Custom Fitted 3D Print Glasses




About: I work best after midnight.

This is Instructable will explain how to make fitted 3d printed eyeglasses. I’ve always had trouble finding glasses that fit, so I decided to make them myself. If you want to make something you can wear everyday, please follow along.


I’m not a 3D printing expert (I’m a student in the healthcare field). The whole process was self taught and uses less than 10 tools.

Step 1: ​Gather Your Tools


- Ruler

- Computer

- 3d modeling software. I will be using Rhinoceros on the Mac. If you own a Mac you’re in luck. Rhino for Mac is an ongoing development project so it’s free!

- Illustrator (optional)

- Plastic frames for the hinges. I bought these at $5 and below for $3.25.

- Soldering iron to remove the hinges

- Epoxy to glue the hinges

- Flexible wire to measure the temple and nose bridge.

Step 2: Start Measuring!

Measure your face to set up boundaries. The lens should not go beyond the red box.

- Highest point: Top of eyebrows

- Lowest point: When the glasses hits your cheeks

- Towards the nose: When it touches your nose (duh)

- Towards temple: Midway through your temple

Step 3: Sketch It on Illustrator (optional But Easier)

Get a pair of frames you like and use that as your template

Open up Illustrator.

Draw your boundaries.

Draw the shape you like.

Save it as .AI and get ready to import it to your 3D software.

Step 4: Making the Frame

Open up your 3D software import your .AI file

Use the curve tool to start tracing over it. This will be your 2D frame.

To make it 3D, draw a cross section of the frame (the blocky looking Pac-Man). The dimensions I made are in the picture.

I used a rail sweep to make the frames 3D.

Step 5: Building the Nose Bridge

Making the temple requires 3 tools:

- Curve Tool

- Extrude Curve

- Extrude Surface

Draw a curve on the Front Plane.

Use the Extrude Curve (ExtrudeCrv) to make the curve a 2D curved sheet.

Use the Extrude Surface (ExtrudeSrf) to make the curved sheet 3D by adding depth.

The temple can be bent into many different shapes such as a keyhole style. This instructable is just to get the job done

Step 6: Build the Side and Hinge Holes

Use the Line Tool to build the sides of the frame.

Extrude the surface (ExtrudeSrf) to make the frames 3D.

Next is to cut a hole in the frame to place your metal hinges:

Draw a cuboid. Depending on the hinge, the dimensions of the cuboid will be different. If you bought similar metal hinges like myself, then follow the dimensions in the image.

Place the cuboid in the frame.

Use a Boolean split to make the a hole in the frame.

We will eventually put the hinges in the hole and epoxy it.

Next is the nose piece.

Step 7: Shape and Build the Nosepiece

Use the flexible wire to make the nose shape (this will be the angle you're trying to draw)

Use the curve tool to draw out the nose piece.

Offset surface (OffsetSrf) to make it 3D.

Rotate the nosepiece to fit your nose shape/angle.

You're frames are done!

Let's make the temple.

Step 8: Sculpt the Temple.

Get the flexible wire and curve it around your ear.

There should be two bends

1. Around the ear

2. Around the head

Step 9: Build the Temple

Now it's time to draw it on the computer.

Here are my measurements but everyone is different.

I extruded my frame by 3mm

I offset my frame by 6mm

Fillet edge to make the edges smoother. (If it's too complicated, you can always sand it down)

Step 10: Curve the Temple Around the Head

Draw the curve (purple) that should mimic the curve of your head.

Extrude the curve into a 2d plane

Draw another plane cutting through the temple.

'Flow along Surface' to make the temple curve along the purple plane

Step 11: Cut Out the Temple Area.

Draw a box to cut out a hole in the temple. The dimensions are listed.

The hole should be place about 1.5 mm from the bottom.

The hinges should fit in the slot.

Step 12: Assembly (Easy)

Remove the hinges from an old pair of glasses. I bought some plastic sunglasses for $3.

To remove it, use a Soldering iron:

Just epoxy the hinges on!

Step 13: My Prototypes

These are my prototypes. I'm currently wearing the bottom one.

Step 14: Done.

Wear it.

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    63 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Hello i'm impressed by your glasses and hope to use it for business.
    If you are intrested in, please send me reply.


    4 years ago on Step 14

    As an opticain, I see serious potential for this process, especially for those with high prescriptions. The higher the prescription, the more critial is correct fit. With a custom frame, there should be less need to make constant adjustments for those patients. The are other considerations. Eyewires could be shaped to better accomodate certain high powered lenses. And many folks have asymmetrical facial features that could be accomodated.

    I know nothing about laser printing other than that it's a very useful and versatile tool. You should seriously consider expanding upon on this, and get a patent before somebody beats you to it. Great instructable!

    10 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Wow that is great insight. My first reaction was that this has serious hazard potential: someone makes their own glasses without proper instruction on lens specifics (anyone remember The Jerk?) and gets migraines without knowing why. But as you point out- in the right hands- this has great potential.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    The proper order of things is the selection of the frame first. Lenses are then surfaced and shaped to place the lens' optical centers directly over the pupils when mounted in that specific frame. It's never accepted practice to take existing lenses and place them in a frame they weren't originally surfaced and shaped for, because the optical centers almost always won't be aligned correctly. And the stronger the prescription, worse problem this would create for the wearer.

    So, your custom fit frame would work just like any other with respect to the customary way of assembling eyeglasses. You build the frame, and the lab makes lenses for it. How the frame came into existance would be of no consequence to the lens lab.

    The only critical lens/frame interface for a frame maker is the groove geometry of the "eyewires" (the hole that actually holds the lens). There is a specific groove depth and bevel angle combination to be used to ensure the lens fits tightly. The depth/bevel configuration is pretty much standard industry wide. If you use that combination in the manufacture of your frame, any lab in the country could make and install lenses in it.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Nothing speaks against getting lenses from a fitted frame and designing a new frame that has the exact same glass positions though, but it can be adjusted in the temple and nose area for more comfort though, right?

    Then again lots of things would likely work for me personally, because my lenses are essentially really strong horizontal cylinders, no spherical strength, nearly zero angles.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    What exactly is this industry standard groove dimension? I looked it up and opticians seems to say there's no standard.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I agree with coptician but I cheated a bit.

    My first fully functional 3D printed glasses had old lenses placed in. I do not recommend that long term. As coptician mentioned, the optical centers won't be aligned. I wore this for 1-2 days to check for durability and fit.

    My current frame was sent to a optician.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I've left out a lot of details and tweaks. If I added everything in, it'll be 999 steps.

    This can also work for sunglasses.

    I just wanted to get the word out. I've been wearing my glasses since Feb 2015. No issues.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Hey coptician

    Thanks for the comment. It means a lot.

    I put a lot of time into background research such as PD, focal lengths, base curve etc. That's why I mentioned drawing the 'boundaries' around you face. If you notice, the center of red box is directly over my pupil. Function and fit is more important than a 'colorful style'

    As for asymmetrical face, I've noticed my right ear is 3mm lower than my left. Took my 20+ years of find out! I tweaked the frames a bit and now it fits perfectly. I'm sure you know little changes can make a big difference.

    I'm going to expand on this. I'm just saving up for a 3D printer.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    If you look at most people's glasses, their pupils are not centered in the "box". This is because frames are designed to aesthetically fill the face. But because peoples' pupils are closer to their nose than to their temples, the optical centers are not located on the geometric centers of the lenses. They are located closer to the nasal sides of the lenses. If you take those existing lenses from a factory frame and place the geometric centers directly over your pupils, the lens optical centers would likely be 5-20 mm too narow for your PD. The result is horizontal prism; likely to cause a headache in a few hours. Once again, the stronger the prescription, the more profound the effect.

    Add in multifocal lenses, ie lined bifocals and progressives, and a whole new set of vertical parameters must be matched.

    This is all written not as criticism, but as a hopefully quick primer as to the necessity of making new lenses for your custom fit frame. Your idea and execution is very well done. But to make those glasses truly comfortable and optically correct, they really do need need lenses surfaced and cut specifically for them.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    A little more explanation of "prism". When a lens has prism, it simply means that its optical center is not centered over the pupil. Prism causes not a blurring of an image, but the actual projection of that image to be moved on the retina. Prism imbalance occurs when the two lenses project their images in differing locations on the retina. The brain has to continuously resolve this difference in order to formulate one image to "see". That's where the fatigue and headaches come from.


    3 years ago

    That's a pretty good idea, The process doesn't look easy but you can make them 100% customized


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I would buy from you in a heartbeat. I have a small head and progressive lenses. I have never had glasses that really worked. You have my vote (if I can figure out how to vote for you).

    3 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I'm actually working on starting a small business making custom fitted eyeglasses. It might take a month or so but would you be interested in being one of the first testers?


    Reply 3 years ago

    Also do you need my email address so we con make a deal?


    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi my name is Chas H******* and it is close to impossible to find glasses that fit me properly/comfortable can I be the first? I'm happy pay for a good pair of glasses, how much for a pair in green friend?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Standard bevel is 45 degrees. To get a handle on all aspects of fitting lenses in frames, search "optical boxing system", it'll answer lots of questions you may have. The beveled portion of a lens is included in the "A" and "B" measurements when using the boxing system.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I don't think you need to go to so much trouble measuring because lenses don't need a frame to pop into. All you need are the temples and a nose piece that are secured to the lenses with screws. Temples and nose pieces can be made any size and the lenses can be made any size or shape. Once the dimension of the nose piece is known, a pupillary distance measurement can tell the optician where the center of the lens should be. Unlike the rest of you, I'm a technological idiot, so if any of you could make this for me, I'd pay you!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I'm going to start selling custom fitted frames in 2-3 months. Would you be interested in being a beta tester?