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Thread: Looking for a little help cutting lenses

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    Confused Looking for a little help cutting lenses

    Hello all. I found this forum while searching about using a lensometer. Let me start by saying that I have no expertise with any of the equipment I am using but I am learning. What I'm trying to do is simple, cut sunglass lenses to fit smaller frames. It should be simple but it is proving to be not so easy.

    I collect Oakley sunglasses and have for about 26 years. The older ones are almost impossible to find lenses for and I don't want to use aftermarket lenses. So, I buy lenses for newer frames that have the same base curve but a larger lens and have an optician cut them down to size. It works perfectly but is getting expensive. If I can do it myself I can save a ton of money and also save money for a few friends. That and I like to learn how to do stuff. This is the same thing I went through when learning how to take apart the old Oakley X Metals to tune them up. Now I can do them in no time and it's more satisfying to do it myself. Most of the frames that I have that I want to cut lenses for are 8.75 base curve. I have a stack of lenses to cut and I've made some progress but I'm stuck now and could use a little help. You'll see I went about this entirely backwards.

    I first bought a machine to cut the lenses. Then I realized that I needed a pattern first. So I bought a machine to make patterns and a bunch of blank templates. I next discovered that I need a lens blocker so I bought one of those. The little sticky pads that came with one of the machines were total garbage so I found some and ordered a box. The reviews were good and they were one of the only ones that I could actually buy so I did it. They stick good and come off clean. I don't know what else I could want. This is where I'm having limited success. When I block the lens to make the pattern or the donor lens, I can pretty much eyeball the center. Eyeballing it works ok when I want to cut a 40mm lens down to 30mm but when I want to cut a 40mm lens down to 35mm, I need a little better than eyeballing it. So I went back to researching and found I needed a lensometer. Or lensmeter. Or focimiter. Whatever it is, it should do the trick. I ordered that but I cant get it to work. All of the videos I've watched show 3 lines or maybe two sets of 3 lines that cross and help locate the center of the lens. This one I have has a ring of dots that don't really do much. I can focus them and that's about it. I realize that they may not do anything when I have a plain no RX lens in it, but when I put my wife's eyeglasses in it, the dots still didn't do anything. So now I'm stuck. I need to find the center of sunglass lenses with no power and I'm not sure I even have the right tool. Is the lensometer wjhat I need? Is there any other way to find and mark the center of the lenses for blocking?

    Any and all help is appreciated. There is a series of videos on youtube that I first watched before I started any of this. He made it look very easy, and yes, I watched them all and still bought everything backwards. The first one is here



    These are the machines I bought with the exception of the lensometer, the one I got was much smaller. I have not bought anything yet to bevel the lenses, I want to make sure I can cut the larger lenses before I buy anything else.

    I apologize if I got any terminology wrong, I'm new

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiRacer420 View Post
    Hello all. I found this forum while searching about using a lensometer. Let me start by saying that I have no expertise with any of the equipment I am using but I am learning. What I'm trying to do is simple, cut sunglass lenses to fit smaller frames. It should be simple but it is proving to be not so easy.

    I collect Oakley sunglasses and have for about 26 years. The older ones are almost impossible to find lenses for and I don't want to use aftermarket lenses. So, I buy lenses for newer frames that have the same base curve but a larger lens and have an optician cut them down to size. It works perfectly but is getting expensive. If I can do it myself I can save a ton of money and also save money for a few friends. That and I like to learn how to do stuff. This is the same thing I went through when learning how to take apart the old Oakley X Metals to tune them up. Now I can do them in no time and it's more satisfying to do it myself. Most of the frames that I have that I want to cut lenses for are 8.75 base curve. I have a stack of lenses to cut and I've made some progress but I'm stuck now and could use a little help. You'll see I went about this entirely backwards.

    I first bought a machine to cut the lenses. Then I realized that I needed a pattern first. So I bought a machine to make patterns and a bunch of blank templates. I next discovered that I need a lens blocker so I bought one of those. The little sticky pads that came with one of the machines were total garbage so I found some and ordered a box. The reviews were good and they were one of the only ones that I could actually buy so I did it. They stick good and come off clean. I don't know what else I could want. This is where I'm having limited success. When I block the lens to make the pattern or the donor lens, I can pretty much eyeball the center. Eyeballing it works ok when I want to cut a 40mm lens down to 30mm but when I want to cut a 40mm lens down to 35mm, I need a little better than eyeballing it. So I went back to researching and found I needed a lensometer. Or lensmeter. Or focimiter. Whatever it is, it should do the trick. I ordered that but I cant get it to work. All of the videos I've watched show 3 lines or maybe two sets of 3 lines that cross and help locate the center of the lens. This one I have has a ring of dots that don't really do much. I can focus them and that's about it. I realize that they may not do anything when I have a plain no RX lens in it, but when I put my wife's eyeglasses in it, the dots still didn't do anything. So now I'm stuck. I need to find the center of sunglass lenses with no power and I'm not sure I even have the right tool. Is the lensometer wjhat I need? Is there any other way to find and mark the center of the lenses for blocking?

    Any and all help is appreciated. There is a series of videos on youtube that I first watched before I started any of this. He made it look very easy, and yes, I watched them all and still bought everything backwards. The first one is here



    These are the machines I bought with the exception of the lensometer, the one I got was much smaller. I have not bought anything yet to bevel the lenses, I want to make sure I can cut the larger lenses before I buy anything else.

    I apologize if I got any terminology wrong, I'm new
    I suggest you buy a Box-O-Graph from Hilco or us as we distribute their products. This allows you to layout a lens on a grid and find the mechanical center. A lensometer will not work on a plano lens. Another method would be to trace the lens on a piece of paper than carefully draw a box around it and then find the center of the box. Then lay the lens back on the tracing and transfer the center mark to the lens. Neither method is exact but if your careful should be "close enough for government work. www.superoptical.com or call me 800-543-7376.

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    That guy is cool I remember him. The system he is using, which is meant to be used in rural unpopulated areas in Africa, is meant to be used for CR39 lenses and can be used for hi index lenses also, but I think he says specifically not to use it with polycarbonate.

    You are going to have a heck of a time trying to use it for Oakley poly lenses, but you can I guess, definitely would need a hand wheel also.

    I would definitely get the system Don is talking about, or just some graph paper.

    If I had a client who was providing their own frames and lenses, I'd probably only charge 20-30 bucks to edge it down on my state of the art edger. Unless you are doing this just "for kicks" because you want a hobby (and I don't judge you there :) I would find a like minded independent optician such as myself, buy him a six pack of good beer and work out a very affordable edging plan for yourself, as long as you are sourcing and providing the Oakly lenses by yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallboy View Post
    That guy is cool I remember him. The system he is using, which is meant to be used in rural unpopulated areas in Africa, is meant to be used for CR39 lenses and can be used for hi index lenses also, but I think he says specifically not to use it with polycarbonate.

    You are going to have a heck of a time trying to use it for Oakley poly lenses, but you can I guess, definitely would need a hand wheel also.

    I would definitely get the system Don is talking about, or just some graph paper.

    If I had a client who was providing their own frames and lenses, I'd probably only charge 20-30 bucks to edge it down on my state of the art edger. Unless you are doing this just "for kicks" because you want a hobby (and I don't judge you there :) I would find a like minded independent optician such as myself, buy him a six pack of good beer and work out a very affordable edging plan for yourself, as long as you are sourcing and providing the Oakly lenses by yourself.

    I remember him saying not to use poly but I just couldn't help myself. So far they have worked aside from the centering issue. I do know a guy in California that will do it for $35 a pop. He has no interest in cutting any deals and I can't blame him, he's making a killing. I really do want to learn how to do it myself if for no other reason than to prove to myself that I can. That and I have almost 300 pairs of Oakleys so eventually lenses will break me!

    Thank you both VERY much for the input, I am going to try that Box-O-Graph and I'll report back on my progress. Once I get that nailed down I get a hand wheel for those edges. For now my wife has donated her nail sponge lol

    A side note, that lensometer is garbage too. I had a hard time getting it to even come on and now it won't. Gonna return it.
    Last edited by SiRacer420; 09-14-2018 at 02:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiRacer420 View Post
    I remember him saying not to use poly but I just couldn't help myself. So far they have worked aside from the centering issue. I do know a guy in California that will do it for $35 a pop. He has no interest in cutting any deals and I can't blame him, he's making a killing. I really do want to learn how to do it myself if for no other reason than to prove to myself that I can. That and I have almost 300 pairs of Oakleys so eventually lenses will break me!

    Thank you both VERY much for the input, I am going to try that Box-O-Graph and I'll report back on my progress. Once I get that nailed down I get a hand wheel for those edges. For now my wife has donated her nail sponge lol

    A side note, that lensometer is garbage too. I had a hard time getting it to even come on and now it won't. Gonna return it.
    he's making a killing. No he isn't.. He has an expensive edger probably in the $20,000 to $40,000 range. He also has to find the center, use his pads, and if a dry cut edger replace his blades. He's making a decent profit. Why don't you buy all that stuff, go to school to learn how to do it or do it trial and error and mess up who knows how many lenses. LOL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Gilman View Post
    he's making a killing. No he isn't.. He has an expensive edger probably in the $20,000 to $40,000 range. He also has to find the center, use his pads, and if a dry cut edger replace his blades. He's making a decent profit. Why don't you buy all that stuff, go to school to learn how to do it or do it trial and error and mess up who knows how many lenses. LOL.
    Sorry I didn't mean to offend but he is making a killing. He as a $10,000 machine that was already being used at his office so no new cost there. I realize there are expenses but I've seen videos. He puts the frame in the machine, loads the two lenses and less than 10 minutes later they're done. At $35 a cut, and I know hes doing several hundred a month, if he isn't making a killing, he's doing it wrong.

    As for me, trial and error is exactly what I'm doing.

    Thanks again for the help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiRacer420 View Post
    Sorry I didn't mean to offend but he is making a killing. He as a $10,000 machine that was already being used at his office so no new cost there. I realize there are expenses but I've seen videos. He puts the frame in the machine, loads the two lenses and less than 10 minutes later they're done. At $35 a cut, and I know hes doing several hundred a month, if he isn't making a killing, he's doing it wrong.

    As for me, trial and error is exactly what I'm doing.

    Thanks again for the help.
    $35 for a cut down? Jeebus, I'd do it for $10 and feel like I was making good money. Especially for planos? Talk about quick easy money...

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    Seriously dude pm me. I'm in Marlyand and have an edger much better and much more expensive than a "done and paid for" $10,000 edger.

    I will treat your post at this point as you being in the eyewear business, because anyone who owns 300 pairs of collector quality Oakleys basically is.

    I can do multi axis edging, however Oakleys flakjacket typea require one more axis than I can provide. I made a substantial investment in my lab and software, not to mention many many many years of becoming an "expert".

    If someone came to me with 300 Oakleys to get made, and was providing their own lenses, you better believe I would treat them like they were in the business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallboy View Post
    Seriously dude pm me. I'm in Marlyand and have an edger much better and much more expensive than a "done and paid for" $10,000 edger.

    I will treat your post at this point as you being in the eyewear business, because anyone who owns 300 pairs of collector quality Oakleys basically is.

    I can do multi axis edging, however Oakleys flakjacket typea require one more axis than I can provide. I made a substantial investment in my lab and software, not to mention many many many years of becoming an "expert".

    If someone came to me with 300 Oakleys to get made, and was providing their own lenses, you better believe I would treat them like they were in the business.
    What Tallboy said! I'm on the west coast and would gladly take on something like this. And it sounds like we have the same edging capabilities, as I cannot do Flackjacket type lenses but just about anything else is no problem at all. I run two Essilor Mr. Blue edgers and would have no trouble finding time to add in some plano Oakley cut down work. Easy-peasy.

    Good luck!

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    I ordered a Hilco Boxer but in the mean time I did the graph paper method. The results were fantastic! Not anywhere near professional level but I'm very happy I was able to do it myself and they still look great.

    The donor lenses were for a Gauge 8L and they were cut down to fit a XX X Metal. Ruby Iridium. I used a dremel to edge them, there was no way they were going in the lens channel without an edge. Not pretty but they fit.

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    Thanks again for the excellent help. I am sure I will be in contact with one or both of yall. I'm not planning on doing this for too many people but I do have a LOT of friends that are always looking for a good cut. I also have a few that I probably wont do myself so I should be able to send some business yalls way.

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    Looks good! Nice job.

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    This is quite impressive considering the majority of current Oakleys are not easy to work on. My lab (who has zombie Santinellis) does not Rx anything with a step-bevel in house. Keep up the good work!
    Have I told you today how much I hate poly?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallboy View Post
    That guy is cool I remember him. The system he is using, which is meant to be used in rural unpopulated areas in Africa
    LOL I'm thinking about cornering the market in such area.
    Erik Zuniga, ABOC.

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    Looks very good! Make sure look at a polarized screen or other such device to see if there is an overage of stress on the polarized film, especially where one's eyes will look out from. Stress on the bevel edges not such a problem, stress at the center of vision can be a nightmare.

    You got the pattern damn good, and Dremel/handwheel same difference.

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    Thanks for all the kind words guys. It's a lot of fun to learn something new.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tallboy View Post
    Looks very good! Make sure look at a polarized screen or other such device to see if there is an overage of stress on the polarized film, especially where one's eyes will look out from. Stress on the bevel edges not such a problem, stress at the center of vision can be a nightmare.

    You got the pattern damn good, and Dremel/handwheel same difference.

    I don't use polarized lenses at all. I hate the way they make windows and water look and using my phone in landscape is no bueno. Since Oakley has discontinued all non Prizm lenses I've been buying all the 8.75 BC non polar that I can.

    The one thing I was not prepared for was the mess. I have a shopvac set up now lol



    Quote Originally Posted by Quince View Post
    This is quite impressive considering the majority of current Oakleys are not easy to work on. My lab (who has zombie Santinellis) does not Rx anything with a step-bevel in house. Keep up the good work!
    I was lucky to get LASIK in 2005 so I don't have to worry about RX lenses, at least for a while still. My wife though does wear glasses. Finding an optician to make her lenses in old Oakley frames has been troublesome. A few were doing it but most people I know that wear corrective glasses and collect Oakleys have said that their people have stopped. A few years ago I started buying RX Oakleys on ebay trying to get lucky and find a pair in her prescription. I know how that sounds but at $15-$20 a frame it would be a crime not to buy them. Even if they don't work for her I can replace the lenses. I've managed to get 3 pairs in her prescription. The best one was a Pit Boss 2. It even came with an extra set of lenses. That was a $600 pair of glasses and easily $300 in lenses if not more and I paid $100. She tried it on and said she could see just fine. We took it to her eye doctor and someone there checked the lenses, I now assume with a lensometer, and said it was her prescription exactly. She's worn it daily for about a year now.

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