123d Universal Glasses Frames

Introduction: 123d Universal Glasses Frames

Hey guys! I'm Nick, a 16 year old dude who has always thought the concept of 3d modelling and a computer being able to do that was awesome. I've been messing around with 3d animation, game making and etc. since middle school. 3d printing is the next level, combining CNC technology with extruders and etc it just sounds really cool. I would go on with what I'd use it for and etc, but I feel strange about this introduction and would rather have the design sell you than dumb, random things about myself.

Alright, so this is my design. The design is a set of glasses frames that can fit to any lens, so if you break your frames and have to order new ones, but still need to go to work or school or any other situation, you could use these in the meantime. Potentially these could be a cheap alternative for glasses frames in places that need them, such as for people in 3rd world countries .

My interpretation of the contest was to make an invention that only used a 3d printer and that could be printed out of a standard sized 3d printer (such as the Replicator 2) and function without any external parts.

In the process of doing this I've gathered some research on the minimum and maximum dimensions of eyeglass lenses and have based the design from those.

There are five main pieces to the design: the main frame, the temple arms (x2) and the lens fastening arms (x2). (I included some pictures below of the final project, which took a while to figure out how to render so I can post a tutorial if interested on how to either render nice images from 123d and/ or make an animated GIF from a model in 123d.) In the pictures there are some rendered images of the final product and some early concept drawings that may or may not help the explanation of the design, but either way I will do my best to explain it in words here as well (Please post any questions you may have, I would love for the process to be clear.).

Explanation (consult roughly drawn pictures at the bottom for full clarity):
There are two parts that make any of the lenses stay in place: the arms (The two top parts of the frame) and the suspensions (The three tiny tomahawk shaped things in each eye).
The suspensions are designed to fit the smallest of lenses (40mm) or bend to support the largest (62mm).
The arm is designed to come over the lens and push and hold it against the suspensions (by fitting into one of the hole settings on the side of the frame), then allowing the frames to hold any kind of lens.

This may be problematic, because I do not know how flexible this kind of material is, but the suspensions can be adjusted to be more flimsy and have less girth to still fit the design, so I think it's not that big of a deal as they can be adjusted.

Recap: Put the lens in the frame with the arm up and over the lens. Push the lens into the suspensions and fold the arm over it and fasten the arm to the right setting. Whatever size lens you have is now secure inside of your new frames.

Let's get started!
(Also file is available on last step if you want to print it out!)

Step 1: Getting Started:

Sweet, now that we have the whole idea of the thing out of the way, let's get started with the process!

What you will need to do beforehand:

1. Get familiar with 123d:
You should probably get at least a basic education and handling of 123d design because it takes a little while to get a hang of. It's not really like most other 3d programs I've worked in and that will probably be the same for you.

2. Gather some information:
This project requires measurements and information about lenses and frames. I hope that you will make decisions if you think they're an improvement and that will require some information. I have been to a few websites doing research and I also brought my calipers to school to measure everyone's glasses, but if you just want to get some "over-all" information you can just use this site: http://www.framesdirect.com/include/information/frame_size_guide.aspx which I found to be pretty accurate.

3. Have patience and don't give up!
This may sound dumb and cheesy, but it really does apply. I ran into many roadblock on this project and that means you probably will to (or at least with my directions), so just keep tweaking around with things if they don't work at first and feel free to post your questions or problems your having and I will do my best to help.

Step 2: Basic Main Frame

Alright, in this step we will be making the basic main frame of this project, which is just the front of the glasses minus the arms.

Open up 123d Design and start a new project.

Make sure your project's units are set up as millimeters and not inches. (It's at the bottom right little box that says, "units". If it says, "mm" your fine. If not just hover over it and select "mm" from the drop down menu.)

View the stage from the top view and under the sketch tab at the top select, "rectangle". Then click on the origin of the stage (0, 0) and make a rectangle. I made mine something like 72mm x 36mm because the maximum width of any lens is 62 and the average nose bridge length I found 20mm and since we're only making half of the pair of glasses (we will mirror it) 62mm + (half of the bridge) 10mm = 72mm. The 36mm is just to give us a little bit of room to work and that was also part of some of the measurements I took.

Okay now we get to making the shape of it. Go to the "sketch" tab again and select "spline" from the menu. Draw the shape of the glasses as I did in the picture so that half the bridge of the nose is 10mm and make sure the frame is 62mm at its widest point. Besides keeping to the measurements this part is kind of hard to describe, so make sure you consult the pictures for the shape and etc.

Now that we have the shape within the rectangle, we don't want the rest of the rectangle we just want the shape of the main frame. To do this, go up to the "sketch" tab again and select "trim". Now click on edges that are unneeded on the outside of the frame. This part my come with a little bit of trial and error, but once you get the hang of the tool it will be simple. Do this until you have nothing, but the shape of the frame. If you mess up like I did always remember the undo hotkey is control-z or if you're on a mac it's command-z.

Now select all of the faces on your flat frame shape and go to the "construct" tab on the top of the program. In the drop down menu, select "extrude". In the tab with the little box shape on the "extrude unit box" and from the drop down menu select "join". In extrude measurement entering box (I'm bad with describing it, but it's the number input that should say "0.0mm" that is attached to the little box tab you just used) enter 4 (it should now show "4mm") and then hit "enter" on your keyboard.

We now have our main basic shape and some thickness to our main frame. 

Step 3: Putting Holes in the Main Frame

In this steps we'll be making the hole for the arm hinge and for the various setting to lock the arm to.

First, zoom in to around the point to where the frame the holds the lens and the nose bridge meet. Go up to the "sketch" tab and select the circle tool. Make a decently sized circle at around this point (look at picture), it doesn't have to be exactly 4mm, but it should be sturdy. Also, whenever you're making a hole where something will go into later write down the diameter so you can be sure everything will fit just right.

Make sure your circle is in the size and place you want it to be. Now select the face of the circle and go to the "extrude" tool again. Under the tab next to the unit input (the same one where we changed the setting to "join") and click it. From the drop down menu select "cut". Now go to a side view and drag the arrow and shape through the frame of the glasses and hit "enter". Go back up to where you were placing the circle and delete the face (click on the inside of the circle and hit "delete"). Your arm hinge is now done.

Now go to the farthest point to the right of your whole and the other side of where the lens would be and select the circle tool again. Near the top of the frame draw a circle of 1mm. Now select the face of the circle and go to the "extrude" tool again. Under drop down tab select the option "cut" again. Go to the side view and drag the arrow and shape through the frame again and hit "enter". Then go up to the same circle you just made and delete its face (Just like we did with the hinge hole).

You should now have a hole going through the frame on the right side of the lens. Repeat this step a few times (I did 4) to give multiple positions and settings for the arm to fit in and to hold various different lens sizes.

Step 4: Adding Suspensions to the Main Frame

Alright, this is the last step for the main frame.

Open up the rectangle tool again (Under the "sketch" tab") and make a rectangle to the size you think you can work in to get a suspension that you want. Once you're done with that get out the "spline" tool (Under the "sketch" tab) and make something that looks like the suspension in the final product. Below is an example that I went back to make after the fact, so it's not a very good example, but it's the main idea. I forget exactly the logic behind the size of the one in the final version, but I did have a reason. The things to keep in mind when sketching the shape is that you want the bottom portion to be able to bend and you also want it tall enough so that it can support a 40mm lens. I'm sorry I'm going to have to let you do the math on this one, because it really does depend on how you drew your frame.

Now go up to the "sketch" tab and select the "trim" tool again. Just like we did when we were making the frame use the tool to take out unnecessary parts of the rectangle, so we are only left with our shape.

Now extrude this to the amount that it can hold a lens and still fit well in your frame, again this has to do with your frame, so you have to make some informed decisions for yourself. Although I don't have pictures of the process I would highly recommend putting grooves in these suspensions so the lens won't slip out if you know how to.

Now that you have your suspension move it to the bottom-center of the frame. Make sure it is centered on the Z axis within the frame and also make sure that it is over-lapped a little bit with the frame. Now select your suspension and copy it (control-c on windows or command-c on mac) and paste it (control-v on windows or command-v on mac). Move this copy to where the greatest distance is within the lens holder (Look at pictures of final project to get a better idea) and rotate it so the top flat part is parallel with the frame. Again, make sure it is centered on the z axis within the frame and overlaps a little bit with the frame.

Do the same process as the last step, except on the oppositely widest point on the frame (The picture serves it better). Now select the "combine" tab at the top of the program. Select of what you have in your project (x3 suspensions and frame) and hit the "enter" key.

These should all be combined into one object now. We are now done with the main frame!

Step 5: Making the Arm

Sorry in advance, I have a feeling this is going to be a long step.

Get ahold of the ever-popular rectangle tool again and draw a rectangle stretching from the holes and both sides. Again, the pictures are really better than my rambling for a lot of this. Then create circles on this rectangle using the circle tool lining up with the holes in from we already made. Make each circle pretty much the same size, but not exactly as we want these to be able to rotate freely. For example we put 1mm holes on the right side of the frame, that means for the circle on the arm we should make the diameter 0.9mm or something similar. The same goes for the hinge on the other side.

Once you have your two circles, pick up that "spline" tool and draw something similar to below connecting to the two circles. Now don't put that spline tool away yet and make two lines that make a face in the middle (sorry again, just take a look at the first picture I have below).

Select the middle face we just made and select the extrude tool. With the "join" option selected extrude towards the inside of the frames 1mm. Now select the face on the extrusion you just made and get the extrude tool again, except this time under the drop down menu select, "new solid" instead of join. Extrude this towards the inside of the frame by 2mm. Now select the new solid you just made by extruding and move it in the Y direction (Away from the bottom of the frames) as far as you can with it still looking like it's connected to the rest of the arm. Now with the same 2mm piece selected copy and paste it. With this copy selected go to the scale tool and where the text says "uniform scale" click it and from the drop down menu select "non-uniform scale". There should be a text box next a "Z:" in that text box enter "0.5" which will scale it on the Z axis by half. Now move it so it lines up with the bottom of the original 2mm piece. 

Now to actually make the male part of the hinge and pin to lock the arm in place. Select both of the circles on the arm you made, and then select the extrude tool. Make sure the extrude tool is set to "join" this time. Extrude it into the holes you had them lined up into, so that it comes out on the other side just a little bit. For example the thickness of my frames were 4mm so I extruded mine 4.1mm.

Almost done, thank you for bearing with me so far. I know this whole tutorial is kind of all over the place as I'm not that great at writing. Now go to the top view of the arm and select all of the top faces including: circle, middle section and etc. But ONLY the top faces not any of the things we created by extruding so far, only the faces that were apart of that original spline sketching. Once you've done this select the extrude tool and extrude upwards (positive Z direction) by 0.75 mm. You could do 1mm as well, whatever looks best to your eye.

Now go to the "combine" button at the top and select everything we did in this step aka. everything except for the main frame and suspensions and press "enter". We are now done with the main frame and the arm, just to get it out of the way, select the arm and move it upwards in the positive Z direction by about 10 or so millimeters, whatever you feel comfortable so that it's out of the way, just remember or write down how far up you moved it.

Step 6: Making the Temple Arms

This is the second to last step, so again thanks for making it this far you deserve a medal or something.

Alright, so go to the top view and zoom out to give yourself some room. Go to the rectangle tool and make a rectangle thats about 145mm wide and 30mm tall (I found that most glasses' temple arms are 14.5 cm and seem to fit comfortable on every person I found.). Get out the spline tool and sketch out your temple arm. Mine was straight, but at around 100mm I think it started to curve the rest of the way until it was at 5mm from the X axis. You can use that if you want, that is again from the data that I collected from my peer's glasses. Now get the trim tool out and trim everything you need to get to your sketch.

Now select the face of your temple arm shape and extrude it to a width that looks good to you (I think mine was 4mm if I remember correctly.). This next part is optional, but I used the polyline tool to separate the one face on our shape into three faces. I then selected the middle face and used the push/ pull tool to make it a bit thinner and then did the same and the far right face except a bit thinner than the middle. The idea behind that was so that they could be a bit flexible and therefore fit a bit a better and be a bit more "universal".

Okay now move and rotate your temple arm shape so that it's in its exact position behind the frame. You want to make sure that you have it where you intend to have it behind the frame. Now zoom in a lot and position yourself so you're looking through the top "arm setting hole" of the frame down at the top of the temple arm. Get the circle tool out again and make a circle on the top of the temple arm of about .985mm and drag it around so it matches the circle of the frame. Pan down the the second "arm setting hole" and do the same thing. Drag your temple arm and the two circles you just made in the positive X direction to get out of the way of the frame (write down or remember how far), do not mess with the Y or Z directions.

Now select both of the circles on the top of the temple arm and extrude them a bit more than the width of your frame in the positive Z direction. My frame width was 4mm so I extruded mine 4.1 mm. Now select the faces on top of the circle extrusions you just made and click the blue box with a gear on it. It should fold out to a menu and there should be a "shell" option, click on it. It will now make your cylinders hollow on the inside and on the bottom it will have a number for how thick the walls should be. I set mine as 0.015mm if I remember correctly.

What we have just done is created little pins so that the temple arms can be attached and pushed into the frames. The reason we hollowed them out is so that the arm pin can still lock into them,  so we're not losing the first two settings. This is also why we made the pins on the arm something like 0.89mm or 0.85mm so that they're able to fit into the hollowed pins of the temple arms.

We have now finished all of the parts! If you made it this far under any of this instructions, congratulations! I don't think there are any of you that can decipher this, but if you actually did let me know and post your results in the comments! I would love to see them. 

The next step has to do with mirroring the parts and laying them out so they are ready to print.

Step 7: The End Is Here

All that's left to do now is mirror everything and position it for printing. If you're proud of what you've done and want to take pictures, make sure you position everything so that it's assembled and skip to the mirroring part of this step. If you just want to print it follow these steps.

Okay, select the arm and rotate it by 180 degrees on the X axis (So the pins are pointing up). Now move it in the Y direction so it won't overlap the frame. The go to the front view and move it in the negative Z direction until it is flush with the grid (aka so Z = 0 in its position).

That's good for the arms now we need to move the temple arms. Rotate the temple arm -90 degrees on the Y axis. Then rotate it -90 degrees on the Z axis. Now just move it so it won't overlap any of the other parts and move it in the Z direction so it is in the same Z position as the other parts (aka Z=0).

If you kept the far left side of the frame, so it meets the Y axis at zero great! Just draw a line along the Y axis so that it's long enough to stretch over all of the parts. If not move the frame of the glasses so that the far left side of the frame is just meeting the Y axis, otherwise the frames will not become one object and that would not be good.

Now look at my example and make sure yours is similar. If you think you're okay, go ahead and under that "pattern" tab at the top select "mirror". Now select all of the parts and not the line that you drew along the Y axis. Now on the mirror tool select the little tab that says "mirror plane" and now select your line along the Y axis and press "enter". There should be a mirror to all of your parts now and your frames should have both sides. Now just delete the line along the Y axis that you made.

You're done! I move my parts so that they would be on the right side of the Y axis, but I don't think that matters! You can go ahead and print it out if you wish!

If you like the design or the idea of it, vote for it! Also, if you could let me know if I'm missing anything in my submission, as far as my understanding goes, I just have to upload this instructable. Thank you so much for bearing with me on this!

I'm adding the 123d project file here so you guys can mess with it or just print it out if you want!
If you do either, leave a comment or let me know what you did or how it went! I'd love to hear!

Keep in mind the Creative Commons License when using this. I have nothing against innovation or you guys printing it out yourselves. Just read and understand the terms of using this in the Creative Commons License and have fun:


P.S If you would like a tutorial on how to render some images of objects in 123D and how to make a .gif out of those, just comment letting me know.

Autodesk 123D Design Challenge

First Prize in the
Autodesk 123D Design Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • For the Home Contest

      For the Home Contest
    • Make It Bridge

      Make It Bridge
    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge



    9 years ago

    Great you made it, good luck!


    9 years ago

    I found it on your profile. I really liked it and I have noticed that it usually takes up to 5 days to get it accepted.


    9 years ago

    I love the design of this. It is defentally something that I would see myself using. Many a times have I found myself with a broken pair of glasses, and the replacement won't get here for a couple more weeks. I have usually just decided to go without them, and use old glasses from when I was like 8. I would go without glasses but my vision is pretty terrible, so that's not an option. Any way I love the design and I could definely see myself using them


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I really like your design as well and if I ever get a 3d printer will use it as well! Just out of curiosity did you go to my profile and find this or was it on the competition entry page? I don't think it's been accepted or looked over yet, but just checking. Again, thank you for the kind words, it's good to hear that this might be useful! Thanks again, and again nice design yourself!