How to Drill Small Holes in Glass for Jewelry or Wind Chimes
A simple and fast method of drilling small holes in glass for jewelry or wind chimes.
Find a suitable container to submerge the glass under water while drilling.
Support the glass inside the container with a small block of wood with some dense plastic foam on the top to cushion the glass.
Place your glass on top of the support.Fill the container with water until it just covers it. The glass must be underwater during the entire drilling process.
Put either a carbide or diamond-coated drill bit into your drill.You can use a hollow core bit if you wish, but I have had better success with a solid or even a tapered bit from the local home project store.
Put on Safety Goggles/Glasses.
Turn on your rotary tool.It should be spinning the bit at 20,000 to 30,000 rpm.
Lower the bit until it touches the glass.Hold the rotary tool so the bit is perpendicular to the glass.
Let the bit cut through the glass at its own speed.Do not try to force it to cut quickly. It will take a minute or two for it to go through the glass.
When the bit goes all the way through the glass and into the support beneath the glass, lift the rotary tool to remove the bit from the glass and turn off the rotary tool.
Inspect your glass.You should have a nice clean hole all the way through.
- The water in the container will keep the glass cool during the drilling process. This is key. The tip of the rotary bit must be under the water at all times. It is important that only the tip is under water.
- I find that if you're using a very small bit (1/8" or so) a little piece of masking tape will keep the bit from "skating" until it bites into the glass enough to stay in place.
- When you first start the hole, hold the bit at an angle to the glass. This helps to set the position of the bit. If you don't do this, but instead try to lower the bit to the glass while it is straight up and down, the bit will "skate" on the glass, leaving an undesirable mark. Just hold it at a slight angle, let it eat into the glass a tiny bit, then raise it slowly to a straight up and down position in the same spot.
- Do not press down on the tool while drilling. Lightly hold the tool so it remains straight up and down and in the spot you've chosen for your hole. Do not press down. Let the weight of the rotary tool provide all the downward pressure on the bit. If you press down on the rotary tool, you will most likely cause the glass to crack and break because the bit will not have enough time to eat its way through the glass.
- To prevent shock, always plug into a GFCI outlet. Home stores sell GFCI extension cords, if needed. This is essential; don't mess around.
- Water and electricity are a dangerous combination. Never let water get in the motor or wires, etc. Yes, electrocution is possible with house current.
Things You'll Need
Glass - one eighth inch thick works best
A container for water that your glass will fit inside. Donotuse a glass container. The vibrations may cause the glass to shatter. Inexpensive, round bowls may be found at your local Thrift/Dollar store. Whatever container you use, it must be large enough to hold your glass piece and deep enough so you can submerge the glass.
A carbide or diamond-coated drill bit
A Dremel© or similar rotary tool – the only tool you are going to find that rotates 20,000 - 30,000 RPMs is an Air Driven Pencil Grinder; hand held drill motors do not exist in the 20,000 rpm range or 10,000; you can find Pencil grinders on Ebay for about 70 dollars for a cheap one
Styrofoam, plastic foam, wood, modeling clay, or other support for the glass
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Video: How to drill glass | Glass drilling
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