Consumer goods can range from basic necessities such as food, to durable products such as cars or electronic devices. Many of these products are sold to a final consumer who is looking for a product that suits them and fits their desires.
And the modern manufacturing methods that help offer customisation options for consumer goods include 3D printing & 3D scanning. In some cases, it even allows the consumer to participate in the creation of the final object – for example, in the shoe industry, a sneaker is created from 3D scans of the wearer’s feet.
Thanks to additive manufacturing technology such as 3D printing, the consumer goods sector can offer custom-made products that are also more efficient, comfortable, aesthetic, and practical. This is where the added value of these technologies lie: by improving the functionality of the product while respecting the needs of the end consumer.
Here are some examples in key industries such as textiles, footwear, eyewear and cosmetics.
Glasses Customised to Customer’s Faces and Tastes
One of the most exciting customisations that 3D scanning & printing allows when it comes to consumer goods is being able to tailor a product to one’s body. In the eyewear industry, customising your own eyeglasses or sunglasses with 3D printing means that, with a scan of your face, you can create a custom, one-of-a-kind frame.
The German company Youmawo offer this technology. The eyewear manufacturers 3D scan the customer’s face to collect biometric data, then, using software, the customer can virtually try on the glasses and choose from a range of colour and design options for the frames, before the chosen glasses are 3D printed. The advantage of using additive manufacturing in this area is to obtain a product in a short time, with more complex designs and lighter, stronger materials.
3D Printed Shoes
When it comes to shoes, the first thing to remember is the uniqueness of each foot, as well as the importance of wearability and comfort. This is where 3D scanning & printing comes in, allowing shoes to be personalised – and there are already some examples that prove how important this is for our feet!
For example, a group of Spanish students at the Elisava School of Design designed the Athos climbing shoe, which offered amateur and professional climbers better performance and comfort, taking into account the wearer’s specific needs. Also in classical dance, Act’ble released a shoe made by 3D printing. The idea was to transform ballet shoes, which already break down quickly, from a disposable product to a sustainable and durable shoe while catering to the wearer’s individuality. In the field of insoles, Wiivv and Dr. Scholl, the market leader in foot care, achieved a breakthrough with their smartphone app. Here, customers can 3D scan their foot directly from home and then order a 3D-printed personalised insole that has been measured from 400 data points on their feet.
3D-Printed Clothing Offers Unique, High-End Pieces
Fashion is an industry known for quirky pieces and a constant strive for originality among designers and consumers alike. With the popularity of ‘fast fashion’ and overconsumption, 3D printing can provide an alternative. Both parties can use the technology to assert their creative individuality in the fabrication of unique items.
Also available are 3D-printed dresses based on scans of the customer’s body. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York offers a 3D-printed design, known as the ‘Kinematics Dress’. After the customer’s body is scanned, the fabric is digitally tessellated onto the body and formed into a dress using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) of flexible nylon. In this way, the garment can be made according to the customer’s aesthetic desires and body proportions.
3D Technologies in Cosmetics
One sector where you might not expect to see the presence of 3D technologies is cosmetics. Dior turned to 3D scanning to help each customer get the right skincare. This was done through a device named the Eve V, which allowed each person to get an individual analysis of their skin, including measurements for things like skin sag, eye bags and wrinkles. This analysis was then used to determine the appropriate skin care regime (focusing on the two largest skin problems) with the help of AI. This degree of personalisation to each user, is only possible with 3D scanning.
(Adapted from an original 3D Natives article.)