Introduction: Repair Broken Glasses With 3D Printer - HowTo


I have not great knowledge or big machines, but I have problems. Yeah.

So, this time my little brother broke his glasses, again. Since this is the third time in one year, I decided to try repairing them, so I'll show you how I did.

As you can see, the problem was not only a fracture in the frame, but a whole pice missing! There were various options, as to simply glue the glass to the frame, but this was not what's called an "elegant solution", so I decided to print the missing piece.

Step 1: How Do I Model a Non-geometrical Piece?

For sure there are experts between you to whom this question may look stupid, but for us low-level-creators is not (or at least for me).

  1. First I drew the lens' profile on a piece of paper with a pencil and I took a photo. The exact same photo you can see up here.
  2. Then I loaded the photo on InkScape, an Open Source vector graphics program. This allowed me to convert the pencil profile into a digital one.
  3. From here on, it's pretty straight forward. I imported the svg file into 123D Design and gave it the appropriate dimensions.

Notice that, from the vector profile, I took the bigger external profile as a reference. I mean, the inner side of the 3D model follows the external line of the profile. Got it?

Step 2: Get Real!

I printed the model. Where's the magic you say? It was perfect the first time! If you make sometimes this kind of things, you know that this very rare.

There aren't many considerations to do about the printing. My settings:

  • 100% infill
  • 0.1mm Z increment
  • Printed in PLA
  • Very slowly
  • Temperature set 5°C less than usual

As you case see my printer is homemade. What I can do with this, you can do with a serious one.

Step 3: Final Piece and Modifications

Anyway, the 3D printed model follows perfectly the profile and fits nicely on the lens.

I made the piece a little longer than needed, so I could cut it to measure and obtain a nice flat contact surface, for better gluing. This can be an useful tip. Furthermore, you don't need to worry about exact measures during the designing process.

On the inside of the frame there is a V-shaped cut, in order to keep still the lens when positioned. So I used the Dremel to reproduce this shape on the inside of the printed piece.

Step 4: Finishing and Considerations

The final part is easy, but requires a little "precise surgery". You have to cut the frame to measure and, you know, there's no turning back. Take your time, take measures, cut precisely. Smooth the contact surface with some sandpaper and clean it before gluing.

I think the final result is quite good. It's not perfect, but it's homemade and took me 2 hours, which is less than a new frame, unless you make 100+€/hour... that's not my case.

My parents asked: "Will it resist?". Well, if he could break the single-pieced frame, he can break this one.

Hope this was useful to someone, now you know you can reproduce non-geometrical shapes pretty easily and quite accurately.

Let me know if you have tips or better ideas!

Before and After Contest 2016

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2016