drilling glass

Donna posted Message 3996 in the CraftPals All Crafts BB
Subject: Re: drilling glass

Hello, all.
I am brand new to the list, today, in fact and was going through the messages and found this one. Hope I can help.
I have been sandblasting, etching and cutting glass for twenty-plus years.
Here is a process you can use, however, I cannot guarantee it's authenticity as I have never tried this myself, but I do know it is possible with practice and patience.
I suggest using an old piece of glass as a working copy until you get the hang of it.
I have always used my hand engraving tool with diamond bits and water as a medium for drilling holes in glass but the following is similar.

1. Use a really sharp steel twist drill, (or make your own, directions follow) slow speed operating within a dam holding water. You can use a hand-held drill (but this is probably not a good idea, on very slow speed), a better idea is to put the bit in a drill press with variable speeds.

To make the dam, I use ordinary window putty, but you can use something else that will make a dam around where you want to drill the hole. Fill with water and coarse carborundum. This is very important to reduce the heat on both the drill and glass and also reduces the possibility of cracking or breaking the glass itself (that's why I suggest using an old piece of glass to practice on).

2. For the nicest, safest hole in all glass, use copper, aluminum or brass tubing (2" to 6" long) in slow drill press (very slow speed). The tube should be the size of the hole desired. Operate within a dam holding water and coarse carborundum powder. Coarse silicone carbide powder about grit number 70 to 120. You can cut 1/4" glass in three minutes. Carborundum powder may be obtained from people who sandblast glass or from a "rock hound" or lapidary suppliers and even coarse valve grinding compound liquified with solvent or gasoline will slowly do the job.

3. It is a good idea also to have a sandbag, thick felt or sponge or some other soft material below your glass rather than on the metal bed of your drill press. I truly hope this helps you. If not try a glazier, sandblasting company that does glass or even somebody who does stained glass work.

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