3D printed glasses are nothing new. Thanks to the customisability and precision of the scanning and printing process, creating a pair of specs ideal for a specific customer’s facial structure is made much easier with additive manufacturing.
Companies such as Berlin’s Mykita and San Francisco’s Protos have been firing off customer specific frames for a while now. What makes the line of eyewear launched by Belgian 3D print company Melotte this week different, however, is the material being used.
While the two aforementioned services print frames using Polyamide based filament, Melotte’s Hoet Couture range will come printed in crisp, clean, twinkling titanium.
Not only that, it’s designed by Patrick Hoet, one of Belgium’s most famous, maverick and innovative designers.
Customers that fancy a pair of completely customised specs can get ‘3D fitted’, either in one of the 14 stores across Belgium or in 15 international locations, including shops in the U.S., Japan and South Africa. A 3D scan is made of their face, before being used to craft a printable design. Melotte then fires its titanium printer into action and sprays out the Hoet Coutures.
Not only can the customer expect beautiful glasses, perfect for the contours of their face, they also get the added personal touch of their names engraved upon the frame. For those who prefer a shorter turnaround time, a ‘partial customisation’ option is also available and takes about one week.
The marriage of Melotte and Hoet is an interesting one. Thus far, the Belgian 3D print service is best known for its medical applications, specialising in items such as dentures. Hoet, on the other hand, is renowned as the man behind the ultra-hip Theo range of glasses, self styled as ‘the most self willed brand in the world.’
Should it prove successful, it may be highly influential in other, similar areas. As well as showing 3D printing’s well-known capability to create customer-specific products, it also shows its ability to allow a global brand to provide a localised service. That makes it most definitely a product to watch for anybody interested in the commercial possibilities of additive manufacturing.