Wallfacer Design is making glasses which use mica as the lens versus glass or a plastic.
Mica has unique optical and physical properties.
As much of the design process and reasoning between choices will be shown as possible.
Most design work is completed in Rhino.
This page will document the process and provide insights into pursuing similar results yourself.
Right now the goal is to make a pair of mica sunglasses, there are some important factors and more tertiary details.
-Frame(s) should be able to support a variety of thicknesses of mica, and potentially glass.
-Not for safety purposes, although mica does have some unique properties.
-Mica must not flake with regular use (most likely a bigger problem when not on your face.)
-Intended market will be Tindie and local boutique stores. (If interested, reach out!)
-As much manufacturing as possible will happen in the tri-state region. (Know a local place which can cast titanium on a turnkey basis?)
-Try to keep the price reasonable, maybe a sliding scale?
-Frames should be able to be modified and adapted for a range of sizes yet robust.
-Outsource labor as much as possible.
My personal budget for this project is arbitrarily around $500.
This is a Wallfacer Design project.
Thank-you: Electron Microscopy Sciences of Hatfield PA, ......
Right now it seems like I will make at-least three separate models: A single (or up to triple mica), single polarization and double polarization. Each has very unique properties.
I determined the correct interaction angles. (Secret sauce)
And then cut out the polarizing film first, in the future this should really get either stamped or lasercut out. At the very least I should print out the lens guide.
I checked the fit of the polarized film.
Then I cut out the mica using the same template. The particular sample I was using was rather thick so I had to make relief cuts and there was some delamination.
Then check combined fitment; the frame was a little springy so I had to relieve pressure before laminating. Note that the lens pockets are half blind and not deep enough at the time of this design, works for now though.
Clean and assemble.
Applying glue and weighting into place.
I measured and then starting bending the wire to shape of the arms.
While I was trying to fit the arms I ended up tearing out the pivots, so I just ended up wrapping the wire and doubling back to make a joint. It doesn't really flex so no folding.
And for some not so great selfies: (my remote was acting weird, probably low battery)
This post will meander quite a bit; I got back from my trip safely and have started working on this project again. I also started a new job at a local maker space, one of my job perks is the usage of their space.
The access to a shop again is rather good timing since I need to start producing prototypes, hopefully good looking prototypes.
My attention has been diverted by thinking about sales channels and the like too early as well, for now I plan to sell through boutiques, Tindie and.... that's it.
I'm working on a website for Wallfacer Design and likely the main page will just be a huge teaser for this project. Don't expect a typical website.
On the trip I brought along the mica and polarizers and offered them to several people. The reception was interesting, people are definitely interested in them as a novelty at the least but can see greater potential. One of the most difficult aspects I can see is that people want options. Right now there are essentially three lens configurations; mica, mica single polarized, mica double polarized. There are a couple ways to deal with this, but first lets consider finances. Right now I am only going to produce one design (in multiples.) After that batch has sold the money will be used to produce another design, in addition to the previous, and so on.
Now going back to the variety problem; since I have three configurations (for now) So when it comes to design there are multiple possible routes:
-Go with the most original or risky design, only one of them. (this would be casting metal around the mica, no polarized filters.)
-Make one design for factory setting, snap in lenses.
-Make one modular design, allow user swap of lenses and stacks. (this will have a more... utilitarian look likely. Although I am still a fan of the leaf spring design, just not near the eyes!)
From there I would probably make option specific designs with an option for custom orders as available.
To add to the fun, both polarization options have VLT visible light transmission as an option too. This value will have to be hand tuned for quite some time before equipment can be bought to verify production quality. (see previous post on $600 investment)
Either way, at this moment things are fairly conservative while I make some decisions.
My current thinking is that I make a 3D Print of a design with no holes drilled and the lenses filled in with dummy material at the desired thickness. From there I will make a urethane mold, I will have to be careful around the lenses since they will likely be swept and I need the parting line to match up. I'll probably just have to make a three part mold where I suspend the model, then tilt to the lens angle and pour, then inverse tilt to cast the other lens support then top off. From there I can pour in wax and then metal cast or I can just use resin to test. Extra note: the casting sprues should be located in the spring arm recess for current design as of this posting.
As an aside, I've noticed that nearly all lenses are swept AND curved. Mica... is flat FLAT!!!! Sooooo flat.
So I wonder what that will mean down the line.
I went to NYC with my partner to see Neal Stephenson a couple weeks ago, I looked for interesting forms for this project while there.
I somewhat impulsively chopped up part of a V5 sample to try and fit in an existing frame, turns out the recesses are very precise so... doesn't fit just right. I'm going to have to take rubbings of the existing lenses and try again. This should also highlight a future note to self, always print a copy of the lens outlines true to scale for self made designs. Sorry, no photos of the process so far.
Using the lens explorer I made a frame which has integrated hinges, snap in lens tolerances, one degree sweep suitable for casting or rapid prototyping.
Since the lenses are flat I went for a straight sweep.
The lens templates and original hinge can be seen here. The hinge seemed much too small, I figure with a one millimeter wire the spring moment arm should be larger.
Connecting the pivots to the frame was tricky, and its still not quite right. Surfaces could use to be blended differently. There is no nose bridge right now since I haven't decided how I want to move forward with that. On one end I could just buy wire and gummy ones, or adhesive pads which go on the fin types... But then I have very little control, and I can't reliably get them local. I can't just say "screw nose support" because.... metal is cold usually and it would just be lazy. So I gotta figure that out. Hopefully this model helps make that decision.
Using an old stash of my Grey Pro 2 for the Form 2 printer... Ahem anyways i'm hopefully going to have a plastic frame on Thursday, going out of town tomorrow.