Eyeglass frame models shown in Microsoft's 3D Builder
@Yosun crafting the 3D models
3D models being printed on Microsoft-supplied printer
Closeup of the printing in process
Smaller frames, perfect for Pringles :)
We wanted to help people discover 3D printing with something they commonly use, and something that can be unique to each person's style. After brainstorming various items, we focused on eyeglasses and sunglasses. Every person can own and try out many different pairs, and match them with their mood, the occasion, etc. Wouldn't it be great if a 3D printer made it easier and faster to customize and create those frames?
What it does
To start, SnapGlasses shows you a "base" frame. From this base, you can then select from several different accessories / enhancements / customizations. The base frame and the accessories get sent to a 3D printer, which takes your ideas and makes them into physical realities. Like Legos, you can snap and swap pieces, depending on your in-the-moment preferences!
Depending on the capabilities of the 3D printer, you could imagine customizing the frame material in the future (e.g. in 2020 :)). For example, from inexpensive plastic to high-end titanium, marble, and gold imported from Italy and Mars.
How we built it
We used 3ds Max to build the eyeglass models and accessories (with some tweaks on Photoshop and Illustrator). We then built a user-facing app with Unity and the 3D print API on Windows 10.
Challenges we ran into
When we printed our first pair of frames, we didn't get the sizing right. The frames came up about 2/3 the size of regular frames, which we could we useful for toys. :) We also weren't sure how long it would take to print the frames (which vary in minutes according to size and the printer type). We were grateful to folks at Microsoft for being very helpful, including bringing the 3D equipment for us to print to, and for answering questions.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Being able to brainstorm a 3D printing idea on a Friday night and then implement it on Saturday. Yosun's familiarity with 3D modeling made this go much faster than for most people. Xian was new to 3D printing and enjoyed learning about it.
What we learned
Building a 3D printing app on Windows 10.
What's next for SnapGlasses
We will be watching the evolving state of the art for 3D printing, including 3D printing edible objects. Get ready to eat your 3D-printed chocolate sunglasses. ;)