Stratasys has introduced the Stratasys VeroFlex Rapid Prototyping Eyewear Solution, which allows for the 3D-printing of eyeglass designs. The technology can accommodate aesthetic attributes, such as transparency, patterns and colorful designs, and, Stratasys says, may allow eyewear designers to shrink time-to-market from 15 months to eight weeks.
From initial design concept to display on the store shelf, a new eyeglass frame design takes about 18 months, using traditional development techniques, according to Stratasys eyewear customers. Large eyewear manufacturers may create up to 150 new frame designs weekly (or thousands of new frames per year), the company said.
The new solution combines Stratasys’ J750 multi-color, multi-material 3D Printer with, VeroFlex, a new specially formulated 3D printing material for eyewear rapid prototyping needs. VeroFlex offers a combination of stiffness and flexibility, intended to accommodate a wide range of prototyping requirements.
Stratasys says VeroFlex “offers a more durable and flexible material for demanding internal tests prior to tooling and production. This provides eyewear manufacturers the ability to deliver products over a year faster and lead with the latest market trends, while improving salability of its products.”
“The eyewear market continues to expand, driven by new technologies, demand for customization and growing addressable markets,” says Mike Vasquez, founder and CEO at the digital manufacturing consultancy, 3Degrees. “As the industry seeks to maximize its opportunity, Stratasys’ prototyping solutions for frames and eyewear accessories—which can cut time-to-market by upwards of 80 percent— will be an attractive solution that is able to deliver immediate value for users looking to make parts with a high degree of mechanical function and appearance.”
When used for design verification, the Stratasys VeroFlex material offers realism enabled by combining six new VeroFlex materials (cyan, magenta, yellow, white, black and clear), and the ability to create and mix solid, opaque, transparent and color shades in addition to simulating true-to-life textures such as wood grains, leather, stitching, bone, carbon-fiber, and photo-realistic images.
For functional performance testing, the “Stratasys VeroFlex material stands up to key eyewear-maker evaluation, including drop tests, lens-mounting, stress tests and wearability tests,” according to Stratasys.
For more information, visit www.stratasys.com or call (877) 489-9449.