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Protos Eyewear Creates 3D Printed Glasses, Turns to Crowdfunding

Protos Eyewear 3D Printing

Protos Turns to Crowdfunding for Next Evolution in Eyewear 3D Printing

Protos is an eyewear company based in San Francisco that combines computer-aided personalized design with 3D printing to create the perfect pair of frames. We featured Protos last fall and recently caught up again with founder and CFO Richart Ruddie.

Protos is turning to crowdfunding to take the company to the next level. With 24 new designs and advancements in its 3D printing process, the company hopes to raise $25,000 in pre-orders for its custom frames.

Go check out the Protos campaign and pledge if you like their project.

Below is our interview with founder and CFO Richart Ruddie.

On 3D Printing: What’s new at Protos since we last spoke? How have you further developed your 3D printed eyewear?

Richart Ruddie: We have designed 24 new frames. We have taken on a new partner who is an expert in the eyewear industry. We have refined our material and finish to be smooth, comfortable, and strong. We are able to custom fit glasses to an individual user’s face in a semi-automated fashion.

On 3D Printing:  Why are you turning to crowdfunding now?

Richart Ruddie: We have reached a point where we want to offer our custom fit service, but don’t have the funds to develop it into a web application to be put on our site. We have the back-end programming worked out for it; all we need to do is integrate it into an attractive and easy-to-use interface. To do that takes a lot of development time and a mild barrier to entry in terms of funds that need to be spent.

On 3D Printing: Any plans to expand beyond eyewear in the future?

Richart Ruddie: Yes. We hope to leverage the properties of this new manufacturing for many other products. Eyewear is just the beginning.

Below is a gallery of the design process at Protos.

Interview: Protos Eyewear Combines Fashion, Tech, and 3D Printing

Protos Eyewear 3D Printing

Finding a pair of glasses that fit properly and look good is a painstaking process. Could 3D printing help with this? Protos Eyewear thinks so.

Protos is an eyewear company based in San Francisco that uses 3D printing to manufacture their frames. This intricate layering process results in bold and striking designs that are impossible to make through standard manufacturing methods. Protos eyewear is lightweight and durable, and the material provides a unique look and feel.

We interviewed Protos founder and CFO Richart Ruddie to learn more about the company.

On3dPrinting: How did you and your founders come up with this idea?

Ruddie (Protos): We have always had a passion for eyewear. It’s a product that is almost dominated by a company called Luxotica and we are able to enter the market with a unique niche that they have not caught on as of yet. They’re fun to design because they require such attention to detail in regards to proportions and ergonomics. If you change the silhouette by as little as 1 millimeter, it can totally change the character and the fit of the frame. 3D printing is just getting to a point where it is inexpensive enough to use as a viable manufacturing method, and the materials are finally starting to become strong enough to be consumer grade. These factors are what motivated us to start the company.

On3dPrinting: What is the consumer benefit of 3D printed sunglasses?

Ruddie (Protos): Eyewear with an unparalleled aesthetic (see below for the pixel pair in particular). Soon to be custom fit eyewear that we will be able to take anybody’s facial dimensions and make custom fitted glasses for them which we believe is the next big thing in the industry. We are beta-testing tailored fit glasses right now and would be proud to let a few of your readers and yourself to join the beta process.

Protos Pixelated Eyewear 3D Printing

On3dPrinting: Is there a business or cost advantage with 3D printing technology over traditional manufacturing?

Ruddie (Protos): You have no upfront tooling costs. So you could easily develop hundreds and hundreds of different models at no cost. You also can make the glasses to order and eliminate the need for backstock.

On3dPrinting: Who is your target customer?

Ruddie (Protos): Techies, fashionistas

On3dPrinting: We would imagine some customers would be concerned about fit. Do you offer any guarantees?

Ruddie (Protos): We do have a return policy in place:

On3dPrinting: You’ve been in business for over a year. Any data you can report about your growth?

Ruddie (Protos): We have been putting together everything over the last year or so. We had a great launch party in San Francisco which had 75 designers, fashionistas, techies, and other SF’ers and they all loved the glasses. We sold out that night and have been working on improving our line of products since than. We just recently launched to the public and sell sunglasses right on the website. As of right now growth is slow as we work on getting the word out and connecting with others that are interested in the products.

On3dPrinting: Where can someone design and buy a pair?

Ruddie (Protos): Contact us directly and we can discuss customized pairs on both a single level and mass production basis.