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  • Drilling in glass

    I was wondering if there is a way to cleanly drill a series of holes in the glass from a microware door. Maybe no larger than 1.25" in diameter, perhaps on 3" centers.

    -SD

  • #2
    SD

    My neighbor "drills" holes in glass with his sandblaster. I believe some of it is tempered. He uses a rubber mask similar to what they use to carve tombstones with. Let me know if I should ask him some questions for furthr information.

    Pete

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    • #3
      I've heard claims of using 'carbide grit hole saws' to cut holes in glass but I've never seen it done nor have I tried it.

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      • #4
        I have done the sandblast trick and it works well. The only drawback is that the hole does not have sharp 90 degree edges like a hole drilled in metal, there is a definate tapered edge. Smaller holes, under 1/2 inch or so, I have 'drilled' with copper tubing and valve laping compound. This method works best if you can dam the area around the hole location, locate the glass on a drill press table or mill table, chuck a short piece of the proper size copper tubing/pipe (hard drawn works best), fill the damed area with the laping compound. Now start the mill/drill very slow and apply very light downward pressure with the quill. I use a light weight on the feed arm to keep the pressure even and constant. Every minute or so raise the quill slightly to refresh the laping compound and lower again to grind more of the hole. The process is slow but it 'drills' a very nice clean hole.

        R
        Robin

        Happily working on my second million Gave up on the first

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        • #5
          If the glass is tempered, which it probably is, you will not be able to drill it. It will shatter the moment the very thin surface stress layer is penetrated.

          If it is not tempered then use a soft brass tube with fine carbide or diamond powder. Keep the speed very slow in a drill press with all items held tightly but with no trace of bending action on the glass. That means the glass must be lightly clamped very evenly using very flat bottom support and upper block(s) of wood maybe 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick (or good quality plywood) or similar that cover most of the area except the drill hole. Pour a little cutting powder in the hole in the wood along with some very light oil. Apply light pressure. Using a weight on the drill press handle is a good way to provide light and even pressure. Keep adding a bit of oil as the hole progresses. Add very small amounts of cutting powder as well. Keep an eye on the depth and when it nears cutting through reduce the pressure to extremely light pressure until it cuts ALL the way through.

          It is possible to use valve grinding compound to do the cutting.

          Heh. I was typing while the previous was posted. We agree.
          Last edited by Evan; 03-30-2015, 11:30 PM.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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          • #6
            Ditto to the last two posts. I like to notch the edge of the brass, copper, or aluminum tube to allow a supply of grit to be stored there and work it's way under the edge. I use leftover abrasive powder from telescope mirror grinding and think water works just as well as oil. With something coarser than lapping compound, it goes surprisingly fast. 200, 400, 800 grit.
            Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 03-31-2015, 12:51 AM.
            Paul A.

            Make it fit.
            You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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            • #7
              Yep. If it's tempered glass, it will explode into tiny bits when you drill it. If by some miracle you did get a hole though it, I wouldn't dare use it, for fear it would shatter at any moment.
              ----------
              Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
              Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
              Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
              There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
              Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
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              • #8
                A good quality diamond drill or hole saw will give good, clean and repeatable results. I've bought a couple from these folks, and they work well:

                http://www.diamond-drill-bit-and-too...iamondDrillBit

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                • #9
                  Wouldn't a high grit diamond coring drill bit be OK? Even on tempered glass? Even tempered glass has a threshold strength before it shatters. You just want to make sure you don't create any cracks and allow that to propagate and then cause the whole thing to shatter. If you have a lot of lubrication, and you take the cut small, mindful not putting a lot of force on the glass so as to bend it while drilling, you might be able to get away with drilling a hole even in tempered glass.

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                  • #10
                    Tempered glass can't be drilled with anything, it bursts nicely, fascinating to watch in slo mo btw.
                    Mark

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                    • #11
                      SD

                      I asked my neighbor the "Glass Guy" about the sandblaster technique. His answer was "If it is tempered, nothing will work". Non-tempered all of the above suggestions should work.

                      Pete

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                      • #12
                        i suppose annealing the temper is impossible ?

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                        • #13
                          i always thought the hardest part about drilling glass was center punching the location.

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                          • #14
                            Use about #200 Carbide Grit or Valve compound with a Brass Tube like Evan said.
                            For large holes, notch the bottom of the Tube. Copper Pipe seems to work better for Larger holes.
                            I use modeling clay and form a ring around the hole to hold the Slurry.
                            Slow Slow speed and Very light pressure. Especially just before you drill through or it will break through with poor results on the bottom side.
                            It is surprising just how fast a clean hole can be made.
                            If it is Tempered Glass, you will soon know! And then you can go on to some other project

                            Tom M.

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                            • #15
                              It occurs to me that a few words should be said about the fact that these holes will be in "... the glass from a microware door."

                              It is not at all safe to modify an operational microwave oven and no holes should be made in any part of it, not just the door. I hope the word "from" does indicate that this glass has been salvaged from a microwave and is being put to another use.
                              Paul A.

                              Make it fit.
                              You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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