3D Printing, also called additive manufacturing, is a means of manufacturing where raw material is combined through various methods to create a final solid object. Traditional types of manufacturing usually involve subtractive methods, such as drilling, sawing, milling, etc. Where subtractive manufacturing produces scrap during the creation of the final part, additive manufacturing essentially uses the scrap and builds up the final part.
Trade Shades stems are printed using fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology. This process involves heating up a material (plastic in our case) and precisely laying down the molten material on a platform ("printing"). The material is continuously layered and cools, forming the final object.
Part of the aesthetic appeal of Trade Shades is that if you look closely at the stems, you can see the individually printed layers that make up the solid components of the glasses. Each pair of Trade Shades will be unique beyond the custom lettering as the layers of plastic will have slight variations.
Trade Shades components are very durable and are composed of robust plastic. These glasses can handle normal wear and some drops and falls, but if you step on them, they will break.
Expect increased user design functionality and more fronts, colors, and lens options in the near future!