Instructables

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.
D money2 months ago

Thank you! This is a great idea.

criggie3 months 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.

srudolph51 year ago
Great instructable. Very easy to follow. Now to get my husband to do the same for me ...
melody19811 year 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.
rivet hinges.jpg
All I thought about while reading this is how much it must have sucked to do without glasses on.
budforum2 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.
DSCN0119.JPG
eyemesh2 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.
Rocker0073 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!
Pamela3 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.)
submark3 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.
lbrewer423 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)  lbrewer423 years ago
Thank you. All good instructable users should keep tool kits nearby, too.
askjerry3 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)  askjerry3 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!
ashevchenko3 years ago