Making Meaning Matter

The Evergreen State College

Author: hulemm18


“According to Iriki and Sakura (2008, 2232) “it appeared that either the rake was being assimilated into the image of the hand or, alternatively, the image of the hand was extending to incorporate the tool.” (Malafouris, 165)

“Stone tools have given hominins a window onto a whole new set of skills and ways of thinking that allow for greater variation and flexibility.” (Malafouris, 169)

In reading chapter eight of Malafouris I drew some parallels between the study of the monkeys with the use of rakes as tools and the connections that my own brain began to make as we learned how to three-D print. “The image of the hand was extending to incorporate the tool” resonated with me, I could see that the image on the screen in front of me became my pottery wheel, the screen no longer isolated me from the project but drew me in, teaching me to ignore the separation of hand and embrace the connection between myself and the tool I was interacting with. In the same way that stone tools shaped the way that early hominins thought, the three-D printing software taught me a different way to approach problems. When creating a physical object with your hands, you start building one way and continue to build on top of that, with three-D printing software you can begin infinite different ways and at any time stop, restart, or go back to one certain point in your creations history. Three-D printing is a new way that technology will start to challenge hominins minds, and even now they are changing the way that we think.

Emmas CST Observations week 9

“An issue has arisen-” Sammy loved the third-person passive voice ta dominated corporate meetings. Like the issue had arisen all on its own, spontaniously.” 365

This last week in class has been full of spontaneous error, things happening for no reason at all and troubleshooting for final projects. We learned how to translate the digital to the physical. Imputing our designs into tinkerCAD and finding the weight, print time and dimensions of our prints. Issues are bound to arise when using any kind of technology, when I was trying to find he weight of my print I had an issue with putting my item into the makerware software. Arlen and I had to sit and rotate and move my item about 15 times before it would input successfully into makerware. It was no fault in my design and no fault in the printer, it was just an arbitrary issue that was wrong and could only be solved by simple trial and error.

Making Seeing Matter Iteration #4

ray ban glasses

Rayban printable paper sunglasses cutout

When I first approached my project I started out using tinkerCAD blind. I drew two half circles and cut some eye holes out of them and pressed print. Needless to say they did not look good on anyone’s face. I worked for awhile on tinkerCAD struggling with the limitations of an additive-subtractive polygon based sculpt tool, glasses need clean curves and delicate lines in order for them to not be cumbersome on the face. My glasses started looking much more professional once we learned adobe illustrator, and the best moment was when I found Rayban cut out paper sunglasses online so that I could completely copy the shape of the frames on adobe illustrator and put the .svg into tinkerCAD. My hope was to use 123D design to fillet the corners of the glasses, making them more of a curved shape than square frames but something about my file made it not work on 123D design. The most challenging part of creating glasses using a digital modeling platform was how hard it was for me to create good looking curves. No matter what software I used it was always challenging for me to create sleek looking glasses, which is in part why I think glasses look so blocky and square on the downloadable pairs from thingiverse. If I had more time with the project I would want to troubleshoot some of the problems that I have had with my model, creating glasses that function and can be downloaded and used is a really powerful thing. My hopes for my project are simple, I want to print out my last iteration of my glasses, and once I confirm that they will print I will upload my design to thingiverse so that anyone can use and improve upon my model.

Model: 7g Print time:~35 min  FRAMES X:26.92mm Y:87.25mm Z:5mm ARM X:20mm Y:81.50 Z:5mm

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Emma’s CST Observations week 8

Once such a concept is revealed to us by way of a definition capable of identifying and distinguishing this concept from others, the unknown word is immediately transformed from a meaningless sound or letter arrangement into a meaningful entity. (Malafouris, 96)

The concept of three-D printing was once a new and unfamiliar concept, one that some people in the class thought that they would never be able to master. To quote Ben Russell from our artist lecture series, “Everything starts as something you don’t understand.” Learning something new opens up whole new worlds of areas of interest, of mastery, and of possibility. At first we saw printing as something intimidating, something easy to learn and hard to master, but really, the only way to grow and broaden your horizons is to open the door and go through. Learning anything new is always a challenge but the hardest part is accepting that you don’t fully understand something yet but you want to know.

Emma’s Blue Rabbit Iteration #3



(Emma) Image history of bifocals


(Emma) TinkerCAD screenshot of 2nd iteration


(Protos) Advertisement for 3D printed frames


(Rao) If a simple scan of your face can be taken, then ideally you could customize your frames online alongside your face


(Emma) 123D catch glasses frame scan screenshot


(Emma) 1st iteration of glasses frames next to similar bought frames


(Emma) All iterations of frames that I’ve printed


When exploring my topic in photos I started out with the history of bifocals through visual images. I thought that It would be important to understand all of the different styles and shapes that glasses frames have taken on throughout history if I am to ‘reinvent’ the way frames are made in the future. After this I attempted to create some three-D printed frames without any help from already made frames ( I was basically trying my first printed iteration blind). The outcome was a set of frames that were blocky and unflattering, strikingly geometric next to some bought frames. My next step was to take multiple images of a pair of bought glasses frames and use the scan as a building block to help keep the printed glasses sleek but also alter them to the shape of your face. The three-D images didn’t successfully scan so my next step is to scan the frames with the Kinect and to work on making some frames customized to my face. This iteration helped me look at the history of glasses as well as look critically at what I have produced already in order to move froward and produce something better.

Works Cited
3D printed frames alongside bought frames, In Home. Personal photograph by author. 2014.
3D scan attempt, 123D Catch Screencap. Personal photograph by author. 2014.
All iterations of frames that I’ve printed, In Home. Personal photograph by author. 2014.
Image of history of bifocals, Photoshop. Personal photograph by author. 2014.
Protos three-D printed eye wear advertisement. Digital image. 3D PrintedEyewear Protos Launched Crowd-funding Campaign. 3ders- 3D Printerand 3D Printing News, 30 July 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <>
Rao, B. J. Textured scan of bearded man. Digital image. EDN. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.
TinkerCAD screencap, TinkerCAD. Personal photograph by author. 2014.

CST Observations Week 7

How has the significance of three-D scanning changed as the class has continued with their pursuit of three-D printing objects?

It was interesting this week in class to watch John take a three-D scan of Zev in front of the class. Scanning is something that so many people in class have expressed to be a very intimate understanding between scanner and subject of the implication of taking a complete image of ones body, and here we are, with 30+ students’ gaze on this process. The openness of this action demonstrates the comfort that all of my peers have with one another. In week seven I have noticed the importance that three-D scanning has taken in everyone’s project. Even my own project has now grown to include three-D scanning in order to simplify the modeling process of glasses frames. The act of three-D scanning in class demonstrates the importance of this technology as well, with three-D scanning being the yin to three-D printing’s yang.

Emma’s CST observations week 6

How can we better address the similar problems that we all are all coming across during the our sixth week of class?

I have noticed that there are some issues that all of us are starting to face in the finishing portions of our tinkerCAD work. Things like clips, hinges, and male/female plugs are without a doubt the hardest part about creating with the three-D printer. I am still having troubles with the hinges for my glasses frames, and other students around me seem to be having similar problems to solve. Grant is making maraca shakers and would like to have the bottom clip into the top so he can add beads, but needs it to hold steady when someone is using it. All these little complex problems can become huge problems when three-D printing. Working together in specified groups or more peer-assisted lab work could help keep our projects successful and our troubleshooting to a minimum.

Emma’s Iteration #2: Pushing back, Regaining creative power

We exist in a world full of corporate greed and global monopolies, everywhere you look there are conglomerates that are cornering the market and setting prices, all it takes is a small amount of research to uncover what is really going on all around us. At the start of my blue rabbit project I found out almost immediately that the leading supplier of eyewear in the global market is a company called Luxottica. At 65 million pairs of glasses produced in one year, and ½ a billion people around the world wearing Luxottica products every day (Luxottica) you would think that this would be a household name; which lead me to ask the question “Why have I never heard of this company?” There is a simple answer, it is because Luxottica designs and produces sunglasses and optical frames for countless brands across the world. Brands such as Tiffany, Ray Ban, Chanel, Gucci, and even Sunglass Hut all are supplied and/or owned by Luxottica. (Beaumont)

This has a direct correlation to what you pay out of pocket when you break your trusty frames. Ten years ago glasses from a local frame maker/optician would cost about thirty dollars; now with the market cornered you are paying hundereds of dollars for frames with the same material cost as ever.  The have a stronghold on the market, affecting anyone in the optical field. If you make glasses you want them to be in their stores, and if you own a store you want their products in them so you can provide your customers with what they may want to buy. Oakley brand sunglasses had a dispute with Luxottica about pricing, resulting Lux. Brand not carrying Oakley sunglasses in any of their chains. This resulted in the stock value in Oakley dropping drastically, and finally Luxottica buying out the brand from under them when their company was weak. (Luxottica) Power like this will go unchecked until something can challenge what they offer.

You may ask “What did Luxottica do that made the price of your frames change?” They took a medical device and through marketing and branding changed the perception from “nerdy” to “sleek.” Since JFK, every U.S. president has sported a pair of Ray Bans, associating power and prosperity with a brand. Ray Bans made movie appearances in the 80’s, like the iconic look of Tom Cruise in Risky Business. At that time another risky business was Ray Ban itself, which were dipping in the market and appearing in stores for 30 dollars. This was the perfect way for Luxottica to swoop in and save the day, buying up the company in 1999 and taking Ray Bans off the shelves for a year. No need to fret, they were back on the market soon enough, at inflated prices but with branding improvement.  They make glasses cool. Andrea Guerra said in a 60 Minutes interview with Barbara Walters about glasses frames, “It is one of the only objects that are 100% functional, 100% aesthetic, and need to fit your face for 15 hours a day.” (Luxottica)With a product that means so much to people’s lives, both in functionality and style, should we really trust one conglomerate to take care of all our optical needs?

With the availability and convenience of three-D printing now the public is beginning to have a louder voice, and the people are chiming out with a resounding “NO!” New websites are popping up all over the internet which is allowing people who don’t have the funds to start their own entrepreneurial ventures by simply creating video proposals of their pitch and uploading them to the sites. Crowdfunding, crowd financing, micro loans, hyperfunding and more are all new ways to describe this budding niche market. Only asking for 5% of the profits collected, these websites function on providing a place for inventors everywhere to ask for startup help without selling off shares of their delicate new industry.(Rushin) “Financial backers, which are armchair philanthropists of projects, put their trust in the project creators by providing cash in return for a promise of a future return. The return can be naming credits as with a film, a discount price of the develop item, or some insignificant benefit. “

Companies that were once crowdfunded ideas are now flourishing, selling their products and making a name for themselves in industries that were once impossible to elbow into. New manufacturers such as Protos Eyewear began just a few years ago with an idea, and a Crowdfunding website link. The founders of Protos were once all students of California College of the Arts, and now all of them have found an intrinsic role in the company. With Marc Levinson overseeing the company as CEO and visionary leader, John Mauriello as the CAD expert and design office, and Doug Ponciano as programming guru behind the customizable software, these three musketeers have changed the way running a company is approached.(Jovan) Unlike the way that Luxottica produces and ships glasses styles to various brand names, these three men are right in the thick of their company, innovating and improving the company every step of the way.

In the world of capitalism, bigger is always better. Bigger companies, bigger factories, and bigger workforce always equals a bigger profit. This model although prevalent in every industry seems to be unfit in the realm of eyewear. This is a profit driven system, not value driven, and when you are trying to provide something as important as optical equipment, value should always triumph over profit. This is the rational of Fetch eyewear, another customizable glasses company that can be found on the internet. They see that luxury eyewear is becoming outdated, boasting that they can provide quality and sophistication in their eyewear but not delivering the product. More and more companies are offering customization, but one thing I have yet to find online is customization, and the power to create coming from the consumer. (Sachs)

This is where my project will step in, with the use of a three-D scanner, such as one you can buy online, like Digisize (which comes with the scanner and the software)(Digisize) or a free Application for your smart phone such as 123d catch I would like to bridge the gap from ordering customized glasses from a provider and creating them yourself. Whether scanning a pair of glasses your friend has and tweaking them to fit the shape of your face, or scanning your whole head and completely fabricating your glasses yourself I want to help put your glasses frames back into your own hands.


Works Cited

Anon. “Is Luxottica Taking Over the World of Eyewear?” Beaumont Vision. Beaumont Vision, 21 Sept. 2012. Web. 01 Nov. 2014.

“DigiSize.” DigiSize. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2014.

Jovan, Jeremy. “Feature: Protos Eyewear | Idea Issue | Asterisk San Francisco Magazine.” Feature: Protos Eyewear | Idea Issue | Asterisk San Francisco Magazine. At Risk San Francisco, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

Luxottica- Do You Know Who Makes Your Glasses? Perf. Barbara Walters. 2013. Youtube. Youtube. 60 Minutes, 26 Oct. 2013. Web. 1 Nov. 2014.

Rushin, Gary. “Crowd Funding: Turnkey Financing Source for Entrepreneurs.” GaryRushincom RSS.,, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2014.

Sachs, Ann. “Why Buy Independent Optical | Fetch Eyewear.” Why Buy Independent Optical | Fetch Eyewear. Fetch Eyewear, 21 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

CST observations week 5

Vendors from the shantytown headed home and came back with folding tables and blankets. These guys were business people. They weren’t going to let the law stand in the way of putting food on the table for their families. (Doctorow, 216)

What will the motivation be that encourages my classmates and I to continue on our projects, even as some of our first iterations fail? In Doctorow’s book he describes the motivation of the street vendors being propelled by their families; businessmen who know that their continuation to sell is correlated with their families eating. The meaning that we have all found in our projects has begun to be the driving force in our class to continue working. My peers and I seem to think less of credits or class hours and more about workplace time and troubleshooting. For example from the first, to the second iteration, my glasses frames have improved but are still not the perfect fit for anyone’s face. I have this need to successfully print a pair of glasses that I made from the beginning to end, and like the vendors, there is nothing that is going to stop me.

CST Observation week 5

“What the hell do you get two guys who not only have everything, but can make everything” -Suzanne & Kettlewell

“The only way to make a glove this good would be to fab it and then give it to several generations of baseball players to love and use for fifty to a hundred years.”

The question Kettlewell and Suzanne had to ask themselves when looking for a present for Perry and Lester struck a chord with me. In this near future novel, practically everything that exists can be made and reproduced on the cheap. This got me thinking about our blue rabbit projects, the more love and ‘meaning’ that is put into every project the more value it will have. A persons project has a chance to carry generations of meaning if it lasts and can be used and reused, just as the old baseball mitts were so precious, because the love and meaning that each glove held, was much bigger than fabricating the glove its self.

Test citation

Suzanne, Lester, and Perry (Doctorow, 2010, 100)

Mark Hatch (Hatch, 2013, 300)



Doctorow, Cory. Makers. First Edition edition. New York: Tor Books, 2010. Print.

Hatch, Mark. The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers. 1 edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013. Print.

How can/has the world of three-D printing improved the way that customized glasses lenses are being approached and is there a way to cheaply bring customization to the masses?

cc0b286f2ae6177d43a5ce65a47c5677For my blue rabbit project I have decided to spend 8 weeks researching the cost and availability of custom glasses frames to the mid and lower classes as well as what it takes to three-D design and print frames without using a pre-made framework.

This idea is important because of the high cost of optical wear and the importance of functional glasses frames. If you go to a normal optometrists office to get new glasses you most likely will spend thirty minutes trying on glasses that you will wear for at least 2 years (The American Optometric Association recommends that non-senior adults and children over age 6 have regular eye exams a minimum of once every two years.) those glasses then will characterize your face for the rest of the time you wear them, and if you pay an obscene amount of money for a pair of glasses that don’t quite fit you right, you might end up not even wearing them, or paying more to find the right pair.

I have always had a hard time finding glasses that I thought I would actually wear every day, and when I have found “the one” pair they were always too expensive. Eye care is important and will degrade the more you ignore the problem, it can be frustrating when the only thing holding you back from getting the eye care you need is the high cost of frames. Buying lenses online, if you know your prescription, can be as low as 40 dollars, and if you customize your own frames (or scan in a pair that you want to print) you can cut down the cost of the frames to just the cost of materials.

Right now the monopoly on eyewear is controlled by Leonardo Del Vecchio at a net worth of 17.1 billion dollars, owner of Luxottica, which owns a slew of well-known brands such as Ray Ban, Persol, and Oakley. Luxottica also makes sunglasses branded Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Stella McCartney, Versace, Vogue, Miu Miu, Tory Burch, and Donna Karan. Leonardo is the 38th richest man in the world as of August 2014. Why must we trust this rich Italian fellow to produce all of our optical wear for us? Where else can we go?

Mykita is a berlin-based firm which has produced and patented their own process of creating three-D printed custom eye wear. In 2007 they made a polyamide-based material which uses selective laser sintering (SLS) to create a finished solid piece. With google-like ideals they call their workspace a ‘manufactory’ and have a specific vision for the aesthetic of the store. Adorned with white lights and smooth spaces each Mykita store has its own in-house optometrists who performs certified eye tests, generates customized optical profiles and adapts the frames and lenses to the wearer’s face in the store. It seems like the customized glasses seeker’s dream, right? At a whopping 400- 700$ there is a very limited amount of people who can actually afford Mykitas custom lenses.

There are many innovative techniques that are being utilized by eye wear designers, such as Tom Davies, who has been using three-D printing to print out prototype frames in store to ensure they will fit his customers’ correctly before he hand-crafts the custom frames from a more durable material such as bone.  Even in Silicon Valley entrepreneurs of the web are coming up with algorithms which can use two photos (portrait and profile) of your face and create the optimal glasses frames for the shape of your face. John Mauriello and Marc Levinson along with three other co-owners created Protos, a start-up company which is now offering custom frames to people who pledge ~500$.

This raises the question, “But where does that leave me?” as a college student with limited income and the opportunity to use a maker-bot, at least I don’t have to pay the fee to have Shapeways or iMaterialise print frames for me; but it also leaves me stuck counting on Thingiverse to have the fit I need. There is really no place with the option to customize glasses to your face online without paying a large fee and just handing it over for someone else to create. This quarter I want to find/use/or create a template where you can upload pictures of yourself onto an autoCAD program and use frame templates to create and morph the frames into exactly what you are looking for. Customization without all the useless fees.

“MYKITA – ABOUT.” MYKITA. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.


“Protos Eyewear.” Protos Eyewear. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.


Sharma, Rakesh. “Custom Eyewear: The Next Focal Point For 3D Printing?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 10 Sept. 2013. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.

“TD Tom Davies.” TD Tom Davies. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.

CST Field Notes Week 3

Suzanne asked, “What would Tjan say about this?” pg79

(Eventually Kettlewell gave her the answer) “How many millions? How much money do they have to spend?How do you know that any of us will make a single cent? Where is the market research? Was there any? Or did you just invite a hundered hobos to pitch their tent out front of my factory on the strength of your half-assed guesses?” pg86

Looking around the workshop this week at everyone’s individual project ideas and the research they are doing, something hit me. Not one person in the class is using their time to profit off of three-d printing. Not one artist (in a class full of artists) is using this opportunity to create multiple pieces of art to sell, but instead we are all using this time to create and research something to improve or build upon peoples lives. The importance of the blue rabbit project seems not to be in how successful our bankroll becomes but how enriched we can become just in the process of creating something of meaning.

Week One CST observations

Working in the 3d printing labs has been an exciting and new experience, I can already tell it will give my peers and I chance to learn with each other, build off of each other, and work together on projects. The way that the class is set up, with half of us observing and the other half working hands on with the program is an interesting way of approaching learning tinkerCAD. I can see that it will give some people the opportunity to learn by observation, and that in seeing the different things that you can create with the program they will get a better chance of thinking outside of the box and building from each others ideas. Sometimes I feel like all I want to do is the hands on work because I am naturally intuitive with autoCAD programs, but when I do get a chance to step back and take a look around the room I am glad I got the opportunity to see the amazing things my peers have done.

3D printing a double helix

3D printing a double helix