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I was messing around the other day and thought I would make a video on how to drill glass. Nothing fancy and it is really easy. I have drilled over 30 holes this way.



How do you know if your tank has tempered glass?
Every tank is different. Call the manufacturer to be sure the tank is NOT tempered. Back in the day, All Glass used to use whatever was lying around. Now days Aqueon uses tempered glass for all "kits" they sell at Walmart and Petco. Must be a liability thing.

All Glass/Aqueon contact info.
Aqueon About Us Contact Us

Marineland contact info. I beleive they made perfecto tanks.
Contact Us



Here is a little more in depth information regarding drilling glass.

For Drilling Glass, Stone, Marble and Porcelain

Diamond Plated Core Drill Bits will work the best when used with proper lubrication and a true running machine. Diamond drill life, cutting rate and finish do vary, depending on the equipment condition, speed (RPM), concentrically of the chuck, user feed rate, and type of glass being used.




Diamond Plated Core Drill Bits will fit into any regular manual drill or a drill press running at 500 to 2000 RPM. The higher the RPM, the more efficient the drill bit will be, and bit life may increase. Recommended Operating Speeds (to be used as a guideline):

1/8" to 1/2" Diameter 1,600 - 2,000 RPM

5/8" to 1" Diameter 1,400 - 1,600 RPM

1-1/8" to 2" Diameter 1,100 - 1,400 RPM

2-1/8" to 3" Diameter 900 - 1,100 RPM

3-1/4" to 4" Diameter 700 - 900 RPM

4-1/2" Diameter and Larger 500 - 700 RPM

Place a Suction Base Retaining Drilling Ring around area to be drilled. You can also use the lip of the aquarium itself, form playdough to make a dam or just use a constant stream of water.



NEVER run a diamond drill dry.



How to keep a straight hole.
Be sure the drill is running concentric and the machine's chuck has no wobble.

You can always use a guide, but then you cannot use the suction base ring, because it will not fit under the guide. I have also used a peice of plywood with a hole slightly larger than the bit as a guide. Remember to prop it up to allow water/coolant under the wood and in and around the bit.



Remove the springs if you use this. I find the weight of the drill and a little pressure is perfect to cut through glass.


How to reduce breakout.
It is important to know that, when using a diamond drill, there will always be a certain amount of breakout or flare on the back side of the hole. This is because when the glass becomes so thin that it can no longer support the weight or pressure of the drill, the slug and remaining thin piece of glass will chip out.

Using medium pressure, feed the drill into the glass for five seconds, then back up the bit to allow coolant to flow into the cut. Lower the drill with medium pressure again for five seconds. Keep repeating until you are within 3/32" of being through the glass, then lighten up on the pressure and ease the bit through the last 3/32" of the glass to reduce breakout. Note: a hard surface under the glass (hard board or wood) reduces breakout.

Always be sure, after each hole is drilled, that the glass plug is removed from the drill. Holes are provided in the side or on the top of the cylinder for easy removal. Multiple plugs will sometimes jam inside the drill, and while you are removing them, the drill might be damaged or bent out of round.

Hope that helps!
 

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Awesome Video, I think it should be a sticky, One thing I you could have mentioned in the vid was drilling pressure, When I drilling my first tank I did not know you where supposed to let the drill do all the work. I ended up breaking two pieces of glass because I used too much force.
 

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Awesome Video, I think it should be a sticky, One thing I you could have mentioned in the vid was drilling pressure, When I drilling my first tank I did not know you where supposed to let the drill do all the work. I ended up breaking two pieces of glass because I used too much force.
He did in the beginning. He said to let the drill do the work for you and not use pressure. Anyway great video and I agree should be a sticky in the parts and building section.
J
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Something that is worth noting, that I forgot in the original post, was that once the glass plug is drilled out, the edge of the hole can be extremely sharp. Be extra careful. The plug of glass you cut out is also extremely sharp due to the break out, be careful when handling this piece. There can also be shards of glass that occur when the breakout occurs. They will be small and can end up in bare feet. :( Yes, I know from experience.
 

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Perhaps you should put a towel underneath the cutting area in-case the breakout plug drops and smashes possible glass underneath. I know in this case there was nothing underneath the hole, but if you're drilling a side, this could happen.
 

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I have always reemed the hole out after it broke through. If you just drill up and down and wable the bit a little it tends to smooth the insides of the hole a little so that if you touched it it wouldnt cut you.
J
 

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Part: 2 - Drilling an Exo Terra.

Exo Terra tanks are a little different than drilling the bottom on an aquarium, because they have no lip to keep in water. The video explains how to do it. I forgot to mention in the video that the latch on exo's prohibits it to lay flat so you should lay the exo terra on some pieces of wood (I used 2x4's) just to prop it off the ground.

 

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gees...you made that look so darn easy...not much room for mistakes though on an Exo...the glass shops charge a small fortune for holes...thanks for the video--it would be a real confidence booster watching the procedure actually done...thanks
 

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Coincidentally did this for the first time last night. Had to drill 3 holes. Took a lot longer than I expected but went pretty well. My biggest problem personally was with the first hole, getting a feel for keeping the cordless drill steady due to the vibrations and the urge of the drill bit to wander near the start - I made some scoring in the glass around the top of the first hole as a result. Virtually no flaking on the other side though - I supported the glass sheet with cardboard on a workmate. The scoring was fine because it was covered up by the mister bulkhead. By hole 3 I consider myself an expert due to the perfect hole. Start at 30-45 degrees and very gradually go vertical. I also think that people over play how far from the edge you need to be.
 

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Excellent video! I am glad to see the cordless drill with all that water. It may seem obvious but it is worth noting that a electric power drill plugged into an outlet around water could cause a revolting experience. Safety first!!!

Great job again.
 

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I used this technique last night to drill two holes in a pair of 20h's and it went surprisingly quick for me (each hole took under a minute). A lot easier than I expected. I also had to steady the drill to keep it from wandering, scratched the glass a little, but whatever it's not like the focus is on the top of the tank.
 

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So where is everyone buying their hole saws from? I am using the ones from home depot and it takes easily 20 minutes per hole!! you guys must have better ones. I need 1/2" and 5/8" size and the Glass-Holes.com dope aquarium stuff website doesnt have something that small.
 
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