3D Printed Eyewear | Materialise Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing for Eyewear QUALITY OF AN ATELIER. POWER OF A FACTORY.

Hoet Design Studio Cabrio M


WE’RE WITH YOU FROM CONCEPT TO POINT OF SALE. You bring your vision and we co-create with you to bring it to your customers. Our eyewear experts are equipped with the niche set of tools and know-how to craft frames for 3D printing. They share their know-how with you to go from design and ultimately to prototyping and small or large series production. And we know customization – in creating personalized frames and unique customer experiences. We start every process with the designer to work together – as one team.

It gives freedom in production – meaning shorter design cycles, minimal waste, and personalization opportunities. Our eyewear team has helped dozens of designers create thousands of blueprints and print hundreds of thousands of frames.

We have a fascination with eyewear. And for us 3D printing gives freedom to eyewear that hasn’t been available before. It gives freedom in design – the ability to make shapes that wouldn’t be possible with other techniques.

What could you create?

IMPRESSIO 609 Vortex


Since its founding in 1990, Materialise has a track record of finding new ways to produce things with 3D printing for a better and healthier world. This pioneering spirit has led to revolutions in the wearables industry – with personalized in-ear hearing aids, custom-fit insoles and the first vision-centric eyewear customization platform.

This spirit is strong in our eyewear team, who are masters in every detail that’s necessary to create your collection. When you work with us, you get a dedicated team that specializes in every aspect of creating eyewear, using an array of digital tools and additive manufacturing technologies.

FREEDOM IN DESIGN Creativity is bound only by the mind’s constraints. And this creative freedom is our mindset when we start designing eyewear for 3D printing. New shapes, structure, functions — almost anything is possible.

Once a designer steps into Materialise, their concept takes center stage and we think together to develop and create frames that can be printed and ultimately end up in a customer’s hands. We advise and guide through the process, based on our 3D printing engineering and production expertise to ensure you will end up with the best frame imaginable.

Hoet Design Studio Cabrio Collection

FREEDOM IN PRODUCTION With 3D printing both design development cycles and manufacturing times are pared down. In the end, the time from concept to customer can be incredibly short with on-demand printing production. This is something you cannot find with other technologies. And you can print as many or as few as you’d like. One-off designs or series productions, and everything in between, is possible with 3D printing. Say goodbye to overstock and guessing how much to order. This works the other way too with responsive development. Customer reactions to designs can inspire designers to alter their offering.

© neon berlin, 3DP-titanium collection, Bestiary

Every designer has their vision – their unique brand DNA that emanates through in even the tiniest of details. Whether it’s pared-back minimalist or vanguard couture, we work with designers like you to bring your concepts to customers. We understand that customers expect an impeccable experience and quality frames. And that designers have a vision for each eyewear piece. We bring the 3D printing knowledge into the eyewear development process to go with you from sketch to 3D file to final print. AN IMPECCABLE PROCESS

Our goal is to support you through a smooth experience to get to the point of sale; to bring to your customers a beautiful frame and a perfect fit. And we see the importance of having a team who know the ins-and-outs of eyewear to help designers along the 3D printing journey. There are a million elements that need to seamlessly come together at once to make a pair of frames. Which is why we have eyewear experts and a dedicated production line.

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Photographer: Markus Mansi


We first start by meeting designers in a co-creation session. Here we start from a designer’s concept and discuss the broader vision and ins-and-outs. Working together, you will meet with our experts who are masters in colors, textures, materials, geometries, structures, shapes – no detail is too small. We give space to let designers explore what can be, and give guidance into the process. We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all, which is why we tailor our support accordingly.

Designing and developing 3D-printed eyewear is a craft. One that includes freedom in choice. Limiting options to a specific technique, material, finish, or basic color palette curbs creativity and ultimately restricts design potential. Which is why we invest heavily in resources, technology development, as well as partnerships with other experts, to deliver the widest range of ‘great design ingredients’ on the market. PERFECT PALETTE

When it comes to aesthetic design, the right finish and color have the power to transform the everyday to extraordinary. To turn a print into a product with consumer attraction. Which is why, for us, developing a wide range of colors and finishing options has been as much a focus for our R&D team as advancing new materials and print techniques. EVERYDAY TO EXTRAORDINARY

Safilo Oxydo Wearable Sculptures F/W17

We create a unique experience for every designer based on their needs. Today’s customers also crave this personalization. There are endless customization options with 3D printing, from creating off-the-shelf frames of different sizes to an exact anatomical fit. Whether you’re looking for bespoke scanning packages or a set of sizes, we can find what would work best for you to incorporate into your offering. Create your custom line with a unique customer experience. CRAFTED CUSTOMIZATION



Welcome to your team


New Design Introduction

All our new eyewear customers are assigned a dedicated project manager who will be with you every step of the way. We kick off the process with a full audit to distil your specific objectives. Soon after your project manager will work with our designers and production engineers – even run test prints – to provide a clear breakdown of pricing, time-scales and suitable production routes based on your project needs.

You’ve thought through every detail of your designs. We think through every detail of engineering and production.

New Design Introduction

Once a project is agreed, your project manager will then guide you through our eyewear-specific New Design Introduction (NDI) process – a prototyping feasibility loop addressing both function and aesthetics, scaled up or down to match your goals. Together with you the designer, we test out design techniques to build new structures or explore new material pairings, at our manufacturing facility, in partnership with our engineering team.

Next? We print. And in our factory we have developed a dedicated production line for 3D-printed eyewear, crafted specifically to meet the exacting requirements of eyewear production. As experts in 3D printing, we have honed the printing process, controlling the parameters, to ensure that every frame comes off the machine exactly as it should. More specifically for you, we will adapt the steps where necessary to include any bespoke processes revealed by your NDI process. Perfected printing process

The finishing touches Now it’s time to turn your print into a product as we put the finishing touches to your frames. The frames are treated with the utmost care to bring the surfaces to your specification, with a blend of bespoke treatments and hand-finishing. The coloring process is executed with precision to create the tones and hues that will breathe life into your collection.

Delivering quality

At this stage we inspect, making sure that the frames produced exactly match the pre-production quality guidelines agreed in partnership with you. This is done for every frame, so whether you request one or one-hundred-thousand frames, you can rest assured that scale will never affect quality. Depending on the scope of your project, we also use the results of this stage to conduct an operational assessment – identifying any further ways we can reduce scrap, implement leaner processes, and more. Quality is as much about offering production predictability as it is about enabling creativity. We believe one never has to compromise the other.

Push the boundaries even further

Looking forward

Eyewear doesn't stop at the frame. It can be a multi-functional wearable product. Materialise gives you the quality of an atelier and the power of a factory to develop the eyewear applications of tomorrow. From smart eyewear to mass customization to facial scanning and digital imaging, come create with us to answer the question ‘What’s coming next?’

Morrow Morrow One

Discover 3D-printed eyewear in our Lookbook


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