Introduction: Laser Cut Foldable Wooden Glasses

Picture of Laser Cut Foldable Wooden Glasses

Needed tools and materials:
 - a CO² laser cutter
 - plywood (3mm - 1/8”)
 - the current instructable

For those who are in a hurry (yes, it happens! :-):
 - download the project at your preferred format (EPS, AI, SVG, CorelDraw, PDF)
 - the settings are fitting Epilog laser machines: thin lines are cut, there isn't anything else here
 - assemble the part in accordance with step 3
 - enjoy!

Caution: the uploaded design is for children (4-6 year-old), so if you want to make it suitable for an adult or if you want another customization, the others steps may also be useful.

Step 1: Context: Background and Motivations

Picture of Context: Background and Motivations

There are already lots of DIY wooden glasses available on the Net, but I always found some limitations:
 - either they are too simplistic and not functional enough (cannot fold the stems, see:
 - or they are not 100% out of wood, with metallic hinges for instance (see

It’s just a matter of taste, but I generally prefer designing objects with no external accessories or as few as I can, even if it can lead to a (kind of) suboptimal implementation.

I also recently found an interesting (100% wood) idea here:
But the latter implementation makes it difficult folding the glasses to put them in a pocket...

Step 2: Explanations

Picture of Explanations

Well, I felt forced to consider designing them on my own laser cut wooden articulated glasses, great!

I studied how usual (metallic) glasses hinges were designed to try and replicate these my way.

It came out naturally that the stems and the frame would be vertical parts, whereas hinges would be cut horizontally. (Don’t hesitate to comment this below if you don’t agree!)

The challenge was also to joint the hinges with the stems and the frame in a way that would be as elegant as possible: not too big, but sufficiently robust to make the glasses useable.

Step 3: Result: We Design Them Basic, You Fab Them Special!

Picture of Result: We Design Them Basic, You Fab Them Special!

So, finally, the frame and the stems are really simple and basic.

The only tricky parts are the way the hinges are mounted on the stems and frame.

The result can be seen on the photo.

If you want to customize them for another size or shape, you'll just have to modify the frame or the stems; change the hinges at your own risk ;-)

Anyway, improvements are welcome!

For mounting instructions, follow the photos and the order (annotations).

Step 4: That's All, Folks! Now It's Up to You!

Picture of That's All, Folks! Now It's Up to You!

Well, that's all, post your comments and questions.

I put here the design files in several formats, I hope it'll be sufficient:
 - CDR (CorelDraw X4, original file)
 - SVG (exported but successfully opened with Inkscape)
 - PDF
 - PNG
 - AI

Use the comments below to make suggestions and experience when lasering this instructable. Thanks!


ZoëE12 made it! (author)2017-03-06

I LOVE these! Fantastic design. Love that you can make them completely out of one material. Had to tweak it a bit to stop the pins falling out but apart from that worked perfectly! Have ordered some cheap lenses in my prescription and next gonna try a double frame on the front piece to hold lenses in place.

Also, hilariously, was looking at the links you posted as your original references etc. The last one, using the living hinge... click on that and up pops a huge picture of my boss Stuart Childs! So I made your design on his laser cutter. haha!

r4f (author)ZoëE122017-04-19

Hi Zoë! Thanks for your kind words! :-)
I guess a double frame would be overkill. 2 x 3mm + lenses' thickness means heavy glasses and not really appealing (in my humble opinion).
In a related Instructable (here: ), the author came up with another solution: cut the lenses at the inner size of the frame & glue them. This requires an exact fit of the lenses & the frame; I personally would opt for an easier way: cut the lenses 2 mm wider than the hole & glue them at the rear of the frame. (Somehow) less elegant but easier & less risky.
Keep us updated!

DevanJ2 (author)ZoëE122017-04-17

Hey, I was just wondering if you had any tips for tweaking the design to work with acrylic? Yours look fantastic! I haven't laser cut anything before but I'm planning to design some runway style eyewear for a friend to use with her fashion collection and would be great to do it straight in acrylic as I'm after bold colours. Just want to make sure if I need to adjust the hinges before cutting, and what thickness have you used?

Markuzz (author)2013-10-23

Hello r4f,
these glasses i've cutted in Medium-Density Fibreboard. It's not the most beautifull material there is, but almost the cheapest. I used it for testing your design.
Now I'm going to tweak the design a little so it fits an adult head. I might change the shape a little as well.

r4f (author)Markuzz2013-10-23

So great from you, Markuzz! You did it! Thanks a lot!

I often use MDF myself for making things, since I have my own laser.

In fact, there are 2 kind of laser makers: the ones who use MDF since they don't pay for the cutting time, and the others who use ply since they pay for the cutting time.

Explanation: plywood is 3x more expensive but 3x quicker to cut...

In fact, I lost the adult-size template when I tweaked it to fit my son's head, which explains why the last I published was the smallest version ;-(

Customize it, you're 100% right! Once again, please post your customized photos here!

"I design them basic, you cut them custom" (cf.:

BrownDogGadgets (author)r4f2014-12-08

I have my own machine and like using ply because it looks nice... and stains well...

Though MDF has a lot of really nice qualities as well.

hsallah made it! (author)2014-04-30

Nice design. I think that the joinery method is great. After some minor adjustments I will make the frame fit my 2yr old's face........ and then mine. I really like it's functionality. Thank you for your ideas. I will customize and share.

r4f (author)hsallah2014-04-30

Great to read you, hsallah!

I'm so happy to know that it was useful for others! Keep us in touch as soon as you have customized it!

audiolizard (author)2013-09-20

Brilliant and highly adaptable design! I see several techniques here that I've not seen before in laser projects, including the grippy zig-zags and the constrained 3-layer corner joints. Did you also glue any of the pieces together, or is it unnecessary? Thank you for posting your files.

r4f (author)audiolizard2013-09-20

Hi audiolizard,
Really flattered by your kind words!
I began posting my works on Instructables when I designed these glasses... I knew they were cool ;-)
Nothing is glued at all, that's how I prefer to design objects when I have the choice.
I've posted a few pictures of another cute design on my Pinterest board, here:
No moving parts, everything is static but I like it also; one could qualify it as lasercute!

nagutron (author)2012-06-26

Elegant and fun! You should upload these to Ponoko or some similar service so lazy people can order them!

GuizI1 made it! (author)2016-03-03

Hello r4f,

Congrats for your work, wood hinges, grippy zig-zag, its amazing !

I custom your glasses, i have change the design for an adult head.

And, the hinges are simplified with a direct simple joint. I add too two blocs for the nose.

I cut this in a plexi 3mm and its very good.

I will try différents medias for the next steps..!

To be continued !!

GiuliaG10 (author)GuizI12017-08-28

Could share the project of your hinge? It's exactly what I was looking for, a really nice job!

r4f (author)GuizI12016-03-30

Hi GuizI1!

So cool to see how my humble instructable lead to great productions!

Yours is really nice!

Keep up the good work

GustavoG29 made it! (author)2017-06-22

Thank you r4f. Your design it’s definitely what I was looking for. My
kids will have their Harry Potter 20th anniversary party next Saturday,
I can’t find decent Potter glasses for them so I customized your design. I believe
that the result was amazing.. Thanks for sharing!!

bratan made it! (author)2016-12-31

Thank you so much for this genius design! I used your hardware to make this New Year "Rooster" glasses :) It's very challenging to adopt to acrylic (becuase of great material thickness variation), so I had to cheat a little and use some glue on "wavy" things

r4f (author)bratan2017-04-19

Hi @bratan! What a great customization! Congratulations!

I confess I was waiting for such creative input since 2012, when I published this Instructable...

DonaldU (author)2016-05-12


Mezouar (author)2016-02-04


nestorApestana (author)2014-08-13

Nice Job, thanks for sharing! I am going to use this system for an eyeglass I am designing. In your opinion, do you think this would work with acrylic? If not, what other material, other than wood, would you recommend? Than you

r4f (author)nestorApestana2014-08-13

Hi @nestorApestana! Thanks!

Don't forget to post pictures once you've done yours!

The design would certainly work with acrylics, but things may have to be adjusted, like the "grippy zig-zags" as @audiolizard called it (see in the above comments).

If you have sufficient power, stainless steel would certainly work, too! :-)

Personally, I prefer wood (generally plywood or medium), but it may also work with cardboard...



nestorApestana (author)r4f2014-08-13

Thank you for the quick reply and I will definitely post pictures once they are done.
All the best,

r4f (author)nestorApestana2014-08-13

Alright, Nes, it's a pleasure to share about my own creations :-)

Keep up posted!


kde leon3 (author)2014-05-16

I can't wait to cut these! how fun! thank you :)

r4f (author)kde leon32014-05-16


Great, I'm happy you like them!

Just be careful of the scale, since I don't remember if the downloadable model is for adults or for infants! I you scale it up, be also careful on the assembly part that should not be scaled at all...

petit-mouton-violet (author)2014-02-20

Hello, where do I download the template'??? I LOVE ITTTT

r4f (author)petit-mouton-violet2014-02-21

Hey petit-mouton-violet, thanks for watching!
At the end of the article, you'll find the download links to the files; they are named laser-cut-foldable-wooden-glasses (with an extension which depends on the file type pdf, eps, ai, svg or pdf).
If you're French-speaking (you may, I guess, with such a name ;-), have a look at this:

petit-mouton-violet (author)r4f2014-02-21

Thank you so much for your help!!! I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I am actually, spanish-french-english speaker :) I am having trouble finding templates for adult glasses in Illustrator. I am making several gifts for friends and I have no clue on how to take measurements to make them.

I f you could tell me how to do so, or any other link I could see?
Have a nice day :)

r4f (author)petit-mouton-violet2014-02-21

The key measurement I took into account were:

  • width of the face (equals the length of the facing side of the glasses)
  • distance between the point-of-contact with the nose and the point of contact with the ears (for the spectacle arm)
  • width of the nose between the point-of-contact with the spectacle frame

But the easiest way is to take measurements on a pair of glasses that you already own...

togo1919 (author)2013-02-22

Right Arm!

We'll make these for my son's Birthday Party!! Here at TechShop!!

Thank you!

r4f (author)togo19192014-02-21

Hey togo1919!

Don't forget to post some pictures (comment + "Add Images") of it & click on "I Made it!" (upper right corner as far as I see on my screen) to tell that it's working!

Markuzz (author)2013-10-23

Hi r4f,

thank you for this amazing instructable.
I've downloaded the file, put it on my lasermachine with some 3mm mdf,
and hOpla.. there it this!


r4f (author)Markuzz2013-10-23

Hi Markuzz,

Sincerely many thanks for taking the time to post this here, it's really invaluable, for an Instructables' publisher, since there isn't any other feedback mechanism to "prove" that it works (or not).

Would you be kind enough to post some pictures of your work here, in this Instructables' page?

Seeing is believing, isn't it?  It would be extremely rewarding for me if you do so!

tiffscholey (author)2013-04-09

I'm looking to buy a laser cutter online for projects similar to this, nothing big. I have no idea what features to look for or what kind to get, desktop? It would be for a small business. Any advice?

r4f (author)tiffscholey2013-07-03

Hi tiffscholey,

I know I'm answering several month after your comment, nevertheless it could be useful for future readers.
Don't buy a laser machine first!
Use laser cutting services instead: in a fablab/hackerspace or via Ponoko or similar online providers. You'll then be able to test your ideas and know if they are profitable (or not). If they are, then wait to have earned enough so that you buy such a machine (if you really feel that it's important).
But some professional "laser designers" don't even have their own ones, it's not mandatory!
That was my 2 cents.
Anyway, if you buy one, consider investing in a serious brand, in my humble opinion. Otherwise you risk not to have after-sale service, or not a good one, or not in English... and have an out-of-order machine that languishes in your workshop!

BytePilot (author)2013-05-09

Oh that is a lovely design.
I like the locking pins on the hinges. very neat.

jimius (author)2013-05-08

Optician here, this frame as is cannot be fitted with prescription lenses, the inner diameter of the frame needs a V-shaped groove to accept an edged lens.
I would also suggest to file a nice smooth bevel along the edges of the frame, especially where the nose hits the skin, otherwise you're left with a less than charming groove in your nose after just a few hours of wearing.

tiffscholey (author)2013-04-10

Hi, thanks for responding! I will definitely try out the online laser cutting services. I had no idea thy existed. I unfortunately won't be able to go to a lab myself. I live on Haida Gwaii which if you were to look at a map would see its an island in the middle of nowhere> I can see Alaska right now. Anyway its also very expensive to get off and is a very boring 8 hour ferry ride to "civilization". Since I was laid off as a nurse and there are very few jobs here in general I have been focusing on art as many others here do. I will not be purchasing a laser cutter until it is necessary but I do need to include the model and price of a possible future cutter in my business plan in order to get a grant. Any you recommend? Thank you for your time, I really appreciate your advice!

wow that captcha really makes it hard to comment, i'm not able to "reply" to your post

r4f (author)tiffscholey2013-04-10

There are 2 main "big brands" in the (small size, low power) CO2 laser cutting industry: Epilog ( and Universal Laser (ULS, Off course, there are many others but for a serious usage when one is not a laser technician (able to tweak hardware or software to make things work), those are the most reasonable options.
Even if I live far from the US (in France), I've chosen Epilog. I've bought a (new) Mini 24 (12'' x 24'' of cutting table size) with a 40 Watt laser tube:
It's the one that I've been recommended.
The equivalent at ULS is the VL-300.
I've also a rotary attachment (that you can see mine with the blue metallic bottle in this PicasaWeb gallery:
You can see (out of date) prices here:
You can contact an Epilog (or other manufacturer) distributor to have the right pricing (look for your here if you opt for Epilog: ).
I personally bought my machine to my local distributor in France. What is noticeable is that when the machines cross the Atlantic Ocean, US Dollars become... Euros. So I paid in Euros (18000 Eur.) the price that I saw the machine in... USD (even if the change isn't a 1 USD for 1 Eur. ...)
Anyway, I don't regret it, today, since I've NEVER had the least problem. It's really designed for an heavy-duty usage, not for play nor kids.
If you buy a Chinese machine, it will be far cheaper (you can have an enormous one for half the price of a small Epilog, and with the double of the power...) but I estimated that I couldn't afford to have my machine without support, potentially out of order during week or months...
Entrepreneurs have to know when to invest :-)

ULS may also be a good choice, anyway. I've been said that Ponoko had ULS machines.

Uh! I was about to forget another advice: perhaps you can write your business plan with the price of a brand new one, but you can also buy a preowned system: (you can subscribe to a list on which you receive e-mails with offers when they occur). When using such a system, it's really cheaper than the new ones, but more expensive than buying directly to the first-hand owner, but Epilog also puts a warranty on the machines, so you don't risk unpleasant surprises.

Well, that's all for today. I hope I answered your questions!

But the plan that I gave you in my first reply was really what I advise you to follow, since you then take near-zero risk of buying something that you won't have a good return-on-invest on... You only buy once you already have a customer base, what a deal!!!



tiffscholey (author)2013-04-09

I'm looking to buy a laser cutter online for projects similar to this, nothing big. I have no idea what features to look for or what kind to get, desktop? It would be for a small business. Any advice?

r4f (author)tiffscholey2013-04-10

Hi tiffscholey,

Nice to read you here!
Buying a laser cutter is not a great deal, doing great things with it is the main concern.
What I could advise you is to first make tests with online laser cutting services, like If you're in the "right place", you can even have access to the laser machine of a Fablab, a Hackerspace, a Techshop or a makerspace (depending on the name they gave themselves). This latter possibility is the ideal one, since you can generally bring your own materials for cutting or objects for engraving and you only pay by the hour.
Once you've done some tests, that seem convincing to you, test them on your target audience (people that could become your future clients, your prospects). If they respond positively, then try making tests at a larger scale, sell your objects and then buy a laser machine if (and only if) it's necessary. To make tests at a large scale, you can open an Etsy shop ( or only sell your designs on sites like CNC King ( or Ponoko (
Anyway, at this step, don't forget to learn the essentials of Internet marketing (and marketing in general), since it can make the difference between failure and success, depending on how you "market" all what you do.
I wish you a great success in this adventure!


melody1981 (author)2012-09-26

the frame is so fancy !

To make the production easier, you could add one rivet hinges from ;

r4f (author)melody19812012-09-26

Hi melody1981,
I really appreciate your comment, since I recently found exactly this website for this purpose!
In fact, having self-made hinges, and 100% wooden glasses was my personal challenge... But to have a more "standard finish", such hinges are sincerely appealing, I agree with you.
Maybe for a future Instructable! ;-)

duke9890 (author)2012-07-06

Where did you get your wood from?

r4f (author)duke98902012-07-06

Hi duke9890,
I currently buy poplar panels that fit my machine (24x12" / 30x60cm). (I recall I'm in France). I've recently bought some from
The more you buy, the better prices you get. For instance, if you buy several full-sized panels (2mx1m approx.) that you cut yourself with a saw, you can divide price by "small" panel by 2...

j450nn014n (author)2012-06-27

Be careful with the PDF. It has multiple versions and we just printed out the version that doesn't work (page 2). I think page 5 is the right one. Assumed they were all the same.

r4f (author)j450nn014n2012-06-27

Hi edgelab,
thanks for your comment!
I don't understand what you mean about the PDF which has "multiple versions".
In fact, I published the Instructable then downloaded the PDF and saw some errors, then updated it and downloaded the PDF again, but the PDF hadn't been updated...
But I've found a workaround: download a custom version with all the sections and it will be generated on the fly, then it will be up to date!

j450nn014n (author)r4f2012-06-27

These are the two images you have on the pdf that seem to work. The other files are more complex. How many pages do you think are on the PDF? :)

r4f (author)j450nn014n2012-06-27

Well, NOW I SEE!!!
Thanks for your questions, sincerely!
In fact, I work on several revisions on different sheets/tabs and I didn't remarked that all versions were included in the PDF & CDR files...
I'll update the downloadable files ASAP (it's late here, I'm going to bed, now :-).
Anyway, the best version is the last one (last page), the one on the right side in your attached image.
In the initial version (on the left, here) the stems were not sufficiently attached to the hinges, it was really too light.

j450nn014n (author)r4f2012-06-27

Oh, you're just like me. It is hard for my students to get me to realize where my enthusiasm takes me. Let me know when they're up. I'm trying to build some custom glasses for myself to help with autism symptoms. I'll post my mods, if you find them interesting.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a fanatic of self-fabbing!
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