Introduction: How to Design 3d Printed Glasses

Picture of How to Design 3d Printed Glasses

This is how I designed 3d printed frames around lenses that can be made by any optometrist!

I replaced broken my broken glasses by 3d scanning my lens using my phone's camera and Autodesk's 123D Catch. You can see the instructable here: https://www.instructables.com/id/3d-scanning-a-gla... , but you can order lenses from a variety of sources and download 3d models to design around. Check out http://www.eyewearkit.com/ for a place to start.

I used the 3d scan of my lenses as a reference to design my new frames in Rhino. This will require some moderate 3D modeling skill, but the process can be applied to almost any 3d software and can be very simple.

Step 1: Importing and Cleaning the 3D File

Picture of Importing and Cleaning the 3D File

If you are working with a downloaded 3d file, much of this wont apply to you, but may come in handy to know.

Since I am working from a 3d scan, I have to start by importing my 3D scan and rotating it so that is in the right orientation. You can trim off the excess mesh around your lens by drawing a closed curve around it and using a mesh split.

Next scale your lens to the right dimensions. You can either measure it with calipers, or look at the inside of your glasses to find the sizes. The first number is the width of your lens, the second is the distance between lenses, and the third is the length of the arms.

Move your scan so that it is offset from the origin the correct amount. Since glasses are symmetrical, you only need to model half of them.

Step 2: Matching the Lens Curvature

Picture of Matching the Lens Curvature

Start by orienting the lens so that the frame will have a consistent curvature around your face. Draw a curve, tracing the top surface, that extends passed the lens and is tangent at your center line. Next, trace the outline of your lens. Try to match the hard edge of the scan as closely as possible. When drawing your curves, the less points you make, the cleaner a model you will have.

Step 3: Design Your Frame Shape

Picture of Design Your Frame Shape

Here's the fun part. Draw the outline of you frame using two curves. I offset my lens curve by 2mm to use as a guide for the shape, and to keep a consistent thickness.

Offset the curve you drew over the lens surface by the thickness of your lens, then offset each of those curves by 1.5-2mm for the thickness of your frame.

Make a swept surface for each of those curves, then project your lens curve onto each of them. Project your frame curves onto only the top and bottom surface. Split the top and bottom surfaces with the projected curves and discard the two middle surfaces.

Step 4: Fitting Your Lens

Picture of Fitting Your Lens

My lenses have a V shaped outer edge that extends 1mm (sorry it's hard to photograph). I drew the same V shape on my projected lens curves and used a 2 rail sweep to create the groove in my frame.

Every lens may be different. If you are replacing frames like me, try to match any groove as close as possible. If you are modeling around downloaded lenses, there should be some documentation on how to design the groove.

Step 5: Surfacing Your Frames

Picture of Surfacing Your Frames

Draw curves between you split frame surfaces and use 2 rail sweeps to fill your outer surfaces. Do the same for the space between your lens groove and outer surfaces.

Draw two curves across the bottom center of your frames and use them to split the curves and surfaces on the inside face of you frames. Drag control points on the split curves to shape the bridge, then patch those surfaces.

Step 6: Shape the Arms

Picture of Shape the Arms

Next design the shape of your arms using two curves. Make sure the curves start tangent to the frame's surface.

Offset those curves and attach the offsets to the opposite surface of the frame. Use the control points to make sure the offset curves are also tangent to the surface.

Use the frame egdes as profile curves for 2 rail sweeps to build the surfaces of the arms. Join the surfaces and fillet the edges to your desired shape.

Step 7: Model the Hinges

Picture of Model the Hinges

I modeled the hinges using a simple extrusion and boolean union. I used a 2mm screw, so I drew a 2mm circle, then offset it to my desired thickness. Depending on what kind of printer you will be using, you may want to make it thicker and stronger.

Before the boolean union, draw a curve across the arm in the space between the hinge. Use this curve to split your arm from the frame. Then boolean union the appropriate hinge pieces to the frame and arm.

Next you can mirror your half-frame and arm to make a whole one and get ready for 3D printing!

Step 8: Finishing Your Print and Assembly

Picture of Finishing Your Print and Assembly

I was lucky enough to have mine printed on a Stratasys Connex 500 poly-jet printer. The frame I printed in Vero Black, which is a rigid and fairly strong resin. The arms I printed in a digital mix of Vero White and Tango Black, which gives me a more flexible material.

I have since mixed between a variety of arm materials. The Stratasys vero materials have the best resolution by far, but arms printed on a Markerbot with natural PLA have the best durability.

It should be possible to print them in a SLS nylon material, which most online services offer. You may need to make some parts of your glasses thicker, especially the hinges.

I have yet to have success printing frames with a FDM printer like a Makerbot. My first try was a fraction too small, and the second try failed due to a lack of raft material. I would love to see people try to make it work!

Before putting in you lenses, now would be the time to finish your print to your liking. You can sand it smooth, polish it, and coat it if your material isn't skin safe.

Now try pressing your lenses in. It was a very tight fit for me, but could be less if I had modeled the groove around the lens a little bigger.

Slowly screw in your arms. I screw them in a little then back them out a little each time to let the screw self-tap.

Enjoy!

I've also attached STLs and the Rhino file of my glasses if you would like to try it on your printer.

Comments

mchau2 (author)2017-08-08

i saw in your block you 3d printed the lens and then used polishing cream to make it clear? looks like magic

RexF6 (author)2016-10-09

Hi Aaron, can you please send the file to my email? Informacoesdinheiro@gmail.com

DawnN2 (author)2016-01-10

Hey Aaron - nice Instructable. What I'd like to see next is: instead of relying on existing frame styles . . . how about scanning each individual's head and REALLY custom designing a frame fits the structure of your head/skull perfectly?? Maybe they don't even have to sit on the ears. And the lenses can be contoured to the exact structure of one's skull/eye sockets. Lenses could also possibly wrap around your head so you can see better in your peripheral vision.

MonicaP30 (author)2015-12-08

Hey Aaron, great job!

I have been trying to print a few frames but the hinge section always ends up breaking. I do not want to use a pin to join the temple and the frame. Any recommendations as to how I could solve the hinge issue

sara.nijs (author)2015-05-02

The website of eyewearkit seem to be offline for some days. Do you know an alternative?

NR6 (author)2015-03-03

Now we just need a wiki where people can upload the 3D lens models for many different kinds of lens. Then we need to figure out how to adjust the designs for the variable features of the face (the distance between eyes, heights of ears, bridge of nose). I have no doubt that printing lenses will soon be a thing if it already isn't.

I think fitted glasses should be considered a right of the people and not something people should profit from--just imagine the impact cheap fitted glasses could have in the developing world. Increased literacy for one, but also less ocular headaches and migraines.

Aaron Porterfield (author)NR62015-04-06

Start it here! I just ordered replacement lenses for some Ray Bans so I'll upload the lens models when I'm done. If there's enough interest we could start a wiki!

Theoldadam (author)NR62015-03-09

I agree, it's been 6 days since you commented have you found anything like that? I'm trying to make one that fits to a friend of mine, :D will upload when I finish

NR6 (author)Theoldadam2015-03-10

Not yet, I am excited to see how it goes!

leondo (author)2014-11-24

this is really cool

i'm going to give it a try.

What material did you use to make the translucent frames?

Aaron Porterfield (author)leondo2015-02-15

The translucent pair is printed in "vero clear" resin from a connex 500 printer.

c_scobes (author)2014-11-09

I've had to wear glasses my whole life and think it would be fun to make custom frames. I'm curious to know how much of each material you needed for the project, and what was the blending ratio for the arms?

Im not sure what you mean by blending ratio. Can you explain?

michaelgc (author)2014-08-27

Great work, this might be a cool idea for my middle school stem students that are learning to use autodesk inventor.

Thanks! I think middle school students would love some custom specs!

Materj (author)2014-08-21

Hi, my name is Matej and I come from Slovenia, and for my bachelor degree I am making 3d printed sunglasses. And I love you tutorial, it is very helpful. But I would like to know where you had some problems (and how you solved it) and if you have any material I can use (beside your tutorial).
Thanks

Aaron Porterfield (author)Materj2014-08-27

The only real problem I had was the hinges breaking under too much stress. If they were printed in a vertical orientation, it would probably help a lot. Sorry, I don't have any other documentation other than this.

ontimelately (author)2014-08-20

Great stuff Aaron!!!. It must have costed you a bomb to print it rather than buy.

Thanks! I was actually very lucky to print these for free at Autodesk + Instructables' Pier 9 workshop as an artist in residence.

Still, printing a pair on a makerbot will cost nothing compared to buying new frames.

xyzworkshop (author)2014-06-16

Thanks! You're a legend!

xyzworkshop (author)2014-06-14

Nice one! Thanks for sharing! Any chance you could share the rhino file as well? Nice work!

Thanks! Sure, I've added the rhino file to the last step.

kumar varru (author)2014-06-11

lisareno (author)2014-05-29

I guess if you didn't have direct access to a 3D printer (like me), you could send the file off to a company to 3D print it for you. Maybe a little more expensive but if you can afford a printer upfront its still an option. Great instructable and thanks for including all your modeling files. :)

Thanks! It's true, some printers now aren't much more expensive than some high end glasses. A nicer print in SLS or polyjet will be more pricey, but you can find someone nearby that can print for cheaper. Try 3dhubs.com

hestiahuang (author)2014-05-27

it is cool

Thanks!

Aaron Porterfield (author)2014-05-27

As an update, it's very possible on a makerbot. My first print was 0.5mm too small, but with a little calibration it would fit perfectly.

mboyd1 (author)2014-05-25

I broke my frames last year. My eyecare place didn't carry the replacement frames. I wish I had a printer to make a pair. Still have the lens.

sleeepy2 (author)mboyd12014-05-27

I hot glued my old lenses into frames from 3D glasses from the movies. They look ridiculous, but work very well. They are my tv watching glasses!

mboyd1 (author)sleeepy22014-05-27

Rather have access to or know someone or company that can print me a new frames. Best thing about it? I can tell people that there are peaceful uses for a 3D printer; other than producing weapons. Hey! New frames! Not from LensCrafters!

Aaron Porterfield (author)mboyd12014-05-27

Sounds like someone needs to start a company 3d printing replacement frames...

Love it

Aaron Porterfield (author)mboyd12014-05-25

Thats a shame, and one of the big problems that 3d printing has the potential to solve. If you have the time, check out http://www.3dhubs.com/ to see if there is someone nearby you with a printer. You can also try one of the larger services like http://www.shapeways.com/ or http://i.materialise.com/ .

mboyd1 (author)Aaron Porterfield2014-05-27

That's for the heads up.

LucasOchoa (author)2014-05-27

this is amazing, keep up the good work.

Thanks!

espdp2 (author)2014-05-24

I love this! I'm always losing my sunglasses, so I buy the cheap ones, which means they get broken... It's a vicious cycle. I would love to take my $10 Wally World polarized fishing glasses and make some arms and hinges that would actually last me a while longer. I'll second the "shoulders of giants" comment from Wilgubeast!

Aaron Porterfield (author)espdp22014-05-25

Thanks! I'm planning to do the same. You can even order replacement lenses for most high end sunglasses if you want to design your own frames around those.

PhilTee (author)2014-05-21

This is a great idea. I really don't like the current fashions for glasses, and my glasses are getting pretty beat up. Time to model them up and print a new pair!

Do it! Thanks!

wilgubeast (author)2014-05-21

Great Instructable! Such a fantastic tutorial for making glasses hackable. This is one of those "giant's shoulders" projects that enables all sorts of other fun projects. I can't wait to see what other people can do with this, but I'll be happy just to see you around the pier with glasses intact.

Thanks! I'll try to keep them intact!

andrea biffi (author)2014-05-21

This is an awesome project! Since glasses are so expensive, you can put money in a 3D printer instead (maybe they will become cheaper soon)

Exactly. Thanks!

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