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how do you cut glass?

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  • how do you cut glass?

    i'm working on a project and need a few pieces of glass about 3"x12". i have one of those small metal tools you score the glass with and then supposedly break it off. well i now have a lot of pieces of glass in my garage, but sadly they are more useful as daggers than pieces i need for my project.

    so how do you actually use one of these tools? i recall my grandfather using one years ago, but he is no longer around and i obviously do not have the method down. i'm just looking for how a person at home would cut a small piece of glass, not using some water jet or other commercial tool.

    any advice is appreciated.

    andy b.
    The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining

  • #2
    Well, first you design your shape and export is as a .dxf to your waterjet table...

    Seriously, you place your pattern under the glass, or mark it with a fine point Sharpie, and with the glass on a FLAT hard surface, scribe on the lines.

    For straight lines I put a length of wire, like 3/32 music wire if you're fancy, or the straight bit of a coathanger if you're not, aligned under the scribed line.

    A gentle push downward on both sides yields 2 pieces of gless.

    http://www.wikihow.com/Cut-Glass

    ...is good info.

    Good luck-hope you finish for X-mas.
    "Lay on ground-light fuse-get away"

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    • #3
      Andy,

      When I was just a young lad we were taught to cut it this way. Dip the cutter wheel in kerosene and score the glass, then put a wooden dowel under the scored line and break the glass over that. It worked well as I remember although I have not cut any glass for a long time.
      Paul in NE Ohio

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      • #4
        Use a straight edge and your tool to score a line in the glass. Press hard. It should sound like you're ripping cloth. Make sure you go edge to edge. Once the line is scored, use the ball end of the tool and lightly tap along the score. Place your straight edge under the glass, along the score, with your piece unsupported. Briskly press down, in one motion, along the unsupported piece.

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        • #5
          You want to spend 20 to 30 bucks on a good diamond glasscutter and cut as described one score only not two and you will be fine cheap glasscutters work fine once or twice then they are fit for the dumpster follow this and you won't go wrong .Alistair
          Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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          • #6
            It's fairly easy, use a straight edge, a drop of oil on the tool, medium firm pressure, one continous stroke, tap the backside with the ball thats on the other end of the tool, you will see the crack develop, lay a wooden dowel or something similar under the score mark and press down on each side. Practice until you get the feel for it.
            "four to tow, two to go"

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            • #7
              Glass Cutting

              These instructions are for a novice. Put a few sheets of newsprint on a flat surface. Place a piece of sheet glass on the newsprint. Lay a straigntedge across the sheet where you want the cut. Using the glass cutter agains't the straightedge (finger grip on the cutter) scribe a line across the glass. Put a small dowel under the scribed line and press down firmly on both sides of the scribed line. You should now have 2 pieces of glass.

              Notes: 1) Start out with known good clean glass - new single strength. 2) Glass cutter must be sharp - recommend new. 3) Tempered glass cannot be cut - will only shatter. 3) Do not retrace your cut line - if you do results will be erratic at best. 4) Some people like to dip the cutter into a light lube just before cutting - kerosene or WD-40. 5) You can find books at home centers and libraries. 6) Glass cutting is easy to learn.

              As you gain a little experience you can move into thicker glass and free hand cuts and curves, even stained glass work.

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              • #8
                Andy, the most important thing when cutting glass is: the cutter and Glass need to be CLEAN. Having the glass at room temperature also helps. I do a little Stained Glass and a hobbie and if you are going to cut a lot of it, I would suggest you buy a good oil filled cutter. Any ways here is a link to site that has a pretty good instruction for cutting glass.
                http://www.refinishfurniture.com/glass_cutting.htm

                good luck
                Mel
                _____________________________________________

                I would rather have tools that I never use, than not have a tool I need.
                Oregon Coast

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                • #9
                  Angle Grinder.

                  I have used a 4 inch angle grinder with a Masonary wheel to cut quarter inch thick plate glass. Came out OK.

                  Rgds.
                  Michael

                  Australia

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                  • #10
                    What if you want a ROUND piece of glass... a wheel-like piece?

                    I used to be decent at cutting straight, but never did get the hang of getting curves,to work, let alone circles.

                    Of course I have seen professional glass cutters whip a score down a pattern, curves and all, and KLICK.... two pieces of glass, perfect pattern. Dunno how they do that... no dowels, no tapping. They have a hold of it, and suddenly there are two pieces..
                    1601

                    Keep eye on ball.
                    Hashim Khan

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                    • #11
                      cutting rounds

                      Cutting circles, It can be done, but not in one cut. Outside curves are do-able by taking off small sections at a time. Inside curves are not so easy. Done mostly by chipping out material with glass nibblers. You can cut a pretty wavy line with a little luck and practice. I cheat a little on real close circles and curves because I have a diamond band saw. Not really a band but a 5” diameter wire ring coated with diamonds and it runs on soft rubber rollers. Also runs in a water bath. But it lets you cut from any direction. The rings cost about $60 bucks so you want to be very careful. This saw will cut almost any material.
                      Mel
                      _____________________________________________

                      I would rather have tools that I never use, than not have a tool I need.
                      Oregon Coast

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Fisrt thing I was taught about cutting glass is not to be worried about breaking it.
                        next clean glass new glass will cut clean lines, old glass it's a crap shoot.
                        place a number of shhets of newspaper on a solid flat table top. As many as cuts you want to make.
                        To score the line use a good wheeled glass cutter with light oil between pulling the score lines. (the oil washes glasschips away from the wheel)
                        with starightedge or pattern underneath pull the line towards you with the cutter 90' to glass ( the tail /handle of the cutter between two fingers resting on the web of the hand)
                        pull with a slight downward pressure so the sound is like frying bacon. (I really don't know why but it works.)
                        One stoke per cut only two or more will crack and splinter the glass.
                        your chose of dowel wire, or yard stick or table edge to split. you can tap the opposite side of the score line or not.
                        with a fast sure motion snap the waste glass down ward.
                        remove one layer of newspaper to make next cut.
                        the very fines plinters of glass coming off the score line and snapping will cause uneven pressure points under the next piece of glass.

                        Cutting a circle two ways first way is a winning bar bet.
                        you need a bucket of water a piece of single strength glass to fit in the bucket. And a pair of old fashion tinsnips, the kind that looks like scissors NOT THE AVIATION SNIPS.
                        Place the glass under water put the tinsnips in the water make sure both the tinsnips and glass are under water. cut a circle out of the glass. when finished bring it out. Collect winnings send my 5%.
                        Circle will be a little lopsided.
                        It works because glass is a slow moving liquid and not a solid, also that water and glass share the same specific gravity or close to it.
                        It did take me a couple of trys before I could do it to make it look easy and fast. Must be new glass.

                        Old glass if standing on one edge slumps with age so one end is thinner than the other. In real old houses the windows will be thin at the top and thicker at the bottom.

                        The second way of cutting a circle is place the pattern under the glass draw your circle. than score lines to big the glass down to a octogon or more sided shape. Than cut along your patten line for a few degrees carring the score out to the edge of the glass. repeat till you have your circle. With practice you can do it with out all the trimming. That is the way we cut out the glass windows for the fire alarm pull stations in the public buildings.

                        To cut S curves or following curves it just takes practice and a smooth steady scoring pull. Use to freak people out at bars and other parties cutting a 6"x6" glass in to multipul long S curves so they fit like a puzzle.
                        Fletcher makes grosing pliers that have bar running down one of the jaw sides to split the score line they also call them running pliers with slight curve in the jaws to split the score.

                        To cut plate glass or thicker glass than double strengh use a dull glass cutter. it will work better as it will score the glass line down and not splinter over the surface. I was taught by a fellow that came over from Belgium after the war 30 plus years ago.
                        I had purchased a brand new 5 dollar Fletcher glass cutter to cut some plate for the wifes new curio cabinet shelves. when he seen it in the package. He wipped it out and started running the working end over the cement floor. I like to had a heart attack, when I calmed down he explianed to me that only a dull cutter will work on plate. And it did.
                        hope this helps. will look for and post some pic of the pliers.
                        Glen
                        Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                        I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                        All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

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                        • #13
                          For under $30.00 US you can buy a circle cutting compass deal at some of the better stain glass places or web sites.http://www.delphiglass.com/fusing-flameworking-jewelry/
                          http://www.waleapparatus.com/ are two of the larger sites
                          Glen
                          Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                          I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                          All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Plenty of good advice already given here.

                            I have cut thousands of pieces over the years including scientific borosilicate as well as ordinary soda lime glass. There isn't really any trick to it, just a matter of becoming familiar with the material. As has been said, do not try to score over the same line twice, it will not work.

                            One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that after scoring snap the glass immediately. The score "heals" at the molecular level and after even a few minutes will not break as cleanly. That's why your windshield doesn't fall to pieces even though it may be badly scratched.

                            About the old idea that glass is a super cooled fluid: It is not. It is an amorphous solid. Although it is not crystalline it is still a solid as it undergoes an energy transition as it cools where the binding energy of the molecules exceeds the kinetic energy. Below that temperature, which varies depending on type of glass, the molecules do not have sufficient kintetic energy to be mobile and so it cannot flow, however slowly. The molecules are locked in place just as surely as crystals are. The difference is that there are no defined fracture planes which makes it possible to cleave the material in any direction.

                            For breaking a piece after scoring pick it up by the edge. The score must go all the way from edge to edge. Place your thumbs on either side close to the score on top with your fingers below and with a small but firm action snap the piece as if trying to bend it down on each side of the score.

                            Wear safety glasses of course.
                            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                            • #15
                              thanks all, this is some GREAT advice! i don't need to have the glass pieces by Christmas, so i'll have to pick up a new cutter tuesday or wednesday and give it another try.

                              andy b.
                              The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining

                              Comment

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