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Old 01-29-2012, 06:28 AM
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Default Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

Thanks guys for encouraging me to try this myself rather than having it done by a glass shop! It's definitely not as hard as I thought it would be. Now that I've said that... watch me crack the glass on my next attempt... haha

It's funny though, when I bought this at Lowe's they said I wouldn't be able to drill holes in it because it's too thin (1/8" pane). It's always fun to prove people wrong.

Here's my first attempt, I just used a piece of scrap glass for this so I could get the hang of it. There was a lot of chipping, but I think that's okay, right? I know you can flip the glass over and drill from the other side to reduce chipping, but I don't think I'd be able to line up the holes well if I tried that.

Here's the drill bit.


The retaining ring made from plumbers putty, with water in it.


Drilled through.


Cleaned up. There are a lot of scratches because I had a hard time holding the drill in one spot at first.


The cut out part.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:39 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

I worked at a saltwater petstore and the owner drilled ALL the holes for the bulkheads himself. He explained it was easier to start on a angle then slowly come to a horizontal. I have never drilled myself but that was what i was told and it was coming form someone who drilled over 200 tanks and cracked one tank (due to tweaking the tank when picking it up), I know Jason has a DIY thread for glass cutting but thought i would throw out the information i was given.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

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Originally Posted by DemonicalEnvy View Post
I worked at a saltwater petstore and the owner drilled ALL the holes for the bulkheads himself. He explained it was easier to start on a angle then slowly come to a horizontal. I have never drilled myself but that was what i was told and it was coming form someone who drilled over 200 tanks and cracked one tank (due to tweaking the tank when picking it up), I know Jason has a DIY thread for glass cutting but thought i would throw out the information i was given.
Yep, that's what I did. I followed Doug's (Pumilo) thread on how to drill glass.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:59 AM
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Smile Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

It's not bad for sure. That's usually how it goes the firsts are the worst and you can only get better from there. Since the tank is one piece thats a HUGE+.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:18 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

Alright, so I did one more practice hole on the scrap piece of glass, and then I drilled the actual tank. I found drilling the tank was easier than the scrap pieces of glass, because the glass of the tank was about twice as thick. It seems like that would make it more tricky, but it was actually easier and it didn't chip as much. Or maybe I just got better at it from practicing! Either way...



















I do have a question though. See how when the false bottom is pressed up against the glass it covers the hole? Should I cut a hole in the false bottom so it doesn't cover the hole I drilled, or is that okay like that?
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:39 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

Nice job! A little chipping is okay. You are right about flipping it, that would stop the chipping but harder to line it up again. I don't usually flip it. You can also minimize the chipping by going slower, especially near the end.
I assume you are putting some sort of bulkhead in there for a drainage tube, right? You'll most likely have to clearance that screen and false bottom to fit a bulkhead.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:51 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

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Nice job! A little chipping is okay. You are right about flipping it, that would stop the chipping but harder to line it up again. I don't usually flip it. You can also minimize the chipping by going slower, especially near the end.
I assume you are putting some sort of bulkhead in there for a drainage tube, right? You'll most likely have to clearance that screen and false bottom to fit a bulkhead.
Thanks Doug. Yep, you helped me pick out the bulkhead from MistKing in another thread.

I'm thinking I can just cut a hole in the false bottom that matches up with the hole in the glass. Think that will work? Once I get the bulkhead I guess I'll be able to see how much I need to cut for it to fit.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:51 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

That looks like real diamond drilling fluid you have there. Where did you find it? I haven't seen that at any hardware store before. I had to get mine through a window supplier, CR Laurence, and had to get a lifetime supply to get it!
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

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That looks like real diamond drilling fluid you have there. Where did you find it? I haven't seen that at any hardware store before. I had to get mine through a window supplier, CR Laurence, and had to get a lifetime supply to get it!
It's actually just water. As I drilled, it got clouded over with particles (from the glass, I assume?).
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

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Originally Posted by Azriel View Post
Thanks Doug. Yep, you helped me pick out the bulkhead from MistKing in another thread.

I'm thinking I can just cut a hole in the false bottom that matches up with the hole in the glass. Think that will work? Once I get the bulkhead I guess I'll be able to see how much I need to cut for it to fit.
I thought that might have been you. I'd wait until you get it in to see just how much you'll have to clearance it.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

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It's actually just water. As I drilled, it got clouded over with particles (from the glass, I assume?).
Ahh, ok. Yes, it's just clouded from very fine glass dust then.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

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I thought that might have been you. I'd wait until you get it in to see just how much you'll have to clearance it.
Sounds good, I'll wait and see then.
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:05 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

Very nice Jennie, so these are your first three holes and all three were successful, right?
I can tell people that it's easy but they can say, "Oh, that's easy for you to say when you've been working with glass half your life."
But you have shown them that a first timer was successful the very first time! Hopefully people will take some encouragement from this.
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:14 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

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Very nice Jennie, so these are your first three holes and all three were successful, right?
I can tell people that it's easy but they can say, "Oh, that's easy for you to say when you've been working with glass half your life."
But you have shown them that a first timer was successful the very first time! Hopefully people will take some encouragement from this.
Yep, first three and all turned out fine! I followed the advise in your "how to drill your glass" thread, and it was a lot easier than I expected it to be. So I wanted to post this thread to encourage others who (like me) were afraid to try it. It really was not bad at all.
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:46 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

Nice to see ya got the Lenox Bits. I used the Hitachi ones that Lowes sells on thier web site...The package said 5/8...but they were actualy about 1/16 of an inch smaller then they were supposed to be. Lowes was nice in exchanging them though for the Lenox ones. I then had to use a diamond grinder to carve out the the holes to the right size. The puddy methode works good for holding the water there till ya start breaking throught the other side....luckly i had an understanding wife to hold the garden hose in mine...lol. Looks like ya did good though.

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Old 01-30-2012, 11:56 PM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

Tip for starting the hole.....get a normal hole saw same size as your diamond drill bit. Drill a hole in a thin piece of wood...quarter inch half inch whatever....then hold that wood over where u want your hole and use it as a guide. This will prevent the diamond bit from sliding on the glass.

Simple to do.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:59 PM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

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Originally Posted by mydumname View Post
Tip for starting the hole.....get a normal hole saw same size as your diamond drill bit. Drill a hole in a thin piece of wood...quarter inch half inch whatever....then hold that wood over where u want your hole and use it as a guide. This will prevent the diamond bit from sliding on the glass.

Simple to do.
That gets in the way of making a proper dam to cool and lubricate your bit. The proper way to drill glass freehand is to start it at an angle. Exactly as she did it. If you try to start the hole using wood as a guide you will be drilling dry, which can ruin a bit almost instantly.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:12 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

Gets water on my drill bits just fine. Drilled many tanks this way and multiple holes per bit. Plus I get my bits for a couple bucks a piece so if it does shorten the life one or two holes....oh well. To each there own tho. I would rather not have the bit travel.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:19 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

If you do it right, the bit doesn't travel. I'm not saying your way will not work, but it is not the best way. There are two proper ways in the glass industry to do this. One is with a drill press or a drill guide. The other is to start it at an angle. They keep your bit working longer, and a bit with sharp diamonds cuts a cleaner hole with less chipping and less chance of breakage. I have owned and operated a glass company for over 20 years.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:51 AM
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Default Re: Drilling Glass- My First Attempt

it tooked me around 5-6holes before doing 95% chirpless holes!
its easy, just be patient and doug's tutorial is A1 regarding this.
i have done around 30-40 holes now and I RARELY miss one
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