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Drilling Holes in Glass by

Using a Stained Glass Grinder

Click here for general information on drilling holes in glass.

Although it's probably better to use a drill press and core drill bit for drilling holes in glass, the task can also be done with an ordinary stained glass grinder.  The only other piece of equipment you'll need will be a 1/8" to 1/4" grinder bit. These bits, which are coated with diamond grit along the outside edges and top, fit on top of the shaft of a stained glass grinder.  They can be used for grinding tight inside curves or for drilling holes, and should cost around $15 US.
 
This technique won't work for small items such as most jewelry or for holes smaller than 1/8", but it works well for drilling a single hole in a large glass item.  You'll need to determine the place where you'd like the hole drilled, and then place the glass on top of the grinder bit so that the hole location lines up with the top of the bit.  Done properly, the glass should be flat on top of the bit (for a flat blank, parallel to the ground).

It's often helpful to enlist the help of an assistant to do the actual grinding.  One person should hold the glass and press it down onto the spinning grinder bit, the other person should be responsible for keeping the bit and surrounding area wet while the grinding takes place. 

To drill, hold the piece firmly and press down on the spinning bit.  Keep pressing slowly, but let the bit do the work.  Don't force the action, and remember to keep the area being drilled wet.  If possible, drill half way through the hole, then flip the piece and drill through from the other side.  This is sometimes more difficult in opaque pieces, but flipping will help eliminate chipping on the outside edge when the grinder bit finally makes it way through the piece.

Click here for information on using a drill press to drill holes in glass.

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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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