Materialise introduces a new, translucent material for 3D printing eyeglass frames

Materialise announced the premiere of a new, translucent material dedicated to the production of eyeglass frames. New products will be presented at Silmo Paris. The material allows manufacturers to combine the benefits of 3D printing with growing consumer demand for translucent eyewear collections. According to Materialise, the introduction of the material opens the door to visually appealing collections that will shape the future of eyewear fashion.

3D printing has many advantages in eyewear production, including faster time to market for new collections and more sustainable production. It also allows designers to experiment with form, offering the opportunity to play with complex shapes, complicated structures and textures that cannot be reproduced using traditional production techniques. Over the past decade, this has led to widespread industry adoption of 3D-printed glasses.

As eyewear manufacturers began to embrace 3D printing for its unique design possibilities, they often faced practical limitations: the technology was unable to replicate the translucent aesthetic traditionally associated with acetate frames. The introduction of a new translucent material is a breakthrough, allowing eyewear brands to combine transparency with the design flexibility of 3D printing.

The new translucent material is the result of five years of extensive testing of over fifty different materials, including tests for biocompatibility, thermal resistance and impact resistance. This combination of technology and material innovation promises to redefine the future of eyewear design, offering designers a diverse range of new options.

Translucent frames are not the only eyewear trend reflected in the solutions that Materialise will present at Silmo Paris. Consumer preferences are shifting from isolated online shopping to personalized in-store experiences – a shift enabled by digital technologies such as Materialise’s “Eyewear Fitting Suite.”

Eyewear consumers increasingly expect personalized products and shopping experiences. In fact, personalization is one of the key factors influencing the global eyewear market, enabling it to achieve a CAGR of 8.5% by 2030. With prescription glasses accounting for approximately 63% of the market, this means that retailers and opticians are adapting their services and ending products can gain a competitive advantage.

Materialise’s Eyewear Fitting Suite enables opticians to take a detailed scan of a client’s face to build an accurate 3D digital model. The platform, which can be loaded with the retailer’s own collections and those of partnering brands, then allows the customer and the optician to look together at shapes, styles, colors and size options, using both professional expertise and digital innovation to select the perfect, fitting frame.

The platform not only addresses consumer needs, but enables retailers to offer an omnichannel shopping journey and store digital inventory for on-demand production, minimizing costly inventory risk and potential frame waste, thereby supporting more sustainable operations. Additionally, because printing takes place in Materialise’s dedicated eyewear production facility, the largest of its kind in Europe, advisors and opticians can focus entirely on the customer.


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