Nov 9, 2016 | By Benedict

Eyewear brand Aoyama Optical France has, in partnership with 3D printing software specialist Materialise, used additive manufacturing to produce its We DDD (pronounced “we 3D”) range of glasses. 3D printing has enabled the company to create products with few geometric restrictions.

The We DDD eyewear collection from Aoyama, which we reported on a few months before its January release, is one of the finest examples of 3D printing in the eyewear industry. Since our earlier article, the company has shed a bit more light on the additive manufacturing processes behind its stunning specs, particularly concerning its design techniques, production timetables, and relationship with 3D printing giant Materialise.

Available in multiple sizes and nine colors, each of the 14 frames in the We DDD collection has special features such as flexible temple arms, which can flex 180° laterally along a hinge for the most comfortable fit, and a top-coating that is certified for skin contact. However, the most important aspect of the collection—for both company and customer—is the fully bespoke, one-off production method. Customers choose their desired style, size, and color, after which the company will 3D print a single instance of that exact pair.

“The We DDD collection is designed for the tech-savvy, fashion-oriented consumer of today: aware of what they want and the high quality they deserve,” commented Philippe Beuscart, CEO of Aoyama. “Standardized production and a one-size-fits-all approach are no longer enough. We offer customizable options that speak directly to an individual’s tastes and preferences. Aoyama’s goal with this collection was to bring true mass customization to a luxury consumer-grade product.”

The We DDD frames are 3D printed in polyamide on laser sintering 3D printers, making them lightweight yet strong, and allowing the designers to create frames with complex shapes and few geometric restrictions. During this 3D printing process, Aoyama collaborated with Unistudio, an industrial design company, and Belgian 3D printing specialist Materialise, who ran co-creation sessions with the eyewear brand to identify how additive manufacturing could best be put to use on the project.

When taking on a project of this size, companies need to make sure they are equipped for upscaling production. To ensure repeatability, for instance, Materialise provided Aoyama with its Certified Additive Manufacturing expertise, ensuring that the 3D printed eyewear met the highest manufacturing standards. “We work to make sure that the product can adhere to tight tolerances across a mass manufacturing series,” said Materialise’s Alireza Parandian, coordinator of the company’s eyewear projects.

According to Aoyama, the adoption of additive manufacturing technology has completely changed the way the company conducts its business, from the first initial sketches on the drawing board all the way to packing up orders for the customer. “For us, additive manufacturing means the ability to go from design to market with incredible speed,” Beuscart added. “No more wasted opportunity. This gives us a chance at true market responsiveness. Besides, [there is] no more wasted stock, now that we can manufacture on demand.”

Customers looking some 3D printed We DDD glasses can choose from 85 combinations of color, texture, and size. You'd have to be blind not to want a pair.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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