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Drilling Holes in Glass by

Using a Drill Press

This is part two of a multi-part tip on using a drill press to drill holes in glass.  Click here to go to part one.

It's essential to select the proper bits for drilling glass with a drill press.  There are a number of options, ranging from carbide steel (usually pointed) bits to several types of diamond bits.  In general, it's best to use bits that are coated with diamond, rather than spear-pointed bits made of carbide.

Diamond bits come in several basic types, but the two most common are:

1.  Diamond ball bits

These are bits that have a small ball of steel at the tip.  The ball is coated with a thin layer of diamonds.  They are generally mounted in a drill press and used for drilling small holes.  They work better than core drill bits for drilling holes in curved surfaces, but they are slower and are limited to cutting holes of less than 1/2" (13mm).  Note that engraving bits are often similar in appearance to diamond ball bits, but you should purchase bits specifically made for drilling, not engraving.

2.  Core drill bits

These are available in a wide range of sizes, from 1/8" (3mm) to as large as 2" (50mm).  They consist of a round, hollow tube of steel with diamond coating along the outside of the tube.  As they cut through the glass, they create a hole the size of the outside of the bit and a small "plug" or "core" the size of the inside of the bit.  Core drill bits generally work faster than diamond ball bits, and are the most commonly used and recommended bit for drilling in glass. 

Once you've selected the right bit, you're ready to begin drilling.

Click here for the next part of this tip, which is on the actual drilling process.

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Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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