A number of companies are proving that 3D printed glasses are a viable and desirable alternative to traditional manufacturing methods.
3D printing glasses ensures the perfect fit every time, and with limitless options personalisation for wearers in terms of aesthetics, too.
In this guide I’ll share my favourite 3D printed glasses companies, comparing their products across styles, designs, practicality, and even ethics.
And if budget is a concern, I’ll also share STL files for best eyewear you can 3D print at home.
- The Best 3D Printed Glasses You Can Buy
- 3D Printed Glasses You Can Print Yourself
- Advantages of 3D Printed Glasses
The Best 3D Printed Glasses You Can Buy
Mykita – Mastering High-Gloss Finish in 3D Printed Eyewear
Berlin’s fashion-forward brand, Mykita, elevates 3D printed glasses with chic, distinctive designs, and a clever solution to nylon’s rough finish. Their MYLON range uses a Selective Laser Sintering (or SLS technology) in their manufacturing process to create a flawless, glossy finish in their glasses that standard nylon material fails to match.
In fact, Mykita are so determined to keep their perfected formula a secret, they decided against patenting the method used to create their collection, as they’d have to disclose the materials in the mixture.
Monoqool – Lightweight and Sustainable
This Danish company is making waves in the 3D printed eyewear market with its dramatic redesign of classic glasses, both lightweight and durable, weighing a mere six grams.
However, what sets Monoqool apart is their environmentally conscious approach. Their additive manufacturing reduces waste by 85% compared to traditional methods, and they utilize a raw castor bean alternative, 98% of which can be recycled and the remaining 2% is biodegradable.
Despite its innovation, Monoqool’s limited release to one hundred stores globally makes acquiring these frames a potential challenge.
Octobre71 – Trendsetting on a Budget
French-based Octobre71 merges cutting-edge additive manufacturing technology with innovative design, offering stylish frames at prices ranging from €89 to €129.
Their 3D printed sunglasses have quickly gained popularity in high fashion circles, even featuring in ELLE magazine within their first five years.
FitzFrames – Customized Glasses for Kids
American company FitzFrames uses 3D printing to simplify children’s eyewear experience. Their app scans facial dimensions to produce perfectly fitting glasses, reducing optician visits and potential damage due to poor fit.
The glasses are 3D printed locally and delivered to your door, and have rightly garnered attention from outlets like the LA Times.
3D Printed Glasses You Can Print Yourself
You don’t have to go professional for top-quality 3D printed glasses. If you’d rather make them yourself, you can find plenty of STL files online to try out on your own 3D printer. Any of these eyewear frames would make great spectacles or even sunglasses depending on your priorities.
Here are just a few of my favorite glass frame designs online that you can check out today. Remember that because the final product will be worn near your eyes, you should pay particular attention to post-processing to make sure there are no splinters or harmful pieces that could cause damage.
Eyewear Frames by Criscris
- Designer: Criscris
- Price: $1.45 – $1.67 each
- Source: Cults3D
Cults3D user Criscris has created and uploaded a variety of different eyewear frames as 3D models available for download. Amongst these is his collection of unique eyeglass frames in distinct but subtle styles that defy the standard round or square looks of common spectacle frames.
My personal favorite is the C1 model because of its heptagonal shape that’s only really noticeable at a closer glance.
Light 3D Printed Glasses
- Designer: Robert Stefanowicz
- Price: Free
- Source: Printables
Not everyone enjoys wearing glasses, and those with thicker frames or lenses can be particularly heavy or annoying if worn over long periods of time.
Only weighing 28 grams, the designer claims that you won’t even remember you’re wearing them after a while, making them perfect for anyone with allodynia or any other condition or quirk that makes them particularly sensitive to, or bothered by, touch.
Thin Optics Frame
- Designer: Jimbotron
- Price: Free
- Source: Thingiverse
Thin Optics frames are known for being an innovation in glasses frames. They’re lightweight, easy to wear, and even easier to carry. Though some people aren’t convinced that the incredibly thin frames are fashionable, as this designer has noted and disagreed with.
In a somewhat jovial effort to ‘fit in’ with his fellow bespectacled peers, he created the Thin Optics frame to attach to his eyewear to make them appear more like the usual thick glass lenses associated with the dorkier variety of person.
While mostly a joke, these frame additions are a fun and arguably cool addition in and of themselves.
3D Printed Eyeglass Temple Replacements
- Designer: RUBENZILZER
- Price: Free
- Source: Cults3D
Replacing glass frames can be expensive and bothersome depending on your model. Accidentally breaking your glass temples can be a real pain if it’s late at night or your optician isn’t nearby enough to be convenient.
That’s what happened to this designer’s neighbor over quarantine, when such services were not readily or easily available, and they remain a good set of files to keep handy.
- Designer: 16BitGames
- Price: Free
- Source: Thingiverse
Around 12% of people suffer from stereoblindness, a vision disorder involving poor depth perception that makes movies shot in 3D difficult to enjoy. This designer has created these 3D printed glass frames designed to fit with standard 3D movie glasses.
The trick is to get yourself two different pairs of these glasses and combine two of the same lens to effectively make 2D glasses, letting anyone with stereoblindness enjoy 3D films with their friends without getting headaches.
Advantages of 3D Printed Glasses
Aesthetics & Personality
3D printing’s capacity to produce intricate components surpasses traditional manufacturing methods, enabling the creation of custom-designed glasses that reflect the wearer’s unique personality.
3D printed glasses can be constructed as a single component, eliminating unsightly screws and soldering typically seen in conventional designs. The frames themselves have limitless customization options, giving wearers the freedom to showcase their unique patterns and styles, whether they’re classic or eccentric.
However, the nylon material used in most 3D printed glasses usually has a porous finish that might not appeal to all consumers.
SLS 3D printers, employing powerful lasers, solidify polymer powders to create intricate, custom eyewear structures. Nylon is the material of choice due to its balance of lightness and durability, crucial for comfortable wear and resistance to everyday mishaps.
Despite nylon’s susceptibility to cracks or shattering under heavy impact due to its porous nature, 3D printed glasses excel in versatility.
Additive manufacturing engineers and designers are pioneering interchangeable lenses, adding a modern solution to the age-old problem of carrying multiple pairs of glasses for different uses. This innovative feature makes 3D printed frames a more compact and cost-effective eyewear solution.
Get the Perfect Fit
With 3D printed glasses frames, you can make sure they perfectly fit. These bespoke eyeglasses are designed using precise 3D scans of your face, ensuring the frame shapes are to your exact dimensions and eliminating any chance of discomfort or slippage.
Ethical & Environmentally Friendly Glasses
Waste is a significant challenge for the optical industry, with over 4 million pairs of globally produced frames discarded annually as the traditional manufacturing techniques aren’t generally well-suited to using highly recyclable materials.
Eyewear made using additive manufacturing provides a sustainable solution, virtually eliminating waste by producing customized frames using precise material quantities. The commonly used nylon powder can be reused, minimizing wastage.
Despite nylon’s petroleum-based origin and non-biodegradable nature, the potential to cut industry waste in half significantly progresses toward an eco-conscious society.
The Danish company Monoqool has pioneered a 100% biodegradable and durable material from castor beans used in their famously 3D printed Slider series, allowing the brand to offer a sustainable alternative for eyewear production.