Many eyeglass frames are made from acrylic. Acrylic is durable, can be manufactured in any colour imaginable and is cost effective, which makes it a favourable material for eyeglass frame manufacturers. While acrylic is an extremely strong plastic, eyeglass frames made from acrylic can break. Professional frame repair or replacement can be expensive. You can save time and money by repairing the eyeglass frames yourself with the use of an acrylic solvent cement.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Acrylic solvent cement
- Squeeze bottle applicator
- Small spring clamps
- Painter's masking tape
- Utility knife
- Acrylic buffing compound
Examine the break. Where the eyeglasses are broken will determine how easily they can be repaired. If the break is in an area where there is a lot of stress, the pieces must fit together cleanly, otherwise the joint will be weak and susceptible to further breakage in the future. A clean fit is one in which the two pieces line up with one another, without a large gap between them.
Fit the broken pieces together. Often, the shape of the broken pieces becomes distorted where the break took place. Fitting the broken pieces together will determine whether or not this has happened. If the pieces are distorted and do not fit together tightly, dip only the broken pieces in boiling water to soften them. Allow them to sit in the boiling water for one to two minutes. Remove them from the boiling water. Bend them back in place. Hold them together, while they cool down, with a small spring clamp.
Fill up the squeeze bottle applicator with acrylic solvent cement. Fill the bottle to the halfway point. Apply painter's masking tape around the break to keep solvent cement from marring the surface of the acrylic frame. Tape the lenses as well to prevent cement from accidentally spilling onto the surface, which is often chemically coated. If the acrylic solvent cement comes in contact with the acrylic lens, it will melt its surface, leaving a noticeable scar that can impede vision.
Glue the broken pieces together. Squeeze the bottle of solvent cement, then reduce the finger pressure on the bottle. This creates a vacuum, which keeps the cement from spilling as the bottle is turned upside down to apply the cement. Acrylic cement is a solvent-based product that fuses or melts the acrylic together, which is why it works better than glues that merely grip on to the acrylic's surface. Apply a drop of cement onto one side of the break. Connect the two pieces together, holding them in place with a small spring clamp. Allow at least one hour to pass before handling the frames.
Scrape off any residual cement using a utility knife. Solvent cement marring can be removed by using an acrylic buffing compound. Apply the buffing compound to the marred area with a 100 per cent cotton cloth. Buff the damage out before wearing the glasses.
Tips and warnings
- Use acrylic solvent cement rather than epoxy-based glues because acrylic cement actually fuses the plastic together, which is similar to welding it together. Epoxy-based glues only grip the plastic's surface, so the glue joint becomes weak after a few months, especially when the joint is in a stressful location (such as the bridge or arms of the glasses). Acrylic buffing compounds, for light scratching, can be used to clean up the frames. However, caution should be applied when using this compound on the lenses. Many lenses have coatings on them that will become damaged when buffed.
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