Replacing hinge in plastic-framed glasses

Broken glasses hinge

I’ve broken numerous pairs of sunglasses at the hinge where the temples connect to the rest of the frame.  As frustrating as it was to just toss the otherwise useful glasses, it just seemed like too much hassle and expense to try to fix them.  The surfaces seemed too rough and small to solder the broken hinge pieces back together, and how could you replace the entire hinge when it’s embedded in plastic? A friend really liked the look of a cheap pair of sunglasses, so she had them converted to eyeglasses by an optician, an operation that was cheaper than normal frames, but expensive enough to warrant trying a little harder to break the broken hinges.

It turns out it was relatively painless to replace the broken hinge with one from an inexpensive pair of sunglasses.

What you’ll need

  • A broken or cheap pair of sunglasses from a thrift store, gas station, or a broken pair you have lying around.  Make sure that the way the hinges mount match the glasses you want to repair and that the size of the hinge matches the connector on temple piece.
  • Soldering iron machine
  • Metal tweezers
  • Small screwdriver

Step 1: Remove the temples from the donor glasses

Using the small screwdriver, remove the temple pieces from each side of the donor sunglasses. This will make it easier remove the hinges.  When doing this, try sliding the temple piece of the glasses you’re going to fix onto the hinge of the donor glasses, to make sure they’re compatible.

Step 2: Remove hinges from the donor glasses

We’ll repeat this process to remove the broken hinge from the glasses we want to fix, so this is a good chance to practice being steady with the soldering iron, applying the right amount of heat, and removing the hinge with minimum damage to the frame, before working with our good frames.  Hold the tip of the soldering iron to the hinge piece, being careful not to touch the plastic. With your other hand, grip the hinge with tweezers.  As the plastic around the hinge melts from the heat transfer, gently pull the hinge up and out of the frame, trying to pull as straight as possible.  I didn’t have to heat the hinge very long to melt the plastic enough to extract the hinge.

Removing the hinge from the donor glasses

Repeat this process with the other hinge to practice your technique and to have an extra part in case you drop and lose one hinge.

Step 3: Remove the hinge from the glasses you’re repairing

Remove the broken hinge from the glasses you’re repairing, using the same process that you used to remove the hinge from the donor glasses.


Removing hinge from glasses to be repaired

Broken glasses with hinge removed

Step 4: Replace the broken hinge

Grip one of the hinges from the donor glasses with the tweezers and position it in the hole left where the broken hinge was removed.  Try to hold it as straight and flush with the rest of the frame as possible.

Inserting the replacement hinge

With your other hand, touch the hinge with the tip of the soldering iron until the plastic of the frame melts around the replacement hinge.  Be careful not to melt the plastic too much or push the hinge too deep into the frame. If needed, use the tweezers or the soldering iron tip to adjust the position of the hinge.

Positioning the replacement hinge

Step 5: Reattach the temple pieces

Using the small screwdriver, replace the temple piece. You’re done! You’ve just saved your favorite pair of glasses from the landfill.

Secret performances

In a thread about recent shutdowns of houses doing DIY shows in Chicago and the best way to balance keeping things on the downlow and still accessible, someone shared this awesome piece of history from The Missoula Oblongata:

At the time, Missoula’s punk and DIY community was undergoing a crackdown by the fire marshal, who had systematically shut down almost every local venue that wasn’t a bar. This meant there was no affordable and accessible place for young people to organize concerts, art shows, or events. When people responded to this by organizing shows in their own houses, the fire marshal found the houses, shut down the shows, and threatened arrests.

In response to this strange and grave situation, The Missoula Oblongata’s first production was a performance of Macbeth, which we held in secret in the basement that we’d been renting out for rehearsing. The space was only accessible through an unmarked door hidden in an alley. There was no public advertising for the performance. The performers (local artists and friends who had never been in a play before) each handed out sealed invitations to people they knew (not including the fire marshal, with whom we were all now well acquainted). The invitations instructed them to meet at The Oxford (a local dive) on April 6th at 8pm wearing a red carnation. Sure enough, on that day, at 8pm, an usher dressed like a skeleton arrived and escorted the entire carnation-wearing horde from The Oxford to the alley and the unmarked door, and then down into the basement to watch the play.

DIY spaces and gentrification

About the map

This is a map of Chicago community areas, the number of DIY spaces in each area, and the socioeconomic state of the neighborhood based on an index developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The index used statistical changes in factors like median family income, percentage of families below the poverty level, median house value, percent owner-occupied housing, race/ethnicity, percent of school age children, percent of workers who are managers and professionals and percent of adults with a college education to describe how Chicago neighborhoods had changed over time.

The numbers in the markers represent the number of DIY spaces in the community area.

The shading of the community areas represents the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood:

Dark Gray Moderate decline
Light Gray Mild decline
Green Gentrification
Purple Poverty
Mint Green Positive Change

DIY punk and gentrification

DIY punk spaces are often located in less resourced neighborhoods.  These neighborhoods offer less expensive rent that is affordable even with income from sporadic part-time work or odd jobs, housing stock that might accommodate many roommates or unused warehouse space that can be converted to a music venue and living space.  Neighborhoods housing DIY spaces may feature lower density housing which makes it easier to have band practice or shows without disturbing neighbors or empty lots that could be utilized for projects like community gardens.  In some cases, people participating in the DIY punk subculture may fetishize less resourced neighborhoods, or neighborhoods with a large population of people from racial or ethnic minority groups as a reaction to white, suburban culture or a more affluent urban (“yuppie”) culture.

Daniel Traber’s article, “L.A.’s “White Minority”: Punk and the Contradictions of Self-Marginalization”, describes the fetishizing of poverty in the early days of American punk and hardcore culture in Los Angeles.  Contemporary DIY culture complicates this dynamic.  With community and social justice as core values of the subculture, middle-class DIY subcultural participants may create institutions in their neighborhood for their friends that are also available assets for the community at large.  Punks may create a neighborhood community garden, a collective bicycle workshop or an arts space with free events for neighborhood children.  However, these institutions, and even the presence of white, middle-class residents, may also make the neighborhood more appealing to other middle-class people and to developers creating housing speculating that more affluent residents will move to the neighborhood.  Over time, both the punks and the neighborhood’s original residents may be priced out of the neighborhood.  Furthermore, the conversion of industrial or warehouse space to housing, art studios, or gallery and performance spaces removes light industrial infrastructure that could create needed jobs in a neighborhood.

Where are DIY spaces located in Chicago?

I mapped all music venues that held events listed on the DIY Chicago calendar from the calendar’s inception in January 2010 to April 2010.  These spaces were located in neighborhoods such as Logan Square, Humboldt Park and Bridgeport.  I mapped the community areas, boundaries used to aggregate census data, containing DIY spaces as well as the number of spaces in each area.

Do Chicago DIY spaces follow trajectories of gentrification?

In 2003, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago created an index of neighborhood change based on census data from the decennial census from 1970-2000.  The index looked at a number of factors such as total population, the percentage of population of different racial groups, median family income and percentage of the population with different educational levels.  Based on how these factors changed in neighborhoods relative to the city as a whole, the researchers labeled the neighborhoods as experiencing dynamics such as poverty, mild decline, gentrification and positive change.

Neighborhoods with DIY spaces tended to be in neighborhoods that were gentrifying or in decline.  While the research is based on data from the 2000 census, 2010 projections from EASI, provided by the Metro Chicago Information Center show that the median family incomes in all of the community areas are likely to increase from 2000-2010.  This suggests that trajectories of gentrification detected in 2000 are likely to have continued or neighborhoods may be starting to gentrify.

What does this mean?

It is difficult to assess whether the effect of DIY punk spaces and residents on a neighborhood is positive or negative.

A recent National Public Radio story about a low rate of census return in a gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood sparked debate about whether or not the young, itinerant  creative-class residents felt less connected to the neighborhood and were thus less likely to return their census forms.  If this is the case, neighborhoods could be deprived of valuable federal funding for community resources.

On the other hand, the Chicago’s 49th Ward which includes the Rogers Park neighborhood, home to one long-time house that has shows in its basement, recently conducted a participatory budgeting process where all residents of the ward, aged 16 and older, could vote on how around $1 million in city menu money could be spent.  Many of the proposed projects reflected grassroots, creative culture in the neighborhood.  The process offers one model where DIY priorities might be institutionalized and still effect the culture of the neighborhood, even as demographics change.

Ultimately, it may be whether or not DIY spaces and the people who inhabit them stay in the neighborhood that decides their impact as the neighborhood changes.

An Experiment: Nate Powell

Nate Powell has performed in bands like Soophie Nun Squad and now sings in the melodic hardcore/metal band Universe.  He also draws comics and illustrations with his graphic novel “Swallow Me Whole” winning the 2009 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Novel.

Nate was in Chicago this weekend on a mini-tour with Universe scheduled around the C2E2 comic book convention.   During a break from signing books and talking to comic-book enthusiasts, Nate talked to me about the weekend and balancing passions and obligations in his life.

Visit Nate’s website, See My Brother Dance, to see some of his work or visit Universe’s MySpace page for upcoming shows and to hear some songs.

homewoods bowl

Homewoods Bowl Construction

Pat posted this photo of the construction of the bowl at Homewoods.  I have yet to go out there since last summer, but it looks sick!  They need folks to help with the pours today and monday at around 1p.

madison, wi diy spaces

Justin, a boy that I met at PIX fest and when we played in Madison pointed me to this article about a diy warehouse space near where the freewheel bike project used to be.  The space is currently shut down as a result of publicity and related enforcement of building codes.  The tone of the article is frustrating and example of someone maybe not being totally ill-intentioned, but just not getting it.