Natalie Simpson July 13, 2018

The new eyewear collection by fmhofmann is the first in the industry to combine a titanium 3D-printed hinge with 3D-printed PA frames, a unique combination not seen before. To scale this new summit of all-printed eyewear, Berlin-based designer Fabián Hofmann collaborated with us to benefit from our expertise in 3D Printing.

The modularity of this collection is a nod to one of the biggest trends in the eyewear industry today: customization. COSMOS features exchangeable components, enabling consumers to craft a unique frame for themselves – think temple arms in different sizes, add-on visors and windbreakers, and one supremely adjustable hinge element.

Starski wearing Tadpole | © Benjamin Balsereit
3D-printed hinge with 3D-printed PA frames | © Benjamin Balsereit

Bringing design DNA to life in 3D Printing

For his latest collection, Hofmann has created a series of exquisitely stylish eyewear pieces with a classic vintage look and they’re completely 3D-printed. Hofmann’s in-depth understanding of 3D Printing was integral to the design process, notes Alireza Parandian, Head of Global Business Strategy for AM Wearables at Materialise.

“With his background not only in design but also in engineering, Fabián brings a unique perspective to the development cycle,” says Alireza. “He was well-versed with what the technology could offer, and used this knowledge consciously to design in a way that would make the most of the technology. I believe that this expertise is at the foundation of his design style: the unique curves and angles that COSMOS uses would not be possible without an understanding of what the technology does best.”

Jamal wearing Orion | © Benjamin Balsereit

The VOID hinge is of particular interest; Hofmann designed it and we put our engineering expertise to the test in order to bring his vision to life. It’s both startlingly simple, yet features a complex combination of different 3D-printed materials, a testament to the precision engineering required to realize the designs.

The hinge component and custom screws are all printed in titanium, and allow the wearer to easily disconnect the PA frame and interchange components. There are five temple arms in different sizes the wearer can choose from, not to mention accessories such as visors, windbreakers and shades which can be added onto the eyewear frames.

Hofmann’s signature style influenced the surface finish aesthetic on the 3D-printed frames to deliver the luxurious look and feel of leather. A stunning example of how design influences the manufacture with 3D Printing to create something truly unique.

Blending Design with Precision Engineering

The creation of a new 3D-printed eyewear range requires the perfect interplay between the designers’ vision and manufacturing realities. The collaboration between Materialise and Fabián Hofmann started when we first became active in the eyewear industry around 2014. From those first projects, we developed a long, successful partnership which allowed us to combine expertise from both sides. Listening to Hofmann explain his design vision, our engineers translated this into a precise engineering concept that could be realized with 3D Printing. At the same time, the engineers are learning from Hofmann what is most important to keep in mind when creating and manufacturing eyewear. The alignment of these different realities results in unique products which stand out from the rest of the market.

“Our commitment to elegance and comfort, as well as our years of experience with the eyewear industry has forged strong partnerships. We always strive to stay ahead of the game, and the 3D-printed titanium hinge we devised together with Fabián Hofmann for his latest collection is a testament to the way in which we use 3D Printing to create the highest value possible in the market,” says Alireza Parandian at Materialise.

Hofmann agrees, saying,

“The process of envisioning a new product is always a team effort! I believe that our joint specialist crews at Materialise and fmhofmann eyewear have entered a new stage in additive design thinking together."

Katja wearing Columba | © Benjamin Balsereit

"Now that 3D Printing has arrived in a broader market, and printed consumer goods are finding an ever-growing audience, I strongly believe that we should not stop at this point for serial production alone, but push the boundaries even harder, striving to reach a new advanced level of sophistication and product quality.”

How is 3D Printing changing the eyewear industry? Read more about our eyewear projects and learn what 3D Printing can do for you!