Rebecca Minkoff x Normal Rose Gold Earphones

in Interviews

A few months ago, Formlabs had an idea: Is it possible to make earphones out of precious metals using Formlabs’ Castable Resin, a favorite amongst designers and artists?

We connected with Nikki Kaufman, founder and CEO of Normal, the NYC-based maker of tailor-made, premium headphones, and a collaboration was born. Not only was it possible to use Castable Resin to make earphones, Nikki was able then to quickly establish a partnership with fashion powerhouse Rebecca Minkoff to launch limited edition 3D printed custom Rose Gold earphones.

Through the end of December 2015, Rebecca Minkoff stores as well as Normal’s Flagship store in NYC will carry the product, just in time for the holiday season. Made with high-quality components and a customized fit, these earphones offer an extremely precise delivery of sound, resulting in an exceptional listening experience.

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We caught up with Nikki to learn more about Normal, about the exclusive Rebecca Minkoff x Normal earphones, and how the company uses 3D printing technology to mass produce a consumer product.

All of the Rebecca Minkoff x Normal earphones are custom-made for each person’s ears? How does that work?
Yes. The Rebecca Minkoff x Normal earphones are fully personalized for each individual’s ear, engineered, and printed with Formlabs’ 3D printer.

We start by taking three photos of each person’s ear as no two are alike. This takes about just two minutes and can be done in the store via an app. The earphones are then engineered to fit each individual ear and are 3D-printed using Fomlabs’ Castable resin and the Form 1+ at our NYC factory. The earlocks are cast in brass and plated in 14K rose gold and delivered in as little as 48 hours.

Why use 3D printing?
We are one of the first companies to use 3D printing to mass produce a consumer product, changing the rules of American manufacturing. Formlabs gave us the capability to experiment with new product endeavors. Because Formlabs' 3D printer user experience was so straightforward, we are able to focus on developing the product.

We use 3D printing to personalize the fit of each pair of earphones. The earphones are engineered to fit each individual ear and fully customized for each person. The personalized fit allows a more precise delivery of sound. Whether you’re walking, running, working out, or simply relaxing, the personalized fit also means the earphones will stay comfortably in place.

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Without 3D printing, the development of the Rebecca Minkoff x Normal earphones would have been neither sustainable nor scalable. Getting custom-made earphones traditionally requires an exhaustive process that involves a visit to the doctor’s office, uncomfortable silicon molds, a three week wait, and a $2,000 price tag. Together with Formlabs, Normal was able to quickly prototype, develop, and launch a product that is completely unique at a truly affordable price.

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