How Are Glasses Frames Made?

Today, glasses can not only help you see better, they can be an important component of your personal style. In fact, the right glasses can help improve your image as well as helping you focus on the important stuff, and that's great when your only real alternatives are to go with uncomfortable contacts or to risk missing out on the details.

But if you're wondering how are glasses frames made, the best brands in the world -- including INMIX -- make glasses by hand in specialty shops and production floors specifically designed for the process. While many companies may merely be front-ends for large-scale production located on the other side of the world, the best glasses frames are made in house by artisans and experts that have years, if not decades of experience, under their belts.

Design

Before any glasses frames can be made, they must be designed. That means deriving inspiration from just about anything and distilling it down to a simple eyeglass frame using great materials that will surely stand the test of time. Once the concept is defined and the style is set, a prototype is created. If all looks good, it's on to the next phase.

Materials

The next step in how glasses frames are made is to use acetate, which is a sort of super-strong, premium and nylon-based plastic that will stand up to the rigors of daily wear and abuse, as well as being hypoallergenic. After all, you don't want your stunning new glasses to break on you when you least expect it. The great thing about acetate is that it's extremely light for its strength, making for glasses that are significantly stronger than they look.

Some brands may create their own acetate sheets or get them delivered, but the result is the same, and it remains one of the lightest eyeglass frame materials available on the market. We'd go a step further and say that it's the best material for glasses frames, but some may prefer lightweight titanium and other materials.

Production

After the acetate has been selected for color and pattern, the next step is to cut the shape using an advanced CNC machine. At this point most manufacturers rely on ultra-sophisticated robots to do the exacting work, and a ridge is created inside the frames for the lenses to be affixed. Afterwards, the resulting frames are polished and waxed to remove any burs and imperfections that could affect fit.

The front face of the glasses will also need to be attached to the temples (sides) via small dowel screws that are responsible for holding all three pieces together. Hinges must be flexible enough to ensure comfort while also being strong enough to withstand bumps and falls, and the frames themselves must also stand up to the rigors of daily use.

Before the glasses frames are done, the entire unit will need to be checked to determine that they meet the exacting standards set forth in the production process and that no defects are present that may cause a problem down the road.

Lenses

While they're not exactly part of how eyeglasses frames are made, no pair of glasses would be complete without the all-important lenses. Lenses are commonly custom-cut and polished to order, as well as receiving anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings to ensure longevity. Today, most lenses are made from impact-resistant polycarbonate that are also good for your eyes by blocking 100% of UVA and UVB rays.

Lenses themselves can be single vision, reading, bifocal or varifocal depending on the prescription. Once the lenses have been created, they go through a precise sizing via a CNC machine, and only then can they be carefully mounted into the matching frame via an optical frame heater. Now that the final pair of glasses is taking shape, it's off to quality assurance where your glasses are verified against the prescription. 

Packaging

If you've ever tried to keep a pair of glasses safe and secure without a convenient carrying case, you know how important that little case can be. Stuck in a bag or backpack, modern glasses are tough, but not indestructible. Given enough time and abuse, no glasses will last forever. But if you treat your glasses right and put them away in the case when you're not wearing them, you can expect to get years if not decades out of your beautiful new glasses.

The great thing about the case that comes with your glasses is that it's specially made to protect the shape and materials inside. The best glasses cases are made from die-cut, high-GSM paper that both protects and exudes quality, as well as giving you a place to store a microfiber cleaning cloth that can be used to keep your glasses in tip-top condition at all hours of the day and night.

More About How Glasses Frames Are Made

Since glasses frames are so tricky to manufacture and build, most -- if not all -- glasses are made by hand in specialty shops and manufacturing floors dedicated to the process. It requires advanced tech and an attention to detail that you can't get just anywhere, as well as a reliance on automated processes that require advanced knowledge of how glasses frames are made. That means anyone making glasses frames must know what they're doing, and there aren't really any shortcuts when it comes to making high-quality acetate frames.

How Long Does It Take To Make Glasses?

From start to finish, a pair of glasses can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the design and finishing touches required. New models may take a bit longer than older models that have had their processes dialed in over several production runs, but the days of glasses taking months to make and deliver are long gone.

That said, making glasses at scale is incredibly challenging, and only the best companies dare to process batches of glasses within their warehouses and other production areas.

If you're interested in glasses made from the best materials available, INMIX makes beautiful acetone glasses at a cost well below our competitors. Find your next pair today!