3D Printed Glasses

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3D Printed Glasses might be the future…

3D printing has been around a while now, but it still feels like the technology is finding its place in the world. It’s extremely useful in prototyping as you can quickly and cheaply manufacture different iterations of a design, yet there are surprisingly few mass-market finished products that are made using 3D printing.

The 3D printing process can be broken down into 4 steps.

This is likely because finished 3D printed products don’t always feel, well, finished. The term “rough around the edges” springs to mind. 3D printing, while novel, doesn’t necessarily mean better quality.

3D Printing is used in prototyping the Nike Vapor HyperAgility Cleat, but not in the manufacture.

As the first 3D printed glasses are starting to emerge, it’s interesting to ask the question – are they here to stay? Or is this just our industry riding on the bandwagon of the latest buzzword?

In our most recent video we looked at a new range of 3D printed frames from established French designer Face a Face called Alium Lab. Click the thumbnail below to watch that video.

One of the most remarkable aspects about 3D printing is the use of a material called Polyamide, which is both strong and lightweight. Because of this, designers can produce bold, stylish glasses which are incredibly comfortable to wear and durable.

3D printing allows the manufacture of unbelievably lightweight frames.

But are they better than a regular pair of glasses? It depends. They are undoubtedly superior to a cheap plastic or metal frame. But I don’t think they are necessarily better than a hand-made bespoke frame made using conventional methods at the same price point.

For example, in the video above I also looked at Porsche Design’s latest releases, and for similar money I think they are equally as good or better in some respects (they are in fact lighter than the 3D printed frames and incorporate a more innovative hinge mechanism). There’s also the question of long-term reliability – we just don’t know how Polyamide will stand up to the test of time when worn everyday on someone’s face for a number of years.

Custom-made eyewear using 3D Printing

Where 3D printing technology should find its niche is in its ability to produce one-off pieces made individually for a person. For example, hearing aids can be made using this method to fit to someone’s ear much better than a conventional one.

One of the biggest challenges in choosing new glasses can be finding ones which fit well, and often there is a compromise between the style you want and the frames which are actually the most comfortable.

That could be a thing of the past thanks to 3D printing. You could potentially have any style you like made bespoke to your size.

Yuniku was the first system to market to produce entirely bespoke 3D printed frames.

The first system to bring this idea to market was Hoya’s Yuniku technology, which also incorporated the brilliant concept of having the lenses positioned ideally in front of the eyes regardless of the style you choose (this is really important in getting the best vision with your glasses).

We passed up on the opportunity to adopt Yuniku technology as we didn’t feel the quality of the finished frames matched their price-tag. However we are looking forward to receiving our Zeiss Visufit 1000 sometime next year, which may prove to be the best solution to making bespoke glasses.

The Zeiss Visufit 1000 uses 9 different cameras simultaneously

The Zeiss Visufit 1000 is capable of performing a 3D scan of the face, and we’re hoping that frame manufacturers of the quality of Face a Face will partner with Zeiss to make either high quality or lower cost 3D printed bespoke frames a reality in the future.

Will this be the future of being fitted for new glasses?

Frustratingly, the future isn’t here yet. This technology is in its infancy still and a long way from becoming the norm. But in our fast-changing society, who knows just how quickly 3D printing will overtake conventional manufacturing methods, not only in the eyewear industry but in others as well.

Follow us on Twitter and YouTube to get the latest insights into technology in the world of eyewear.

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Read Our Reviews

The Spectacle Factory is rated 5 out of 5.0 stars based on 17 review(s).

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Five stars without any hesitation. I immediately felt at ease and the atmosphere was very welcoming. The service was prompt and efficient. I felt the examination was very thorough and any questions I had were clearly answered. When it came to choosing my frames and what my prescription involved the options available to me were fully outlined. I didn’t feel under any pressure and I felt in charge of the transaction. From entering to leaving it was a lovely experience. I was a little hesitant in the current situation, but my fears were soon allayed as every precaution was taken to minimise the risks. Superior to any high street optician. Excellent all round! EH

- Elizabeth Horsfield

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Living some 300 miles from The Spectacle Factory visiting was not an option for me, however, after checking all the reviews I decided not only to buy my J.F. Rey frames (seen on an online video by Robert) but also have my Zeiss smart life progressive lenses made by them. I had no worries. After taking advice from Robert the measurements required for the lenses were done locally at a nominal cost. I am now the proud owner of a pair of handmade 'wow' glasses and a very happy new customer. Use them with confidence. The customer service is truely outstanding.

- Alan Astin

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Well they you pay for what you get. It’s definitely true of The Spectacle Factory. There customer service is the best I have experienced anywhere. I was not rushed with any decision and I was made to feel like I was there most important customer. What I paid was an eye watering amount but I got smartlife ziess lenses and frames that are very comfortable. I now also have very clear vision when reading. I thought it was not clear due to lighting in modern offices and homes. Wrong it was bad lenses and persecution not being quite right. Thank you for sorting it all out at the first attempt.

- Heath Christy

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ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT I have been using the Spectacle Factory for a long time, but the latest visit was the best BY FAR..... I desperately needed an eye test, and was fitted in quickly. James, the optician, was excellent , as usual. 4 members of staff were outstanding in the service I received. Robert, Ben and Emma were absolutely perfect.....and Ruth, the manager was excellent, as she always is. The best visit by far...I cannot rate this place higher !!!

- K Rhys

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Welcomed by and dealt with Robert during the whole process of choosing through to final fitting. Great service, great range of glasses, really helpful and informative. I would highly recommend

- Jenny T

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After reading all the positive reviews I decided that a 40 minute drive would be worth it to try and get a new prescription and frames- I wear my glasses all day so need to get this right. I was so impressed with everyone’s desire to be helpful and make sure I was happy at every part of my visit. I wasn’t the quickest at choosing new frames but never felt rushed by Robert. He listened and gave helpful advice as we worked through choosing the frames and lenses I needed. They have a huge range of frames which meant I ended up with a pair I was really happy with. I actually chose a pair of prescription sunglasses as well, which I have been meaning to do for years. I loved the combination of cutting edge technology and personalised service. It’s so nice to see a team that places such a priority on customer satisfaction - they certainly deserve 5 stars.

- S McReynolds

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Fantastic service! I attended the spectacle factory over a year ago for an eye test. They were amazing, and so patient with me! My Polaroid frame broke recently, so in desperate need called the spectacle factory to order a replacement frame. They were so efficient and helpful. Also my frames were covered under warranty and I didn’t have to pay a penny. AMAZING. Couldn’t recommend them anymore!

- Rebecca F

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Friendly service, thanks to Robert who took the time and care to ensure that I was happy with my new glasses. I would definitely recommend.

- Paul Wellman

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Visited the Spectacle Factory a couple of weeks ago for the first time. James did my eye test and was very thorough and informative. Chose a pair of glasses afterwards with the help of another member of staff. Great customer service. I have always gone to high street opticians before and never sure what glasses suit me. I was allowed to take my time and offered helpful advice. Love my new glasses which I picked up with the week. I will be returning to the Spectacle factory in the future. Far superior in terms of quality and customer service compared to other opticians I have been too.

- J B

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My wife and I both have great glasses (and sunglasses) from The Spectacle Factory. Right from our very first visit we have been very impressed with the highest level of care and attention to detail, both with eye tests and the choice of lenses and frames. They seem to have a flair for helping you to choose the right glasses. Once your order is ready, nothing is too much trouble to ensure that the fit and the suitability of your glasses is perfect for your needs and that you are completely happy. Their ongoing service is second to none. We can highly recommend The Spectacle Factory..

- Geoff Gosling

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Came in today for help with some frames, repaired no questions asked, there and then on the spot Brilliant service

- Alex

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All the staff are so helpful and switched on to all your requirements I would recommend them all day what a good experience

- Roy gardiner

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The Spectacle Factory offer me the kind of customer service and ability to customise my choice of spectacles that just is simply not available on the High Street. From Initial contact, to delivery of the finished product, you are treated like a loyal friend. Nothing is too much trouble. Unbiased advise, on choosing the correct spectacles for your particular application. A vast range of frames from the very cheapest to the latest designer frames. I choose the Spectacle Factory, because they can provide me with, customised glasses, to align with my particular needs and requirements. Most high street opticians have a 'one size fits all' attitude. The Spectacle Factory does not subscribe to this theory and treats every client as an individual. Their eye sight is very comprehensive and is 50% longer than the industry standard. If you value your eyesight, and want the very best care, this is the place to visit.

- Paul van de Rooy

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Rob and the team were excellent help with the professionalism and advise . I will become a faithful member of the spectacle factory!! Thanks again team

- Dan Amin

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👍

- James

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Excellent advice with a fantastic product range,

- Thomas Sayer

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Highly recommend The Spectacle Factory - excellent service will definitely be using again.

- Hattie

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