How can I repair my broken plastic-framed glasses?
October 14, 2004 3:39 AM   Subscribe

I foolishly left my plastic-frame eyeglasses lying on my bed last week, and managed to roll onto them and snap them in half right at the bridge. Is there any hope of repairing them? [mi]

I really love these frames and they are a couple years old and were hard-to-find when I originally bought them, so finding the same model to replace them now is unlikely.

I'm currently making do with contacts, so the repair is not extremely urgent, but it would be nice if they were fixed soon. However, my somewhat remote location (I currently live in Banff, Alberta, and have no car) is making that difficult. The only optician in town laughed at me when I asked if she could repair them, and suggested I just buy new frames.

I'd be willing to mail them away, but am looking for recommendations for places to send them for repair. I am in Canada so Canadian companies would be preferable, but other suggestions are also welcome.
posted by sanitycheck to Grab Bag (8 answers total)
A repair done with industrial strength epoxy or super-glue might hold for a while as long as you mate the two surfaces together very precisely while the glue sets. Be careful, too, not to get glue on your fingers and then in your eyes. Super-glue was originally designed to glue human flesh, if my memory serves.

This repair, in my experience, will only be temporary - I think basement work benches and kitchen utility drawers around World are littered with similarly broken eyeglasses abortively repaired and then, in despair, stashed away in hope that - one day - a superior glue would restore them to service.

Modern medical science will probably first invent procedures - even better than Lasix - for curing vision problems and so there all the eyeglasses will lay about about in wait for a day that will never come, in patient expectation of a glue which will never be.
posted by troutfishing at 5:30 AM on October 14, 2004

* sheds a bitter tear *
posted by troutfishing at 5:32 AM on October 14, 2004

I've never been able satisfactorily to repair spectacles broken in this way. If by some miracle you manage to glue them so that the frame is in the same alignment as pre-break - as the lenses are supposed to be precise distances from your eyes - you'll just start worrying about when they'll fall apart again.

You'll have to buy a new pair anyway at some point, so why not do it now and save the inevitable hassle?
posted by carter at 5:59 AM on October 14, 2004

I had my glasses do this at work and I super glued them back together. I got lucky the first time & people couldn't tell that they'd been fixed. After a week or two they fell apart, though. I don't think they can be fixed.
posted by Wood at 8:08 AM on October 14, 2004

You might try JB Weld, as that's about the strongest glue I've found.

Also, on a lark, you might try plastic model cement, such as Testor's. This effectively dissolves the plastic and allows the two surfaces to "melt" together and become one. I'm not sure if eyeglass-frame plastic (or any of its components) will melt this way, though.

Whatever you do, it will probably be temporary, but you might get a few weeks or even a few months out of the deal before the stress of use breaks the frames again.

Super-glue was originally designed to glue human flesh, if my memory serves.

Not sure, but I've heard it was invented as a wartime quick stand-in for stitches, possibly by the Japanese.
posted by Shane at 8:57 AM on October 14, 2004

You might try Gorilla Glue. It's a new (AFAIK) adhesive that handles more materials than epoxy or the superglues.
posted by tommasz at 10:35 AM on October 14, 2004

gorilla glue is fabulous, but it puffs up. you have to be certain to use very little, so as not to push the pieces apart, and it's very very difficult to prevent bleed on the edges of what you're gluing. it also stains skin. but boy howdy, is it strong glue.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:48 AM on October 14, 2004

I've epoxied the bridge on the spare set I keep in my car.

Three tricks:
1) Find a good epoxy, Banff will probably only have that horrible clear five minute stuff unless there is a good hardware store around.

2) Pin the break. By this I mean get the smallest drill bit you can find and drill matching holes in the two pieces. Insert a pin, piece of wire or similiar object into the holes when you epoxy the pieces together. This acts as a reinforcement.

3) Tape up everything you don't want to epoxy with masking tape before you mix the epoxy. This way you don't have to try and get an epoxy finger print off a plastic lense.

Gorilla glue is a brand name for polyurathane adhesive. If you try it make sure to wet the surfaces before clamp up. Poly glues use water to cure.
posted by Mitheral at 3:51 PM on October 14, 2004

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