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Picture of Eyeglasses Hinge Replacement/Repair
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Hinges on prescription eyeglasses can be a tough fix. They are usually integrated right into the frame. On frames that are all metal, the hinges are soldered or machined as one piece with the rest of the frame. Alternatively, glasses with plastic frames have a metal hinge molded into the frame during the injection process, and like my wife's frames, these are near impossible to find as stand-alone items for purchase.

If your glasses break at the hinge, you are left with few options: Replace the entire set of glasses at a optometrist, Or replace the hinge with a functional substitute. These are the glasses my wife wears at night after her contacts come out, so appearance was not a factor - only utility. She did want them to remain fold-able so they could go back in their case for travel and storage.

I found out that I could perform the operation with a donor from the hardware store sold as a hinge for small wooden crafts.

Supplies Used:

          - Small Brass Hinge
          - Super Glue
          - Leatherman Pliers
          - BIC lighter

 
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Step 1: Hinge Removal

Removing the original hinge pieces took some thought. I knew if I could heat up the metal parts enough, the surrounding plastic which holds them in place would soften slightly and would allow the removal of the hinge parts.

First, I grabbed the portion of the metal hinge that protruded from the frame with a set of leatherman pliers. Of course, you could use any type of needle-nose pliers for this step. I wouldn't use a heavier set of pliers like lineman's pliers, because they will take longer to heat up. The pliers need to heat up enough so that they can start to transfer heat to the hinge which will start to soften the plastic that is holding it in.

I thought about using a different heat source, like a soldering iron, to heat the metal hinge but thought that would just add a step because I still would have to use something to grab the hinge after it was heated.

Second, I used a standard BIC style lighter to heat the tip of the pliers' jaws. Care was taken to not heat or burn the plastic directly.

Third, I stopped applying heat with the lighter about every ten seconds and pulled the plastic frame to see if it would release the hinge. It seemed to only take about 30 - 40 seconds to heat the hinge enough to release from the plastic.

Overall, this method worked just like I had hoped.

Step 2: Preparing The New Hinge

The new hinge is a small, decorative brass hinge sold for use on jewelry boxes or other small wooden crafts. The package came with two hinges and small brad nails, which will be saved for later projects. The brand is National with a part# V1810 , Size 5/8" x 2-3/4".

This hinge was chosen because, as you can see with my wife's frames, the 5/8" width is a good fit even though I had to cut the length down quite a bit.

I used the wire cutting portion of the leatherman's jaws. First I cut as far in as I could from one side, then cut from the other side, making an almost complete cut. Next, I used my hands to fold the two halves back and forth along the cuts to separate the two pieces. I used the leatherman because it was convenient. If you have the right tool, use it. The proper tool for this process would be any one of the following: tin-snips, shear, cut-off wheel, hack-saw, etc.

After cutting down the length on both ends of the new hinge, I started to bend the side of the hinge that would be attached to the lens side of the frames. The plastic had a curve that I needed to match with the new hinge so the glue that would have enough surface area to contact.

Step 3: Attaching The New Hinge

Picture of Attaching The New Hinge
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Once the hinge is trimmed, test-fit and cleaned, you can begin to glue the parts together. Even though the glue says it will hold to non-porous surfaces (like plastics) I still like to scuff the area to be glued and I did that on these glasses frames.

As a welder, I am fond of the following method for attaching two parts together: 1) Hold the parts together with pliers, 2) "tack" in one or two spots and continue to hold the parts until the "tacks" dry (15 seconds for super-glue), 3) remove pliers and glue the parts together entirely. The original (non-gel) super glue tends to wick nicely into the tiny gaps between the parts to be glued and I also made use of the holes that were already in the hinges as another glue location.

I glued the hinge to the lens side of the frame first as I knew the earpiece would be easier to adjust for the final alignment of the two parts. I noticed that for some reason if I lined up the earpiece to be level and symmetrical with it's counterpart while the glasses were open, it was slightly "off" when closed. I decided to leave it that way because the fit and comfort during use was more important than having them line up when closed.

After the hinge was fully glued and the glasses were one again, I set them aside so the glue could completely dry. I ended up leaving them for about 45 minutes before putting them in use.

Step 4: Finished

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After letting the glasses sit so the glue could dry, they were ready to go!

In a blind (or low-visibility) test, they function nearly the same as new. The hinge offers very little play and they fold nicely for storage.

The new hinge is an eye-sore, but is mostly hidden behind the brown plastic frames. After spending $1.00 on hinges, a little glue, and about an hour of my time, I am quite satisfied. More importantly, my wife thinks they're great and I have chalked up a few points for husband of the week.

Thank you for reading through this instructable and I look forward to any feedback or questions!
D money1 year ago

Thank you! This is a great idea.

criggie1 year ago

As a fellow four-eye I've bodged a couple of fixes in time.

Firstly, protect the lens at all costs. If you scratch the lens, or glue gets on the lens it might be knackered.

You can also colour in the hinge to make it less visible. Black enamel hobby paint is ideal.

Weight is also awkward in that just a few grammes difference can be felt by the wearer. On one fix I added some extra mass to the other side, just to balance things.

I've used wire to make a side-piece when one broke off. To protect the ear I covered it in heat-shrink. That pair is still in the car as my last-resort spares.

srudolph52 years ago
Great instructable. Very easy to follow. Now to get my husband to do the same for me ...
melody19812 years ago
The instruction is very useful!

But actually, the writer could find more beautiful replacement hinges here:

http://www.tailiglassesparts.com/assorted_eyeglass_hinges.html;

They supply nice riveting hinges for eyeglasses for repairing and designing.
with these hinges, the instruction becomes perfect.
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All I thought about while reading this is how much it must have sucked to do without glasses on.
budforum3 years ago
Nice Instructable. I did my repair before coming to Instructables, and the only variation in my method was cannibalizing a stronger hinge set from some cheaper glasses, and I used a glue alongside superglue called E-6000. Its amazing. Oh and another note to anyone thinking of attempting this: When superglue dries, it leaves white residue on the surrounding area. If your lenses are plastic, this will not come off. Keep superglue away from your lenses. Its safe to apply it to the arm side of the hinge though.
@askjerry
you're right about the hinges on cheaper glasses being of higher quality. I noticed this when i was searching for a replacement hinge.
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eyemesh3 years ago
Good work!

The only change I would suggest to anyone else attempting this is to use a cheap pair of pliers because heating the jaws in a flame could ruin the heat treating of the steel, softening the jaws and causing them to quickly wear out.
Rocker0074 years ago
Does this type of hinge snag or pull her hair?

Did you heat the part of the hinge you were tying to mold to the shape of the rim frame?

Have you tried to heat one of the brads, and then push it through the ear.temple?

I enjoyed your creative thinking very much. Another possibility for hinges would be radio control aircraft aileron hinges from a hobby store. Easy to mold those with a dab of transferred heat. And superglue would hold the 2 materials together very very well, and permanently, since it wicks well and it welds as opposed to glues.

I liked your heating the pliers tips and not heating the plastic directly.
Your welding skills showed you learned THAT lesson early. GOOD JOB!
Pamela4 years ago
Thank you. I'm going to favorite this one. I wish I'd known about this a year ago when my toddler ripped my glasses apart.

Some alternatives to the hinges you bought would be tiny ones found in the dollhouse section of hobby stores (something like this http://www.atcoproducts.com/17dolhoushin.html). They'd be a little less bulky than the one you used. Brass piano hinge used in RC airplanes could be cut down to size as well, if you had a use for all the rest of the length. (I think it's sold by the foot.)
submark4 years ago
Nice fix! I live in a space filled with broken frame glasses that I'm too cheap to toss.
Some are held together with heat shrink tubeing and other less salubrious items.
Pre-heat the pliers before grasping the metal parts. This will allow for faster heat conduction and dexterity since you will not have to hold an awkward plastic object near the flame for about a minute. An alcohol lamp on your work space may be better than a bic for ease of heating small objects. Bics get HOT in a minute.
Prepare the attatchment sites for the new hinge to obtain the best fit and possibly heat the hinge enough to allow the hinge to be touched to the frame while hot (and then quickly removed) to locate and index and new screw hole locations.
lbrewer424 years ago
Great idea - especially about how to remove the original hardware.

I used to teach school and had quite a few times the kids would come to me because the screw to the hinge had come unscrewed and was lost. I put a large paperclip through the place the screw should be, cut off both ends (all good teachers have toolkits in their desk right?), and used needle nose pliers to bend the ends of the paperclip tight against the hinge where they could not "catch" themselves on it. It is a permanent fix and eliminates those pesky screws from ever being lost again.

Forget needing to carry an eyeglass repair kit and forget paying the eyeglass store to fix them for you.
redplanetcorridor (author)  lbrewer424 years ago
Thank you. All good instructable users should keep tool kits nearby, too.
askjerry4 years ago
Glasses are such a pain... the ones that have great hinges are plastic, and that breaks and the lens falls out. THe ones that have good frames have weak hinges. I really wish they could get it right!

Nice repair... good in a pinch too!

Jerry
redplanetcorridor (author)  askjerry4 years ago
Thanks. I'm lucky to not have needed glasses myself so far but I had to come up with something to help the wife!
ashevchenko4 years ago