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Smarter Sunglasses Fit Your Face Thanks to 3-D Printing Technology

17 February 2017

Are you already getting geared up for summer—or at least thinking about it? If the perfect fitting sports sunglasses elude you year after year, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup called Skelmet may have the answer.

Skelmet announced the launch of an Indiegogo campaign to create, print and distribute Falcon 1 3-D Printed Sport Sunglasses, the first in what the company hopes will be a large line of custom-printed sports sunglasses, helmets and other head-worn products.  “Our goal for creating the company is to completely eliminate the notion of ‘sizes,’” says COO Rain Wang in an interview on “[With] 7.4 billion unique people, there should be 7.4 billion unique sizes.”

How They Work

To create sunglasses with the ideal fit, users first scan their own head and face using Skelmet’s smartphone app. The app analyzes 86 key points on the person’s head and creates a design based on their unique facial structure, according to a press release. The automatic mass customization software then translates the 3-D head scan into custom 3-D printed glasses.

Lightweight Glasses, Low-Cost Distribution

The company uses an EOS P1103D printer to print the glasses from nylon plastic powder, creating frames that weigh just 17 grams, 30 percent lighter than the lightest frames on the market. The glasses are fitted with Essilor anti-fogging lenses to complete the package.

Skelmet can keep shipping and production costs down by printing the glasses locally, in stores or kiosks where they are sold. This means vastly reduced overhead, with no expensive production plants or manufacturing facilities.

Plans for the Future

Skelmet, a portmanteau formed from “skeleton” and “helmet,” originally set out to create custom helmets in order to prevent head injuries during action sports. “The fit of your head-worn product can be the difference between life or death when you are involved in an accident,” Wang told However, the company soon realized it’s challenging for a startup to customize mass quantities of helmets, so it turned to sunglasses as its first project. Initially, the company will offer only one model, the Falcon 1 sport sunglasses, with funding from Indiegogo. But Skelmet’s long-term goals are bigger than just custom 3-D-printed shades. ““We are building the world’s largest customization platform with the largest 3-D head scan database,” concludes Wang.

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