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Repair plastic eyeglass frame with thread and superglue

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Picture of Repair plastic eyeglass frame with thread and superglue
You've got a pair of eyeglasses, plastic frames, broken. You looked on the internet, found a couple places you can send them. Thirty bucks and two weeks later you'll get fixed glasses back in the mail. What if you don't have thirty bucks or two weeks? What if your kid's got class in two days?

Follow along below to see how you can fix the glasses with common household items and materials. The only special tool needed is a small gauge drill bit. I got mine for less than three bucks at a small town hardware store. If you're willing to take a risk and trust your skills with simple hand tools, you could have fixed glasses as soon as tomorrow!
 
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Step 1: Things you'll need

Picture of Things you'll need
The next two pictures show the tools and supplies you'll be needing for the repair. Hover your mouse cursor over the yellow boxes to see descriptions of all the supplies.



Step 2: Lecture on gluing technique

The secret to a good gluing result are The Three 'C's':

Cleaning, Clamping and Curing.

Cleaning: you want the surfaces to be joined to be very clean and dry with a matte texture. The glue needs a solid, clean surface with a little "tooth" to bond to. Sanding lightly with fine sandpaper and washing with a household solvent should do the job. Let the parts dry thoroughly before gluing.

Clamping: You want the parts held steady relative to each other while the glue sets up. If the parts wiggle while they're bonding together, the bond is weakened.

Curing: This means giving the glue time to do its job - form a bond. If you strain the bond before it's fully set up, it will be weaker.

So, clean the joint well, clamp the parts together, let the glue cure and you'll have good results every time.

Step 3: Cleaning

Give the glue a good surface to bond to by lightly sanding, scraping and washing the break.



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gluefarm8 months ago

This is a nice and simple . Thanks for sharing....http://gluefarm.in/methods-tips-to-store-super-glue-or-cyanoacrylate-glue.

MauiJim20011 months ago
Hi Dmitri,

I'm going to give this a try today. Wish me luck.

Love the thoroughness of the instructions. After discussing it with you in person, and not having looked at the site, I can see there are a couple of very useful ideas that are super-useful. Namely, multiple wraps of thread and the holes being drilled vertically.

I will be doing an earpiece repair, so the holes will be lateral/horizontal. Also, I will have to create a different kind of clamping template than you illustrated here, one with a right-angle to it, perhaps.

your friend Matty
beatnik2 years ago
OP-
YOU don't even have to read this post just wanted to mainly say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

My broken glasses are almost like new I couldn't be happier I almost wish i didn't purchase new glasses before i did the repair!!! (RX changed though so its a good good situation) This has helped me Much I had used tape for almost five days before i got the balls to try this.

My glasses are old and they broke almost spontaneously. I went to the Doctor to get new ones and they said they broke from deterioration of the plastic from things such as UV rays. Thus so i was afraid that if i did drill into them they would crack but luckily in my favor they did not. As i am waiting for my new glasses to be made It might be up to seven more days and it has been six already 4 of them using tape which drooped and constantly fell apart when cleaning them.

I was ecstatic when i found your `able. I am only going to be using them for 2 weeks at most and my new RX is different so i will keep these but only in case i lose my new ones as if they break i will use this technique again.

Although i did it differently one reason was i could not get my Krazy Glue to adhere to the plastic at all. (although i do know using things like thread can be glued sort of like a poor mans fiberglass). I also, Due to the fear of cracking as i stated before. i did not drill them the way you did I just drilled from front to back with the smallest drill bit i had. Luckily they did not crack then i alternated from wrapping each way always going through the holes when changing directions of wind and always with the tension wind. I then did a radial wind until both holes were covered and then i glued the thread once i felt it was already more stable than the tape. I only glued the front of the threads as i did not want the rough texture to rub my face. i know my fix it not as all as durable as your method but with the brittle glasses i have and since i am only waiting for a replacement its the best thing EVER!!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/duranmr/20121002_123329.jpg
Dmitri Monk (author)  beatnik2 years ago
I'm really glad this 'ible helped you. That's why I did it.
jack0022 years ago
Some things that might improve your 'ible.
1. I'd put some blue painters tape over the lenses on both sides. It wont leave any sticky behind and will protect them.
2. I have a dremel tool with a really small bit, you could use that instead.
3. Use a needle threader to pull the thread thru the holes, I think you could get more thread thru a smaller hole that way.
dcounts13 years ago
Nice instructions my daughter too broke glass of course on Friday afternoon no time to even get to opto to order new ones. Used your method and has so far worked. One note my kids frames where dark brown almost black and I used brownish gold thread to make the repair ( what my wife gave me) when I soaked the thread it became darker and nearly matched the frame. brown frame brown thread red frame red thread. My 2 cents. thanks again big help
Dmitri Monk (author)  dcounts13 years ago
I'm really glad it worked out for you. Excellent point about the color matching.
it did not realy work sorry
Dmitri Monk (author)  Dylan Richards3 years ago
Dylan - Sorrry to hear the technique did not work for you. Do you have any particular feedback on what went wrong? Is there a step you think could have been simplified or clarified?
-D.M.
bobstuart5 years ago
Nail polish remover usually has even more oil in it than hardware-store acetone. Always wipe solvents off to remove oil; never let them dry. Ignoring that advice has caused aircraft crashes.
I agree bobstuart, BUT... if one is very careful to read the label, it is possible to get nail polish remover WITHOUT oil. Of course, the oils are added to replenish the oil in one's skin that is removed by the grease cutting effect of the Acetone in nail polish removers.

I suggest instead of all the work to find an "oil less" nail polish remover that one simply goes to their local hardware, home improvement center, or paint store and buy pure Acetone.

Hardware stores don't sell pure Acetone, despite the label. It is mostly recycled, and not fully purified. As I said, aircraft have probably crashed because of this before the FAA changed their recommended procedures.
But that would have to depend on the solvent being used correct? How can one be sure the material used to wipe the solvent off isn't contaminating the surface? I can only hope the aircraft I ever travel on where not constructed or repaired with supplies obtained in the cosmetics or paint departments at Walmart. :)
Plain paper towels seem to be grease-free. For small jobs, I pleat one into my fingers, and put solvent on the pad near my wrist. I wipe with that, and continue with the drying in one step, with no air in between. On each aircraft part, somebody signs their name to certify that they did it right. It is generally reckoned that the paperwork for an aircraft weighs more than the hardware. Also, there are more inspectors and inspectors of inspectors than workers on critical new lines.
Puzzledd3 years ago
I just found this Instructable - great idea, very thorough instructions and I love the photos - especially the first one (haha) and the last one - the glasses look cool!

Thanks for the idea- I was about to throw out my broken headphones but now I realise I can repair them!
maxwell5 years ago
Worked like a charm, now i don't have to wear my contacts full time during the wait for my new glasses. Awesome!
pudmuddle5 years ago
The krazy glue is cyanoacrylate. I would not use 100% cotton, since cyanoacrylates react (sometimes violently) with cotton. See MSDS or wikipedia information on ethyl cyanoacrylate.
+1 on not using cotton, can catch fire, make nasty smoke.
ambersteele5 years ago
Where were you when I broke my frames last year?! This is brilliant! Very nice job. =)
Dmitri Monk (author)  ambersteele5 years ago
I was the same place I am now, but the Instructable wasn't written yet. Oh, that was a rhetorical question? sorry...
; D
BBBBoy5 years ago
Hello -- Have a pair of new plastic eyeglass frames with a clean break right through the part that surrounds the right eye -- about a 1/4 inch up (i.e. on the top, toward the right temple) from the bridge. On metal frames (mine, remember, are plastic), this is called the "eye wire". The lens are not in the frames. The frames are Persol, model 2737-S. (You can Google.) Can you/one repair this (permanently)? If so, would you/one make this repair with glue alone, or with a pin or thread too? If the latter, then please remember, 1) the plastic here is pretty thin, and 2) obviously the lens is "seated" inside this part. I look forward to your reply. Any help or advice is much appreciated Thanks very much,
Dmitri Monk (author)  BBBBoy5 years ago
These seem like expensive sunglasses. I would recommend against repairing them at home unless you're totally okay with a hideous result. There are places that do this sort or repair for money that have a much better looking outcome. (You can Google.) My technique is intended for emergency situations where function rules over appearance. Having said that, you could fix these at home. Clean the break. Put the lens(es) back in and clamp the break shut with rubber bands. Glue your core joint. Let cure. Now, drill two holes for the tension band, but drill them back to front rather than top to bottom. Wrap the tension band and glue. Let cure for 24 hours, trim. You're done. Radial wraps will not work for this location. Again, this technique will look crappy. Use it at your own risk.
Thanks. That helps. Can you give me the names/urls of some of the repair places you mentioned. I can't really find any that I am sure about from Googling. Also, if I do use just glue alone, do you think JB Weld is the glue to use? (It seems, according to some in cyberspace, the only glue that will hold permanently with plastic eyeglass frames. Thanks again.
Dmitri Monk (author)  BBBBoy5 years ago
I would rather not give a referral for a variety of reasons. I can recommend that you google "eyeglass repair". You might find something that way. Caveat emptor. I have never used the brand of glue you ask about, so I can not comment on it. The thread in the technique I show is critical. Cyanoacrylates in the place shown would fail without the thread. Good luck!
sharkh2o5 years ago
Looks like a solid fix, but maybe clear fishing line instead of thread would be less noticeable.
but the thread soaks up the glue and gets hardened fishing line isnt obzorbns t so it would be as solid
Dmitri Monk (author)  pineapplenewton5 years ago
pineapplenewton is right, but if you feel like experimenting, why not try a very fine mono-filament? If I did use a mono-filament, I would not blot up excess glue quite as enthusiastically, for just the reason pineapplenewton gives. Careful color matching of thread and glasses will minimize the dork factor of this repair. Testing a piece of thread with super glue for color changes before starting the repair helps get a good match. I failed to do this before fixing my daughter's glasses. I chose to use silk because of the strength to weight ratio and I thought it would be cool to mix modern and ancient materials. Unfortunately, silk darkens when soaked in super glue. Polyester does not change color much when soaked in superglue... Please see bruc3ef's comment and my reply for the dangers of high dork factor repairs.
if one was seriously concerned about colour matching, what about some sort of paint-on enamel? or would that degrade the bond? ~adamvan2000
Heh heh heh....you said "dork factor." LOL<br/><br/>Great 'Ible!! I have about 3 pairs of older glasses I need to try this on. (Drat that toddler curiosity!!! "Daddy, what's this?" *CRACK* "Aw, nuts." LOL)<br/>
good point
kenbob5 years ago
Excellent instructable and photos. I love the idea of fixing things. It is way more efficient than recycling, and you always learn something. Generally something about what you are fixing, and something about yourself :)
ernestoaug5 years ago
que bosta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
Sugira algo melhor então!?
passa na minha ótica que eu te ensino!!!!!!!!!!
Moro em Amsterdan, onde fica sua óptica?
jimwig5 years ago
i found that dental floss is very strong and not so overly large and is available everywhere. i don't know is takes color very well.
kd1uc5 years ago
Cool!!! I used this method years ago to repair a sump pump. The shaft coupling to the motor shaft split and I knew the stress would just break it again. I super glued it together, drilled a series of holes on both sides of the shaft, wrapped small steel wire through the holes, pulled tight and smothered it in epoxy. The rest of the pump wore out 10 years later but the repair never broke. Great instructable. I suppose with some artistic flair...
static5 years ago
One could cover the stronger repair with white "first aid" tape to give it that retro look. :) Unfortunately the consumer cyanoacrylate adhesives showed up after may plastic eyeglass frames days. The available epoxies weren't that great then either. Oh well metal frames have been serving me well since then. Anyway a well done instructable, you old grey beard you. I'd be a grey beard if I'd let is grow, so I think I could get by with that. :)
Whatnot5 years ago
This technique is obviously also usable for other things, like some types of headphones for instance, when they break it's a waste to ditch quality drivers just because the part holding them is broken.
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