Introduction: 3D Printed Glasses

About: My name is Michael Amundsen, and I have a Bachelors of Fine Art in Digital Media Arts and a minor in Cultural Anthropology, from the CADRE Laboratory for New Media at San Jose State University. I joined the F…

While taking a class at Techshop, I set out to see if I could create 3D printed glasses. There are many ways you can approach 3D modeling and print. I decided to start by using a 3D scanner to get a model. I used the NextEngine 3D Scanner to capture a model of a generic Ray Ban sunglasses frame. A program like 123D Catch is a great alternative to those that do not have access to a 3D Scanner. The program allows you to take photos of an object and turn it into a 3D model.

If you need more info on where to get access to the tools I used check out I made it at TechShop.

Step 1: 3D Scanning

Using the 3D scanner, I was able to get a 3D model of the pair of glasses I had. I have included a version of the STL file I used. The STL file can easily be open in 3D modeling programs.

Step 2: 3D Modeling

Once you have a scanned model to work with, you'll likely want to play around in a 3D modeling program of your choice. There are a host of them out there like Maya, Autodesk, Blender, or even Minecraft. Pick the one that works best for you. In my case, I found that Blender was beyond my learning curve with the time I had, so I ended up building another 3D model in Minecraft. Minecraft allowed me to modify the glasses in an easier way.

Step 3: Exporting 3D Model for Printing

Once I had the 3D model in Minecraft, I had to find a way to export the data. There is a free software called Mineways that allows you to export the data from your Minecraft world.

Once you use Mineways to export the model as a object file, you can then use another software to open it up. I elected to use another open source software called Meshlab. This program allows you to see your export in 3D form and refine the export for printing.

The final step was to take the export .obj file into a 3D printing program that would prepare the code for printing with the 3D printer at Techshop. That program was called ReplicatorG. In this program you can move and scale the object to the desired printing size. I attempted to make a print out the size I would need to be able to wear them. That ended up being about 15 times the size of the original model.

Step 4: 3D Printing

Using the 3D printer, I imported my file and set it up to print. After a few hours I was able to remove the excess material. Finally, I was able to inspect my 3D glasses. You may need to go back and tweak your model to make improvements. Once that is complete you can print the glasses again. Luckily 3D printing is pretty cheap and easily accessible through places like TechShop. The best part about this process is it can be translated over to almost any object. I have made 3D Printed Minecraft towers and castles. Be creative and experiment with the process.