Nov 12, 2016 | By Andre

The world is full of exotic, often times dangerous environments and the Arctic and Antarctic regions are easily high on that spectrum when you consider their potential for natural extremes. Explorers in these regions have to come prepared and Dixie Dansercoer and his team are doing just that with the help of 3D printing.

In this specific case, the technology is responsible for producing a perfect set of sunglasses for his self-professed high nose bridge that have always made traditionally made sunglasses a mismatch for his face. Because of this, as he mentions in the below video, a combination of creeping eye burn, unwanted fog and general discomfort have been the unfortunate norm over the years.

Since struggling with sunglass comfort during arctic adventuring is the last thing you would want to deal with, he found partnership with 3D printing powerhouse Materialise and SEIKO Optical to have the perfect pair of sunglasses created just for him.

It was all possible by using a combination of 3D scanning of his face to get the dimensions figured out and 3D printing of the frame thanks to a customization process called the SEIKO XCHANGER. Basically (as this online wizard shows) you can modify the look and feel of your custom frame with a matter of clicks.

Up to 5 sizes, 2 temple lengths, 3 inclinations, 8 colour combinations, 5 mirrors, single or progressive, with or without prescription and up to 200 colour and filter options are available to choose from. So really, if this something that catches on (and why shouldn’t it?) you won’t be seeing too many people with the same pair of sunglasses in the coming years.

While it is not obvious what 3D printing method is used for the custom frames, a high resolution durable material is certainly in the mix somewhere. It is worth noting that the lenses themselves (certainly a holy grail item in 3D printing) are manufactured using more traditional methods.

As someone that believes in the unlimited potential of 3D printing, he was most certainly happy with the results of this case study. He’s admits to previously making “the mistake of having to spend two or three days in the tent with eye burn or wind burn, and that is something [he] absolutely wants to prevent.”

Considering the hole in the ozone is still prevalent in much of the Arctic regions, eye protection is not merely a matter of style, but one of safety.

Dixie goes on to suggest that “it is not an agreeable thing to do for me, to put eyewear on, they fog up sometimes, they bother you when you have to look in different directions, but the new pair was really a nice addition to all of the customized gear.”

3D printing is incredibly good at hyper customization of products and this is just another example of already mature industries and professions seeking the technology out to further the scope of what they are able to offer to their customers.

Of course, just like so much else in the 3D printing eco-system that exists today, there are usually many companies exploring similar expansions of traditional manufacturing. Eyewear brand Aoyama Optical France, for example, has recently been pushing their own custom style of 3D printed eyewear catering toward a less thrill seeking portion of the population (in their case, SLS printing was used).

In a similar way that the dental and hearing aid industries are revolutionizing their practices with the help of 3D printing, it is likely that hyper-customized eyewear will find a permanent place in the age old practice of glasses creation. And as someone that is out and about with barely fitting sunglasses more than I’d like to admit, I am eager to one day soon have my very own pair made especially for me.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Barry wrote at 11/14/2016 2:21:34 AM:

It's not ozone that's the problem, it's a high UV environment, due to the depleted ozone layer.

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