Making or modifying eyeglass frames

Does anyone have any references for how to create or modify eyeglass frames? I have a couple of very hard and nice looking sapphire crystal rounds from very expensive projector lights that I would love to make into a set of hi-tech John Lennin glasses. Any tips? Links? Instructables I missed? I know I could probably cajole an eyeglass place, but want to do this on the super cheap. Thanks!

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philsouth2 years ago

The problem I have hit is that the wire for metal eyeglass frames is a U-groove or V-groove shaped wire, and the glass fits into the groove. It's very hard to get that wire in small quantities, smallest amount I can find is 500Kg for $7 a kilo which is way more than I need :) I suppose the trick is to buy a handful of cheap wire frame glasses and repurpose the frame temple and hinges and reshape and rebraise the whole thing. My project is to make Victorian style Double-D sunglasses, which are heinously expensive not to mention fragile. I also had a harebrained scheme to make them in my prescription, but that's crazy talk. To have them custom made costs about $600.

Instead of wire, could you find thin metal strip? You could lay it on a relatively soft surface (MDF, leather) and press a sharp edge into the strip to bend it into the groove you need.

Dartania3 years ago

I have a similar question, but I know the parts you're looking for. I wear prescriptions and am planning on making Lenin frames or medieval frames and having them filled. I don't have design pictures yet, but here's a description:

Needed: Wire 20~18 gage and 16 gage, sheet metal to make hinges and closure, soldering equipment, 2 small machine screws and matching nuts, circular mandrel the size of the lenses, cutters files and other standard metal working stuff, knowledge/experience in metal work, something to cover the temples and nose if the metal irritates your skin. The gage is negotiable; the screw sizing is described later.

Lens holders: You need a groove for the lenses. In your case, you can file the edge of the lens so that it fits in the groove you make. To make the lens part, wrap the wire around the mandrel so you have four circles of equal size. Solder two of the rings together so that the groove is always centered. Alternatively, solder the wire together first and size them after. DO NOT solder the lens rings closed. I don't know how to match the grooves, sorry.

Closure/Hinges: take the sheet metal and curl it so that the 16ga does not fit through. Alternatively, you could flatten the wire temples, but that wouldn't look as pretty. You should have four cylinders, each no more than a quarter of an inch tall. The shorter it is, the more skill shown. You can solder these closed. Also, solder one to each side of the opening of each lens frame.

Temples: Two steps: First, file down the end of the 16ga temples. Then cut the head off the screws which should fit through the cylinders easily(The nuts should not). Solder the screw threads onto the filed end so that it looks like you made a thread in the wire. At this point, you should be able to slide the lens into the holder, put the temple through the hinge, put the nut on, and it should hold the lens securely. You can bend the temple as you want, add decoration to it, etc. You can even change the temples depending on mood if you want to put that much time into it.

Nose bridge: Another spot of creativity. You can shape this pretty much any way you want. You can add nose bud arms, make a form - fitting rest, make a wire butterfly even! Possibilities are endless. Solder the nose wire to the lens holders (while the lenses aren't there, of course). And make sure that comfort is kept in mind.

Good luck!

Sorry. I just realized that this question was six years ago. You've probably already done the job. I'm not deleting the post, though. Because others might find it useful.

Bran9 years ago
IIRC, Instructables HQ (otherwise known as Squid Labs) invented an eyeglass former that makes lenses quickly and cheaply. I doubt they'd let you in on their secret, though. Sorry I can't be of more help.
homba (author)  Bran9 years ago
I'm looking more for how to make frames - I already have some cool lenses. Thanks, though!
pecman homba8 years ago
Great site. Brian Adam is a jeweller who specializes in eyewear and low tech casting. He runs frequent workshops - Australia, NZ,USA and Canada(I think).
rachel8 years ago
Hey did you ever make these? How'd you do it?
homba (author) 9 years ago
Hmm, these might look good. Anyone have ideas on how they were done? Looks like some planed down board, a coping saw to rough it out and them some carving. I wonder how strong they would be?
jtobako homba9 years ago
Standard carving-cut profiles, carve or sand down details. Lenses can be set like windows, with the larger hole in the back where the lens goes in and a small strip of putty or wood to hold the lens in place. Zebra wood is fairly hard, and the grain was chosen to be durable. Maybe a little less durable than plastic frames.
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