Whilst visiting D2W last week, CNN’s Erin McLaughlin caught sight of Ron Arad’s “Angel” laser sintered sunglasses frames and insisted that they were included in her piece on the Makies.  The frames can be seen towards the end of the news item, as Jonathan describes how the printer can build different projects simultaneously in the same build.

We were a little sad that they weren’t credited in the piece, as alongside the magnificent Makies, these are our favourite 3D printed production design objects that D2W make.  Where the Makies exploit 3d printing technology’s ability to produce individually customised objects, Ron Arad’s frames are an example of the brilliant understanding and exploitation of the material properties of Nylon SLS.

When approached by PQ Eyewear to rethink the design of sunglasses frames, Ron Arad identified that the weakest and most vulnerable point of any frame was the hinge where the stems meet the lens holders.  He has addressed this issue when designing the “Angel” frame.


PQ side viewInstead of attempting to design a new type of hinge that could improve this inherently weak connection, he decided to design a frame that is made as a single piece, thus avoiding the problem altogether.  3D printing in Nylon SLS allowed him to do this.

By ingeniously designing the frame to be built in the closed position and then introducing a series of slashes (rather like the gills of a shark) in the frames at the point where a traditional hinge would be found, the stems can be pulled apart in order to allow the glasses to be put on the head.  When the glasses are removed, the material memory of the Nylon SLS draws the stems back in to the closed position.  Not only does this provide a magical automatic closing action, but the inclination of the stems to move back to the closed position, also holds them securely on the wearer’s head and therefore there is no problem with slipping down the face that afflicts all traditional frames.Angel Frames (1 of 2)

Angel Frames (2 of 2)You may be wondering how long the Nylon SLS continues to return to the closed position before the material gets slack and floppy?

The frames have undergone rigorous repetition testing and so far have exceeded 500,000 repetitions without the return action being compromised.  That’s impressive.

The “Angels” will be released on to the market soon and we suggest that if you see a pair on display, pick them up, put them on and pout in the mirror.  They’re incredible objects.

D2W are always interested in new ways in which 3D printing can be applied to objects that make them better than anything that it’s been possible to produce before.  Makies exploit the potential of customisation to create a precious bespoke doll.  Ron Arad exploits the behavioural properties of the 3d printed material that not only produces a sunglasses frame that lasts longer (500,000 open and closings and counting!) but that also work better in terms of how they lightly grip your head.

Both are brilliant and we’re so proud to be involved.