Among the many DIY projects, drilling through glass without breaking it can be mind-numbing but it is possible as we will discover later in this article. There are so many ways of drilling the perfect hole through glass, but it all requires skills, patience, and practice. Glass is delicate and will succumb to any form of pressure that is exerted on it.
As we mentioned earlier practice is key to drilling the perfect hole in glass, the tools that you use to drill through glass also play an important role. To which end there are two types of bits used to drill holes into glass and which are Tungsten carbide and diamond. Carbide drill bits are mostly preferred when drilling through non-tempered glass, diamond drill bits, on the other hand, can be used to drill through the sea glass, fused, beach, or sheet glass.
How to properly drill a hole in a glass
Any workshop project no matter how small requires the operator to adorn the full safety attire, starting with the right safety boots, an overall, and a thick pair of gloves that offer a sock-like fit. Safety glasses are a must to protect your eyes from small pieces of glass among other types of unprecedented accidents. Before you start drilling into glass, find the thinnest areas as they are the easiest to drill. Also ensure to use a new drill bit, because old drill bits are barely sharp and will most likely break the glass instead of drilling a hole through it.
1. Provide cushioning
Glass is very delicate and will quickly succumb to any form of force, so the first thing to do is provide cushioning for the glass or a study base.
2. Prepare your stencil
A stencil is a sample of the size of the hole that you want to achieve. To make the stencil, find a flat piece of wood and drill into it the size of the hole that you want to drill on the glass. The wood stencil that you will have prepared, will be placed on top of the glass that you want to drill, and then you will drill a hole into it.
3. Prepare a water bath
As you drill the hole into glass, the bit is bound to build heat and which has the potential to shatter the glass before making a hole. To protect your glass from breaking and at the same time make a hole, you will have to use a water bath. Some people make a small dam-like structure around the area that they want to drill, however, a simple and easier way that will ensure, you get a constant supply of water is using a two-liter plastic bottle.
On the side of the bottle, find the midpoint and poke a small hole, and then proceed to fill the bottle with water and cover it with a cap. The hole that you made on the bottle will act as a tap, such that when you open the cap, water will be released to constantly water the area that you will be drilling thus minimize heat build-up. Once you are done drilling the hole, just close the cap and the water will stop flowing.
4. Prepare the glass and stencil
Lay down your piece of glass on a shock-absorbent material, then put your stencil piece on top of the glass where you want the hole to be drilled. Switch on your water bath by removing the cap from the bottle, ensure that the water is spilled directly on top of the area that you want to drill.
And then using the prepared stencil as your guide, drill on the glass, don’t use force, and use medium speed. Let the drill do its job and then stop to check the progress, once the impression has been made, you can remove the stencil and now drill directly onto the glass. The water flow continues until you get a complete hole.
As you drill, don’t rush and don’t wiggle the drill bit because it will chip the edges of the glass that you are drilling a hole into.
How to get better at drilling glass
Becoming a professional at drilling glass takes time, however, if you are looking to work on a bigger project, you can make good use of the junk bottles. Use them to practice as you observe all the rules, such as not forcing the drill bit, and wearing the right protective clothing. At first, you will shatter some bottles but with time, you will get better as you learn to handle the drill and work with various glass densities.
Types of glass that cannot be drilled
Now that you know how to drill a hole in glass, it does not mean that every type of glass you come across can be drilled. On the contrary, tempered glass cannot be drilled, neither can it be cut after tampering. Tempered glass is toughened glass and normally used in car windows, glass doors, and tables, it is the type of glass that will break into many small pieces when exposed to impact.
The reason why many people think that they can drill holes through tempered glass is because they have seen some of them with holes already on them. But what they don’t know is that the hole is usually made when the glass is still at the annealed state that is before the tempering process. Needless to say that there is a type of tempered glass that you can drill a hole into and which is the ultra-thin type used in making cell phones. This type of glass is chemically tempered and quite different from heat-tempered glass.
Drilling a hole through glass is not hard, all you need to do is get the right drill bits, sometimes it is hard to correctly position the drill bits because the glass is smooth and slippery. For the above, you can tape the glass, or attach a piece of cardboard to the glass on the area that you want to make the hole. A better strategy involves making a wood stencil that you will place on any type of glass, cylindrical, or flat and then drill a hole into it.
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