The other day I was reading sky news on my phone and I came across the news of 3D printing technology being used to create components for fighter jets which got me VERY interested in the whole 3D printing marlarky. For those of you who are not aware of 3D printing then you should start to keep an eye out for it because this could be the future of how things are produced. This clever machine can basically transform any idea you have in your head and turn it into a 3D reality (with a few steps inbetween of course). Say if I want to design a vase for my new home or design something bespoke for a friend, all I have to do is design it on the computer, check on the screen to see if I am happy with it and if I am then all I do is hit print and taa-daa my vase is here, like magic almost.
You all know what I am going to say next right? Yes, you can design you own glasses and yes it will print out glasses. However this does’t mean go out and buy yourself a 3D printer and start making your own glasses because as you can imagine these machine are not cheap. During 100% Optical there will be an optician there who will be taking part in a live debate on 3D printing and he is the first optician in the UK who has been using this technology in his practice down in Devon.
I think the live debate at 100% Optical should be an interesting one, infact I wouldn’t mind joining in, hehe! This kind of technology does give customers the freedom to design their own frames and it will give opticians the edge over other practices where you can offering a very specialist service to the public considering this 3D printing is still very new to us all. How will this shape the future of eyewear? If you are within the optical profession do you think it is a good idea? If you think about it… a customer can come in and see a pair of glasses they like from your display BUT they may not like the colour or they maybe even want to change the shape slightly to make them bigger or smaller. If you have the 3D printing technology available your customer can just ask you to create a frame how they want it.
This does raise another question, what if you do start to give every customer this freedom, what would happen to existing eyewear manufacturers? If you are interested in this technology then I would highly recommend you to attend the live debate at 100% Optical, I will most certainly be there and if you see me do say hi, I don’t bite 😉