User Review

Manufacturer: Santinelli International, 325 Oser Avenue, Hauppauge, N.Y. 11788; (800) 644-edge (3343); (631) 644-3343;
Description: Lens drill for rimless eyewear that performs drilling, slotting and notching functions for different mount
Key Features: Drill tilt function provides 90 degree angle to
any base curve; adjustablepantoscopic tilt table with an exclusive electronic coordinates readout in 0.05 mm increments and an opto-electronic encoder for coordinates. Variable Speeds, sealed ball bearings for quiet operation; compact design, lightweight (12 lbs.) made of aluminum alloy.
Price: $2,195

Making drilled rimless frames demands a high degree of precision. Even if the accuracy of the location or angle of the drilled hole is only slightly off, the result can be either lens spoilage—ranging from off-axis fitting to cracked lenses—or an unhappy patient returning with a very expensive pair of broken glasses.

L&T reviewers—ranging from lab techs experienced in hand-held Dremels and drill presses to those for whom the LessStress is their first in-office drill—rated the LessStress drill very highly when it came to the key accuracy issue for drilled mounts: hole location and drill angle. Unlike standard drill presses, where the technician moves the lens for proper placement, technicians using the LessStress drill move the table, using an “opto-electronic coordinates encoder” measuring coordinates in .05mm increments. Technicians first place the “demo lens” from the original frame on the LessStress lens stage, which rests on the pantoscopic tilt table. The tech maneuvers the table horizontally and vertically by using dials. When the bit placement is precisely over the hole in the demo lens, the technician writes down the coordinates, which appear on an easy-to-read LCD screen. When the finished lens is on the table, the tech sets the position by following the coordinates, drilling as indicated. “It takes out the guesswork, you don’t have to rely on frame measurements or manufacturer supplied measurements,” says one reviewer.

Angle accuracy is determined by the drill tilt. For optimum stability in most mounts, the drill should contact the lens at a 90 degree angle, but because of lens curvature, the nasal and temporal drill holes are often situated in sloping areas of the lens. On the LessStress a single dial adjusts the drill tilt. There is also a number scale on the drill itself that guides the user in determining the degree of tilt, ensuring proper angling. One retailer, who normally uses a hand-held Dremel drill, notes, “because the screw must be flush to the lens, with the hand-held you can slip or be off just a fraction of millimeter and the job is spoiled.”

LessStress passed the accuracy acid test of drilling—the high-based curved lenses necessary for three-piece, wrap-around styles. Typically, technicians placed the demo lens over the finished lens to mark holes for drilling. “But holes could be off, you had to estimate,” says a reviewer. “The high base curve makes getting the drill angle right was difficult. This drill eliminates all that.”

Another technician found this drill function simplifies angling for non-screw mounts. Because of the selection of LessStress drill bits, technicians are able to mount slots and notch, as well as screw, assemblies. “I am able to make a better notch by tilting the drill,” says one reviewer. “The hand-held drills can make the notch too large, then the eye pieces aren’t stable in the lens.”

As evidence of the drill’s precision, a reviewer notes, “There was a lot of bending of the eye pieces to compensate for any lack of precision in the drilling. But alignment after drilling (with LessStress) is as simple as a full-frame.” Another reviewer adds because of the significant alignment he never drilled high-index plastic. “Lenses can snap when you bend the eye pieces. There’s simply not that degree of adjustment needed, so I don’t hesitate to do non-polycarbonate lenses with this drill.”

Our reviewers rated ease-of-operation high. Both drill neophyte and veteran say within two days they were completely comfortable with the system.

Reviewers could not completely quantify return on investment, but with good reason. Wholesale labs charge approximately $25 for drilled jobs. When reviewers took into account salary and other expenses, it wasn’t clear the exact number of months needed to recoup the initial cost. “Sure, you save some time compared to older drills, but it is better to go slower than to rush through these jobs,” explains one.
Cleaning and maintenance protocols were very simple, reviewers state, and they appreciate the compact design, which enabled a convenient fit into the cramped quarters of most in-office labs. Reviewers, however, did complain that the release of new rimless styles is out-pacing the LessStress’ initial set of drilled bits. —Timothy Herrick

manufacturer's response
With LessStress, Santinelli provides optical retailers and labs with an economically priced and accurate drill to process challenging, yet popular, three-piece mount eyewear. LessStress was designed to be versatile and easy-to-use, so we are pleased to see the reviewers’ appreciation for the ability of the drill to handle high-based curved lenses.

Regarding the need for additional drill bits, Santinelli has expanded its range of bits available to keep up with the latest, most innovative rimless styles on the market.

Glick Manaquil, owner/optician, Glitter Optics,San Francisco; Ronald Shigio, OD, Walnut Creek, Calif.;Edwin Chow, lab technician, Optical Illusions, San Mateo, Calif.;Craig Dyer, lab technician, South Jersey Eye; Bill Picillo, optician, Picillo Brothers Opticians, North Arlington, N.J.; George Pineda, lab manager, Gruen Optika, New York, N.Y.