So, when I had some money, I blew it on these “designer” ic! Berlin frames. They look really high tech and cool, and they allegedly avoid damage by having these hinges that pop apart under pressure.
Here are a couple videos about how to do it.
Too bad the ones I got don’t actually pop apart under pressure. They were just made to look like the ones that pop apart.
I’ll explain how to fix them in this blog post.
The ones I bought differed from the ones in the video – there was a tiny bridge of metal that prevented the outer fingers from sliding out. Also, right at the hinge, they made a section of the metal much narrower than the rest of the hinge.
Instead of breaking apart, they torque, and get hopelessly bent in tiny ways that are difficult to fix. That little area is just much weaker than the rest of the frame. It takes all the energy, and collapses a couple degrees, and also twists a bit. I don’t have photos yet, so it’ll be difficult, but if you have the frames in front of you, it might make sense.
My glasses were smashed underfoot when they fell on the floor and I stepped on them (in slippers). Luckily, the lenses were not scratched. Unfortunately, the frames were squished.
This happened in the same spot on both sides of my frames, so I think it’s fair to say it’s a design flaw.
To fix the frames, you have to dismantle the whole thing. Do it on a flat, white surface, because there is a TINY clip that holds the hinge together, and you don’t want to lose it in the carpet.
Remove the lenses if you can.
Dismantling the Hinge
To take the hinge apart, you have to pull the arm inward while you “close” the arm (fold it into the closed position), applying pressure so that the two tiny curved hooks don’t slide through their matching holes like they usually do. The curves need to catch on the edges of the holes and push the “middle finger” of the apart from the two side fingers. If you do it right, the arm can be pulled toward you, and the hooks can be jiggled out of the little holes.
Next, you can pull off the clip that holds the hinge together. It’s the size of a flattened oatmeal, and black. Be careful and note how it goes back on. You should probably use pliers to hold the clip.
Repeat for the other side.
The bent part should be obvious. You can tell it’s bent because the light doesn’t glint off it at the same angle as the rest of the frame. You might also notice that it now bends downward.
Reshape the Metal
Using pliers or a small crescent wrench, try to move that piece back into shape. It’s hard. Titanium is flexible, but it also has “memory”. Don’t overdo it.
Once it looks OK, put the lenses in, and replace the clip.
Putting the hinge back together is hard. You need a bic pen cap. Use the “pocket hook” part to pry the fingers of the arm so the middle finger and side fingers are spread apart. Hook the middle finger on the clip (on the hinge) and push the two curved fingers into their respective holes.
Once they’re in, you should be able to “open” the hinge, and then close it again. The hinge should now function.
Repeat for the other arm.
BTW – I don’t recommend the design. I had a midrange pair of titanium frames with regular hinges, and they were easier to fix.
PS – if you really like the design – make sure you get the ones that are like the ones in the video, not the thinner frames. Inspect the hinge and make sure it’s the one that flies apart.
PPS – the reason why mine got squished was because I don’t close my glasses when I lay them down. So, I’ll start doing that.