Aug 18, 2016 | By Tess

SpeX, a new line of affordable and standout 3D printed eyewear has just been launched on Kickstarter and is looking for backers. The new brand, which was founded by engineering graduate Chris Nieves, is hoping to offer consumers a fun, colorful, and even modular option for their prescription eyewear.

According to Nieves, he was inspired to found the startup after breaking his expensive prescription glasses and finding that he did not have enough money to replace them. Fortunately, the recent graduate did have access to a 3D printer and was well acquainted with 3D design software, so he got to work building himself a new pair. Realizing he was not the only one who gets frustrated and breaks the bank every time a pair of glasses is broken, he decided to turn his idea into a business venture.

As he explains, "The idea for SpeX was born out of need. I woke up one morning, and as I fumbled for my glasses on my nightstand, and heard a crash. My only pair of prescription glasses smashed to the ground and were rendered useless. I had just graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and was still searching for a job, so didn't have extra cash. Buying a new pair was out of the question, so I had to get creative. That's when it dawned on me, I had the engineering skills and access to a 3D printer. Why not just make my own? That's when I got to work designing what eventually became the very first prototype of SpeX."

After much research into how eyeglasses are structured and constructed, Nieves developed an original, durable, and even customizable design for his SpeX. Perhaps the biggest innovation for his eyewear is that they do not require tiny hinges and screws (often the source of breakages), but the arms are instead connected to the frames by an infinity hinge. This also means that arms and frames can easily be disassembled by the wearer and swapped out for different colors and styles.

The U.S.-made frames are actually resin casted out of an aerospace-grade Eurathane plastic material from a mold made from the 3D printed prototype. Currently, the glasses are available in six different styles and a number of different color variations. Each pair weighs only 35 grams (with lenses included) so they should be comfortable and lightweight for the wearer. Additionally, the glasses have been put through a number of tests, such as being dropped, and being used for a range of physical activities, which according to SpeX has guaranteed their durability and resilience.

In terms of lenses, SpeX has partnered with Texas-based company EyeGlassPeople, who have offered their lens manufacturing services to the startup. All backers will have to do is get their prescription sent to the company and choose what features they want the lenses to have, and they will be made to fit the frames. In fact, even lenses can be swapped out, just so long as the lens shape matched the eyewear frame.

According to a press release, the line of 3D printed frames are now ready for production and the startup is prepping to release them onto the market within the next year if the Kickstarter campaign is a success. The crowdfunding campaign, which is hoping to raise $5,100 by September 14, 2016, is offering backers a unique chance to pre-order the frames at a reduced price. Early birds will be able to get 1 pair of eyeglasses (lenses included) for a pledge of $90 ($20 below the expected retail price), and regular backers can still get a pair for $100. For a pledge of $425, backers will receive a set of five mix-and-match sets, so that they can change up their look on a regular basis. You can check out the Kickstarter campaign here.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Mariel wrote at 10/22/2016 1:58:52 AM:

Is this available only in the U.S? Thanks.

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