less use of raw material and energy, less waste and less transport [which] result in an environmental impact reduction of factor 8.”
The use of AM to make this line also foreshadows eyewear that will be perfectly tailored to a customer’s face. Rather than bending and shaping a pre-made form, it’s possible to print the glasses based off of a customer’s 3D headscan. Combined with LUXeXcel’s 3D-printed lenses, still in the R&D phase, future eyewear will be completely adapted to the personal needs of any given individual.
Hoet’s titanium lenses will be available sometime this month. For now, enjoy this teaser video below: