Introduction: DIY Wooden Sunglasses

About: it's only impossible if you stop to think about it

Hi I am form Norway.

My first attempt at making wooden sunglasses was 4 years ago, but that attempt did not succeed very well. But about half a year ago I finally succeeded. My research in the project started basically from scratch. At the beginning I had only a very basic homebuilt cnc(I still use) it and no clue about how to program it, neither how to draw in a CAM/CAD software. But now as I am 18 years old I know a lot more :P, have more experience, but my English is still rusty.

I have developed a design witch looks and works very well. The shape of the shades is similar to the oakley frogskins , infact it uses the same lenses. Naturally that is also the reason they look similar.
I think I have spent more than 30 hours developing the final usable design. The same design I will be posting here, in all the formats I have available. Please feel free to use my design, I only made it for fun. I am making this step by step guide so more people can use my design, and make cool wooden glasses.

This instructable is based on the use of a cnc machine. It is also possible to make the shapes with a laser cutter, or by hand, but then you must change the design a litte bit.

1: Order leneses
. i recomend using high end lenses. The lenses i have used are oakley frogskins lenses. Therefore i recomend ordering them if you are using my plans. When it comes to color i recomend using either black, brown or gray. Vibrant colors will draw attention away from the wood, and is therefore not suitable. I recommend polarized lenses, but it is not a must.

here is a link displaying available frogskinns (replica) lenses on ebay.
These might be a bit expensive, but I strongly recommend using quality lenses.

1.5 Order/salvage hinges
You will need hinges, obviously. I found this site selling hinges suitable for wooden sunglasses. I think all the models in the link can be used. I think these would work best with my design (TH-24 5.0mm) or something similar.

Or you can buy a pair of “cheap plastic sunglasses” with metal hinges, and loot the hinges. This is what I have done with almost all the pairs I have made. The exception is when I used spring hinges on the oak pair, but this was not a success. Because the hinges were lacking a friction surface therefore the hinges did not stick to the wood.
The metal hinges salvaged from “cheap sunglasses” do have “hooks” witch makes them suitable for inserting in wood, but they are quite hard to mount correctly. This I will be covering later.

note: not all the pictures are form the same pair of glases.

Step 1: Design

As i have said i have i suitable design, which i will be posting below. Feel free to edit mine, or use it as it is. Almost anything can be done as long as you keep basic shape of the lenses as it is. The file is made in autodesk inventor. I made the drawings in inventor, and it worked just fine, but it is not the best 2d Cad i know off.

From lens to CAD.

This Is how I transferred the shape of the lenses into cad.. Start by taking your lens, press it down on a flat piece of paper, then trace around it with small pen/pencil.(see picture) Place a ruler on the paper, then take a picture. The picture will be used to provide the correct scale in CAD program later. In your CAD program upload the picture in JPG, this is possible in most CAD programs. When you have your picture in cad, make a reference line the same length as your ruler. Then scale the picture so the line you drew is the same length as the ruler. Now you have 1:1 scale. Now all that is left is to trace over the picture you uploaded.
NOTE: take the picture exactly above the lens, and maybe you need to crop the picture in paint before you import it to you CAD software.

Other alternative, tape your lens onto the computer screen and draws around it. I did this the first time, but it is not the best solution!

Once you have your outline of the lens in CAD you can design whatever you want. The simplest approach is to draw one side of the frame, then use MIRROR command to make the other side. Happy designing.

the files are in: pdf,dxf and inventor part.
Update: I have now uploaded the files in dxf+dwg 2007 version, this files will work for most of you. All the parts are in a single document, including a “laser cut” piece. All the pieces are in the first pdf file.
The other dxf and inventor files are in 2014 format.

Cam software:
You will also need a cam file,but i see no point in posting my files here. Because i dont think the file i have made wil fitt your cnc or laser cutter. The simpelest cam software i know of is cambam they have a free trail.

Step 2: Wood and Cutting Wood.

3: Prepare materials
First off all you need wood, obviously. And you need to cut it to the right dimensions.

I recomend hardwood, but not the hardest wood you can get. walnut, oak or wood with similar properties as walnut. I tried using cumaru once but it was not a sucess.

I resawed the wood to the desired dimensions on my bandsaw. Google resawing if you do not know how.

dimensions i made and used: (150mm*55mm*1.8mm) X3

(150mm*55mm*2.4mm) X1

After cutting the pices i sanded them smooth by hand.

Step 3: Cutting the Parts and Gluing

the frame consist of six different wooden pieces,Two pieces sandwiched to together making up each of the two “pins”. And two pieces sandwiched to together with the lenses in between making up the main frame.

How to glue the pins:
Start by making a mold with the preferable curve, an example showed in pictures below, the width of the mold shod be about 60mm. Just cut a plank with a slight curve. When gluing you apply wood glue to bout pieces of wood, then hold them together to make the glue stick. But don’t use too much glue it might get very slippery when you apply the clamps. The clamps used are standard spring-loaded wood clamps. Start by applying a clamp on the flat end of the pins, try not to make the two pieces slip out of alignment. Then apply more clamps to secure the pieces firmly to the mold. Try to remove excess glue to prevent the wood form gluing to the mold.

Keep in mind the two pins needs to be mirror images of them self, so don’t make two with the same bend. What is really cool is that the pins naturally form a slight bend towards the end because of torsion stiffness of the wood, caused by the grain direction in the laminate.

Keep the pieces in the mold to the glue is fully dried 1-5 hours, depends on the glue used. Normal wood glue works great. The shape will then be permanent.

How to glue the main frame:
Start by making a mold with the preferable curve, an example showed in pictures below. When laminating the pieces with the lenses in between. Start by doing a dry test to see that everything fits correctly, the same goes to the pins.

The main frame consist of two different pieces
one 2.4 mm thick piece with a counter sink the same debt as the thickness of the lenses used, normally 0.4-1mm. see pictures below.

And one piece 1.8 mm thick without a countersink, see pictures. The outline of both shapes is added as a pdf.

If you are using a laser cutter you will need 3 pieces instead of two. The
third piece will have the same thickness as the lenses used. This piece will be sandwiched together in between two identical 1.8mm pieces whit a smaller diameter around the lenses, compared to the piece in the middle. See picture of the 1.8mm piece.

If you are using a laser cutter you will need 3 pieces
instead of two. The third piece will have the same thickness as the lenses used. This piece will be sandwiched together in between two identical 1.8mm pieces whit a smaller diameter around the lenses, compared to the piece in the middle. See picture of the 1.8mm piece.

Make sure the “inside” of the frame is sanded smooth before proceeding to the gluing proses.

Add tape to the lenses to prevent glue from sticking and scratches to be formed. When gluing, make the 2.4mm piece with the counter sink the back piece and the flat piece the front piece of the frame. This order works best. Gluing of the frame is difficult alone, but simpler with a friend (recommended). Add glue to bout the pieces of wood, use as little glue as possible to prevent the pieces from slipping, and glue form spilling over the lenses. Normal wood glue can be scraped off the lenses quit easily. Place clamps to hold everything together.

See the pictures.

Step 4: Adding Noes Piece

After the frame is finished drying you can add nosepieces, before the final sanding.

Adding a noese piece is optional but recommended, it makes the glasses fit more comfortably. The drawing below illustrates an example of a nose piece, you can make. The scale of the drawing I 1:1. Begin by drawing a shape you like on a piece of wood, then cut two shapes out. Then you glue the pieces to the frame of the glasses. And sand those to the desired shape are achieved.

Use wood glue or an epoxy based glue.

Step 5: Rough Sanding

Sand the frame and the pins to the desired roundness/smoothness. When sanding the nose piece try to make the glasses fit your nose/face. When sanding the pins you need to add two slight angles, see pictures.

Step 6: Adding Hinges

The metal hingesI use in this pair are salvaged from an old pair of sunglasses. Removing the metal hinges is very simple, by using a soldering iron. Hold the hot tip agents the hinges and they become hot and the fall out, easily. See picture of the hinges below. As you see they have a small hook used to add friction and increase the surface area. To make the hinges fit in the wood you need to make a hole. See picture for details. The holes can be made with a dremel type tool.

When you have made all the holes in bout the frame and the pins you are ready to glue everything together. Use quick epoxy, and only glue one piece at a time. This step is time consuming and delicate work, bee patient. When gluing start with the frame. Make sure both sides get the same angle downwards. To make them fit firmly around your head, it is best to first make them too small. This way you can ensure you get the correct fit and symmetry between the sides.

I have run into several problems when it comes to the type of epoxy that I have used. I have mostly used quick epoxy a.k.a fast drying epoxy (5min) mostly because of the convenience. My experience wit quick epoxys is that they are diferent form brand to brand. I have tried many types. But overall I find the more inexpensive ones to work the best. If you are having problems with the hinges falling out I recommend changing epoxy. You can also use slow curing epoxy 4 houers ++. But then it will take you forever to glue the hinges.. It is also very important to let the epoxy cure at rest. By that I mean not moving the parts as the glue is curing. You can move them a little tough ;) but if you move them too much the epoxy becomes brittle. At last mix the epoxy a long time!! 1 min even dough the package says differently, if the cured epoxy becomes sticky this is a sign of too bad mixing.

If you are using screw on hinges or spring hinges, the proses is slightly different, but much the same.

Step 7: Finishing

Finally now that you have managed to glue on the hinges you are ready for the finishing.Now you can peel of that miserable tape, if you haven’t all ready..Go gradually upwards in the sandpaper texture and stop when you have reached 400 or more. Now you can wood finish to enhance the grain texture and make them more durable. I love to use olive oil, because it is simple, and works. I have also used a combination of beeswax and olive oil, this is made by mixing 3 parts olive oil to 1 part beeswax and heating it up until the wax melts. Then make it cool down gradually and stir the mixture every 5 minutes, to prevent it from distinguishing.

Instead of olive oil use mineral oil, it is better suited. There are also many different wood oils/waxes you can purchase and use.But epoxy/polyurethane based finishes are not recommended.

Congratulations. You have succeeded, or maybe not. But I hope you found some inspiration in this instructable, and feel free to ask questions in the comments. I hope my English didn’t make you crazy. I will be adding more pictures soon and some more info on the parts I didn’t cover completely.

please vote for this instructabel if you liked it :) I love to build thing, I have many projects that I will continue to post here on instructables, and a laser cutter will come in handy to make many new different builds!

Right now I`m working on a medical technology project(I`m helping my brother who is developing a medical device as his masters-degree). He is developing a catheter based procedure, for now it’s only in 3d models, so a 3d printer would be great to check if it’s possible or not. Furthermore the 3d printer will be used to make parts for more projects to come!

Please vote for the full-spectrum contest!

If I win, the printer and laser cutter will be used a lot, and there will come lots of more instructables.

Best regards H.H

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