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Drilling a hole in glass is one of those things that most DIY enthusiasts or practitioners like to avoid. The risk of breaking the glass is a pretty common yet major factor when you’re drilling through glass.
Unlike wood, drilling a hole through glass is quite a difficult task. You run the risk of not only breaking the glass but also injuring yourself. Drilling a hole in glass takes patience, a light touch, and the appropriate tools. Knowing how to drill a hole through glass without shattering will help you to take care of the tasks around the house all by yourself.
So, if you’re working on a project that requires drilling holes in glass, this article will help you to do it without shattering the glass.
Things To Consider Before You Start Drilling Through Glass
Here are some of the most significant factors you can consider before you start drilling through glass.
The drill bit you use when dealing with wood materials is not something you can use while drilling into glass or tiles. You have to buy drill bits that are specifically made for drilling through glass materials. When it comes to materials like tiles or glass, you can easily opt for carbide or diamond drill bits. The fabricated cutting edges of diamond drill bits lower the chance of cracking the glass.
Besides, diamond bits are pretty tough, durable, and stay in good shape for a long time. If you’re looking for something more affordable, then carbide drill bits can be a great alternative to diamond bits. The carbide drill bits may not be as tough as diamond bits, but they can drill through glass pretty fast. Moreover, tile bits are also a great option if you want smooth operation while drilling a hole through the glass.
Speed is very important when it comes to drilling through fragile materials such as glass. Too much speed can heat up the drill bits and cause a crack in your glass. Do check the numbers on the drill for variable-speed settings and remember the drill speed is measured in revolutions per minute or RPM. The variable speed settings are something that let you have control over the speed of your drill.
To get an idea of the speed of your drill, press the trigger of your drill slowly at first, then gradually increase the pace until it reaches maximum speed. Afterward, slowly reduce the speed. This way, you would be able to drill at a moderate or low speed while working with glass or tiles.
Drilling a hole in glass may disperse microscopic glass shards and dust particles. Hence, it’s strongly advised that you take safety measures while drilling through glass. Good eye protection should always be at the top of your list because while drilling into a glass, small shreds of glass or dust can fly out and cause serious injury to your eyes.
In addition, you can wear gloves, so your hand stays protected. Masks are also pretty important, as you don’t want to inhale any glass dust that comes from drilling. Lastly, adding some kind of lubrication to the glass may reduce the build-up of heat and dust when drilling.
How To Drill Holes In Glass Without Breaking It?
If you’re wondering how you can safely and effectively drill through glass and not break it into pieces. Here are some of the steps you can follow.
Preparing The Glass
First, you have to decide what kind of glass you’re going to drill into. You can drill into glass bottles, aquariums or tanks, mirrors, tiles, etc. But make sure you don’t drill a hole in tempered or safety glass. Tempered glass will break the minute it comes in contact with the drill. Examine the four corners of the glass.
Because if the glass is tempered, each corner will be engraved or have a pattern. Place the glass object on a small container, so you don’t make a hole in a table or surface. Or you can lay the object on a flat surface to give it complete support. You can place a rubber pad or other cushioning material beneath the glass, so it stays flat and secured.
Pick The Right Tool
In order to make a hole in your glass object, you can use either a drill or dremel, whichever you feel more comfortable with. However, in terms of drill bits, you have to use diamond or carbide bits as they are specifically made for drilling through glass materials. Properly secure the one-eighth-inch carbide or diamond-tipped bits on your power drill chuck.
You can easily find the drill bits in various sizes. If you want to make tiny holes in your glass, you can opt for a small diamond drill bit with a solid, flat end. On the other hand, get diamond or carbide drill bits with a round end if you want to make a comparatively large hole in your glass.
Drill A Pilot Hole
Before you start drilling, make an X mark by placing two pieces of masking tape over the region where you want the hole. Or you can also use a permanent marker to indicate the hole location on the tape. The tape will make sure the drill bit doesn’t drift from the smooth surface. Furthermore, make sure your glass is wet before drilling, so the bits can move freely. Since materials like glass or tiles are quite fragile, you need to make a pilot drill on your object before going into full force with your drill. Thus, start drilling at a low rpm because, at first, all you want to do is make a dent in the glass.
Once you’re done making a pilot hole, remove the masking tape and switch to a larger drill bit. Increasing the drill bit size will allow you to make a bigger hole than the initial one. After making the pilot hole, keep the drilling speed in the medium range. However, when you feel you’re almost breaking through the glass, reduce the drilling pressure and speed even more.
Because by this time, glass tends to be even more fragile, and the chances of shattering become pretty high. Moreover, to avoid chipping, keep the drill perpendicular to the glass. Another option is to drill halfway through the glass, then gently flip it over and drill through the backside until you reach the second hole in the center.
Clean The Hole
When you’re completely done with your drilling, remove the drill gently, then take a disposable shop cloth or rug to wipe away the dust and any shards formed during the process. Besides, you can take a diamond file to clean away any rough edges. Rinse it with cold water to make sure there’s no trace of debris or particles in the object you’re drilling.
Even though glass is such a fickle material, drilling through it can be simple if you work slowly and methodically. Lastly, remember most of the time, your glass gets shattered while drilling is because of not using coolant throughout the process. Therefore, you have to use a coolant or lubricate the glass before and during the drilling process. We hope that the proper tools and techniques stated above will help you to drill holes in glass or any hard material without breaking them.