Mica Sunglasses

Muscovite Optics

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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.

As of 7/17/19 a third usable prototype has been produced, next step after further design revisions is to print a metal version and make a limited edition. Ask about it.

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.


Test 3D print, no nose bridge (this will be a fitting model) hinges use spring wire, not sure if it will work yet.

3dm - 4.47 MB - 06/11/2019 at 19:53



Reference for casting requirements.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 3.37 MB - 06/06/2019 at 20:23



1:15 of work. Not usable, will need to go to prior version and make changes. Only for reference.

3dm - 8.78 MB - 05/26/2019 at 21:49


Mica sheets and Disks.pdf

I ordered he 15x15mm sheets of both V1 and V2 quality.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 435.89 kB - 05/23/2019 at 00:55



First complete frame, not exactly the best design. Uses a leaf spring to allow for a range of mica thicknesses.

3dm - 2.20 MB - 05/23/2019 at 00:53


  • North Focals

    David Troetschel5 days ago 3 comments

    John Cecil and I went to the North pop-up-shop today to demo the Focals.

    First contact

    The inspection



    I had a lot of trouble seeing the screen until I tried on John's pair and got it calibrated. There is very little perspective, but colors look good. Refresh rate seems okay? I noticed some strobe effect, but mainly as the eye looks around.

    Definitely looks better from the side.

    Scanner for sizing:

    After some processing, a 3D model for sizing. They had me wear a head band to keep stuff away from my ears.

    Huge charging case.

    Tortoise shell frames:

    Lots of people stopped to ask questions:

    Overall; we both agreed that as much as these really seem to work, they're not quite there yet. At-least for me, I think that only true AR or spatial computing will convince people to make the jump. $600USD+ is a too much for what is really just a perceived .25" see through smartphone or smart-watch screen. I did try to access the language learning app, which was thankfully easy to find and activate.... but, it took too long to boot (over five minutes) so I had to give up. The pop-ups were pretty distracting, maybe more-so than a normal phone even. The controller was surprisingly easy to use. Other people might not see the display but they will definitely notice some weird eye movement. John noticed that the projector got a little warm during use, but it seemed within normal limits. Knowing the realities of producing something like this, the price is probably fair while something like Magic Leap is actually under-priced. Considering the market; North is probably safe for now, but as more products come out North will have to expand their devices functionality or suffer getting left behind.

    Following photos are from John Cecil:


  • Completion of third prototype

    David Troetschel6 days ago 0 comments

    The end result:


    Linear build process:

    Sanded frames

    Cleared arm pivots and test painted, then painted.

    Went with dark green.

    Then the lens assembly:


    Following two images are with same lighting, but variation in polarization.

    Finally putting that HdP to use haha.

    I'm still working on the arm design, thankfully it's easy to work with.

    Ended up lengthening the arms.

    I ended up tweaking the arms a lot, ended up drawing them into an arch.


  • Third Prototype Production

    David Troetschel07/13/2019 at 15:24 0 comments

    The third prototype printed successfully.

    I had to dissolve support overnight.

    The resolution is still pretty terrible, but it'll work. I just have to do a bunch of post processing.

    Lots of sanding:

    More sanding of the interior surfaces needs to be done.

    I need to buy wire of the correct gauge and quality, superglue and I need to print off the lens templates (forgot again while I was at work!)

    Then I can assemble the model.

  • Prototype 3

    David Troetschel07/10/2019 at 21:42 0 comments

    The new prototype; Stapler.

    I recorded my design work. Two parts.

    Part two:

    Change nose-pad shape. DONE

    Open up arm wire diameter to 1.6mm+ DONE

    Extrude half blind input by: .6mm (proportional to edge of arm support expansion. DONE .6mm

    Eliminate arm-notch:  <Switch to staple design> DONE


    Prototypes take an hour on average to process using current printer. Too slow.

    Lens fitting and orientation is all done manually right now.

    Only way to speed that up is with expensive tooling.

    Goal: limited release in about 4 weeks.

    Note; this is part two of this video, I needed to think about a design decision and to switch to no audio for a bit.

    I have decided to go with a staple type arm, I will completely remake the arm supports so that the arm cannot flail outwards. I’ll make an illustration after showing the model. Here we go.

    Running low on ram.

    Not filleting any further, makes more sense to do by hand.

  • Second Prototype Assembly

    David Troetschel07/09/2019 at 23:01 0 comments

    First; a video of the end result.

    I gathered supplies:

    Then sanded the frame.

    Then drilled out the holes for the arms:

    Then traced out the lenses:

    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.

    Lined up.

    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)

    I'll get additional photos later.

  • Second prototype

    David Troetschel07/09/2019 at 15:26 0 comments

    Print took about half an hour, but we rounded up. Price came out to $5.90 on a Stratsys Dimension in Gray ABS.

    I really don't like the quality of this printer and material. Looking forward to getting it done on a form 2 or 3.

    The nose bridge is still a little too narrow for me, but is a little too big for my partner.... so I need to figure that out. I'm going to fit lenses and arms later today.

  • Prototype and Design Update

    David Troetschel07/05/2019 at 18:55 0 comments

    I printed a prototype of the frames.

    A couple of immediate problems:

    -I was too conservative with the frame thickness, but not width.

    -Lens inset was too shallow.

    -Arm pivots were too small.

    -After scaling the arm pivots, I choked the arm size to .75D

    -Extended the arm stops.

    -Extended the interior of the contact rotation point for arms.

    <Note: Hinges are donated from model 10, scaled up.

    So; the new design:

    Error in scale up, fixed.

    There is a small error in the pivot support still, but its not worth fixing at this time. Arms are still the spring type, not sure if it'll actually work.

  • Retrofit Attempt and Next Steps

    David Troetschel06/25/2019 at 21:41 0 comments

    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.

    And one from the motorcycle trip...

    And as an attempt:


    old version.

  • Vacation

    David Troetschel06/21/2019 at 14:44 0 comments

    I went on a last minute vacation to ride the MABDR before I start a job at my local maker space, hence the lack of project updates.

  • Larger Mica and Polarization

    David Troetschel06/12/2019 at 01:12 0 comments

    The large mica samples came in, and they are beautiful.

    Keep in mind that 10 of the V-1 mica costs $60 where the same size and number of V-5 Quality costs only $15. I'll compare the two.

    And linear polarization film.

     Here is the V5 mica, it is very clear actually although a little darker than the V1 and it feels... heavier and thicker. But samples vary, so that might not be universally true.

    Make a sandwich and....

    Ooooh, double polarized.

    Single polarized sheet and V5 mica. Not as impressive but enhances curious things, the sky and highlights.... More restrained but beautiful all the same.

    The V5 has spots or something, definitely darker. It seems to work just the same and does fine overall and is much cheaper, I don't feel bad bending this stuff and whatnot.

    The V1 is stunning, so clear yet it reflects light like a mirror too, you can see the window behind me! Incredible stuff. But at $60 for ten..... You make the call.

    Size of sheet next to some glasses.

    Single V5.

    Polarizer then V5 single.

    Polarized sandwich, V5 mica in the center.

    The first frame test print is coming along....

    And a video to top off the experience:

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Yisma'el Shareef-Trudeau wrote 06/18/2019 at 22:33 point

Polarization capablity looks like it could be a potential luminaire component. Might be a cool follow up project to make a lighting fixture with a non-halogen light source since heat resistance is an issue. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

David Troetschel wrote 06/21/2019 at 14:48 point

Micas high heat resistance would actually make it an excellent material for close proximity to a high heat source like a light-bulb. Mica lamp shades are actually somewhat common, made of a composite of shellac and mica flake.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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