Apr 7, 2016 | By Kira

A Netherlands-based startup has used rapid prototyping and 3D printing technology to design the patent-pending RZR men’s wet shaving system, an all-metal razor that combines modern comfort with the style, durability, and simplicity of an old-fashioned safety razor. The lifetime-warranty RZR is a model of how well crafted, innovative design can affect our everyday lives, and it is now live on Kickstarter.

In the past six decades, men’s shaving has gone from the aptly named ‘cut throat razor’, a bare-bones straight blade that required a trip to the barber, to today’s electric wonders: high-tech, feature-filled gadgets that offer everything from spinning blades to pivoting heads, stubble-levelers, and even ‘moisturizing gel reservoirs.’

Yet somewhere in between lies the classic safety razor, the first tool to allow men to take grooming into their own hands. What it lacked in comfort, the safety razor made up for in good old-fashioned simplicity.

Looking to get back to the classic rituals of the past, RZR founders Marco Vermeer and Remco Smit turned to the technologies of the future. Using rapid prototyping and 3D printing technology, the company has created the RZR, a high quality, titanium-made wet shaving system designed to last a lifetime.

“When they first came to me in 2013, Marco and Remco were explicit that the shaver was as comfortable and safe as modern razors but had the style and substance of an old-fashioned razor,” explained Patrick Schuur, founder of Eindhoven-based product design studio form + function and designer of the RZR shaver. “Additionally, they strongly believed that a razor should be able to last a lifetime and be passed from father to son while remaining cost effective to both manufacture and maintain – like an original safety razor design but in a modern package.”

Together, Schuur, Smit and Vermeer established four key product requirements for the RZR shaver, inspired by Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles of Good Design: comfort, sustainability, beauty, and value. Schuur’s job was therefore to go beyond designing a standard, no-nonsense safety razor, and create a truly innovative product that would enhance the user experience while respecting and protecting the environment.

To kick-start his design process, Schuur created a few 2D sketches and then quickly moved into SolidWorks CAD software to bring the product to life in 3D. He also used Luxion KeyShot software to create lifelike visualizations that could be quickly evaluated and modified based on feedback from Vermeer and Smit.

While the very first prototype was made by hand—a steel handle glued onto an existing shaving head—Schuur’s Utlimaker 3D printer and later, 3D Hubs 3D printing service, allowed much more refined prototypes to take shape. “Being able to print out models of ideas that are still at a very early sketch phase has really changed the dynamics of the design process; I like to get the client involved directly with the prototypes in the hands,” explained Schuur.

As the prototypes got closer and closer to the final product, Schuur took them up a notch by creating them with PolyJet 3D printing, which offers a high level of detail and realism, without the high costs of using metal.

“The Polyjet 3D prints gave us a really good idea about the size, fitting, look and feel of the final parts,” said Schuur. “We were quite surprised when we got the aluminum CNC milled prototypes back and compared them to the original Polyjet prototype samples - they were very close. Needless to say, finding a local 3D printing expert through 3D Hubs to help along the way proved to be invaluable.”

After three years of sketching, prototyping, testing and tweaking, the RZR wet shaving system is ready for mass production.

What makes the RZR stand out in terms of innovative product design is it’s overall commitment to quality and sustainability. Made entirely from cast titanium and with no plastics, rubber, lubrication strips or moving parts, the RZR was built to last—in fact, it even comes with a lifetime warranty to prove it.

“At RZR we don’t like trash, we care about the environment just as much as we value a smooth shave”, explained the company. “We love products that are built to last, we love the re-use of materials and want to create the conditions to enable this re-use.”

The RZR Kickstarter campaign is offering a few early bird specials as well as personally engraved versions, however at €89, the retail version is still a great deal—according to the company, with blades priced at just €1.50, users will break even in just one year and begin to save significantly after that. The company has already located manufacturers, and if funded, plans to have the first products delivered in time for the 2016 holiday season.

Beautiful, no-nonsense, and designed to last—this is more than your standard razor. Thanks to rapid prototyping and 3D printing technology, the RZR is an example of how even the most classic tools can benefit from a well-intentioned redesign, and how less is almost always more.

Of course, if electric razors are still your thing, 3D printing has an answer for that too: earlier this year, Philips launched the world's first 3D printed electric razor for a limited edition run. Check out the RZR Kickstarter video below:



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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