Eyeglasses Hinge Replacement/Repair





Introduction: Eyeglasses Hinge Replacement/Repair

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

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

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

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!



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    Do you any suggestions for a person with arthritis in fingers which makes holding the hinge screws really hard to do

    Love this instructable!... my only issue is, i have nothing to grip... the loops on the damaged hinge are completely broken off... So now i just have this flat metal surface... i can heat it the way you did, or a soldering gun, but how do i grip the hinge and pull it out of the plastic of the frame? :(

    must use a solder tip for that case.... hit it directly on any metal you see, when it heats up take a safety pin or needle dig under the wet (melted) plastic and wala problem solved.....

    items needed

    1 solder tool

    1 needle or pointed object

    SPEED lol

    Thank you! This is a great idea.

    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.

    Great instructable. Very easy to follow. Now to get my husband to do the same for me ...

    The instruction is very useful!

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


    They supply nice riveting hinges for eyeglasses for repairing and designing.

    with these hinges, the instruction becomes perfect.

    rivet hinges.jpg

    All I thought about while reading this is how much it must have sucked to do without glasses on.

    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.
    you're right about the hinges on cheaper glasses being of higher quality. I noticed this when i was searching for a replacement hinge.