Razor company Gillette hasn’t been a successful business for over a hundred years by resting on its laurels. The company, known for its “The Best a Man Can Get” slogan, has innovated over the years, introducing the first disposable razor, the iconic Gillette Blue Blade and the first three-blade razor, to name but a few. Most recently, the company introduced a new range of razors featuring customizable 3D printed handles.
Working in collaboration with 3D printing company Formlabs, Gillette has introduced the Razor Maker project, which enables customers to order custom 3D printed handles for their Gillette razor. According to the company, the razors are one of the “first examples of direct-to-consumer, end-use 3D printed parts.”
In any event, it is the first time that Gillette has utilized 3D printing for end-use production, as the company had previously only used the technology for prototyping.
The Razor Maker project is an interesting one. The handles designed by Formlabs and Gillette are all complex, visually interesting and adhere to the razor manufacturer’s ergonomic standards. Will the 3D printed razor give you a smoother shave? Probably not. Will you look cooler shaving? Most definitely.
The razor handles themselves were inspired by nature, architecture and technology. Notably, each design could not be manufactured using a process other than additive manufacturing. “It allows us to think about form in a way that was never possible before,” commented Rory McGarry, industrial design lead at Razor Maker. “In a traditional sense, we could only do one or two razor designs a year, whereas now we can have an idea, create it in 3D, print it, look at it, adjust it, and say that’s it.”
In addition to the media attention Gillette is getting for its 3D printed razors, the company also hopes that by offering customizable products (in terms of design and colour), that its clients will feel more connected to the brand.
Presently, the Razor Maker project is in its pilot stage. Customers who are part of the project can order their custom razor handles via the Razor Maker website, choosing from 48 different designs, a range of colours and even opting for custom text. The handle is then converted into a 3D printable file and sent (along with other handle models) to a Form 2 3D printer to be printed in a single batch. Once the printing is done, the batch of handles are washed, post-cured , coated, assembled and shipped to the client.
“Our partnership with Formlabs, and the power of their 3D printers, enable consumers to have a say on how their razors should look. We are excited to work with our Boston neighbors to pilot this breakthrough concept of customization,” said Donato Diez, global brand manager for Gillette and Razor Maker co-founder.
As part of their collaboration, Gillette is also working with Formlabs to test and evaluate its Form Cell technology. In fact, the razor company is one of the first to test Form Cell and is experimenting with the automation of the 3D printing process.
Diez concluded: “For Gillette, piloting Razor Maker represents a crucial step in our customization journey where new technology and new business models must come together in order to deliver products that are as unique as our consumers.”