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MrGreenGenes

Drilling Regular Glass

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I'm now in my 4th attempt to make an absinthe fountain, a 4-spigot version for an event next month for some absinthe newbies out here on the Island. I have a two-spigot fountain, but it had non-leaking cracks and I don't dare drill on it any more. Last night during attempt #3, I was on the 4th hole when like lightening a crack encircled the vessel, connecting all four holes, and the bottom fell away.

 

I'm starting with a 1/8" glass bit and finishing with a 3/8 glass "spear" bit, which accomodates the spigot.

 

I'm drilling into a tall box-shaped kitchen jar with four flat sides, and I want one spigot per side. I've been holding the drill in one hand and water apray water in the other, keeping the drill area nice & wet.

 

Any tips on not cracking the glass? Would I have better luck with a round vessel?

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I haven' had a great deal of experience drilling glass, but it sounds like you are doing it the same way I did mine. I held the vessel in the sink and let the faucet run over the drill site. Unless there is a problem with the glass itself, the solution is probably a light touch and a lot of patience...

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It seems to me that the enemy is vibration - that and a tired forearm at the critical last few moments when the bit is about to pass through. Unfortunately I don't have a drill press so it's hard to keep everything as steady as it should. I'm thinking I should be patient and take a long break to rest my arm before the final drill.

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Use a good diamond core bit. Build a water dam around the hole (1-2 inch diameter) using glazers putty and fill with water (about 1/4 inch high). You can use a hand drill but you need to be straight up and down. Apply very little pressure and let the diamond cut it. It will take a bit to get the hole drilled. If you can get your hands on diamond dust to add to the water, it helps.

 

Trick is not to let the glass get hot. If it starts heating up, stop and let the bit cool (ice cold glass of water to dip in).

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If you go to Harbor Freight they have some CHEAP bench top drill presses and diamond bits.

 

They have one that normally sells for $89.99 on sale for $39.99. Not the same quality as Delta or Ryobi but some friends of mine have the Central Machinery (Chinese) press and swear by it. As long as you're not running a full time shop it will more than meet your needs.

 

I'm gonna go this weekend and pick up a 3 pc stepped drill bit set. Ti coated for $16! At home Depot you can't touch 1 for that price.

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Last night my latest attempt at a four-spigot fountain ended with the bottom of the vessel cracking and falling completely off while I was finishing hole #3. Then I tried drilling a round vase until another crack wrapped more than 180 degrees around it.

:blowup:

So FUCK IT! - We'll be using my two-spigot cracked but functional fountain at the my local event, where about a dozen fellow Bainbridge Islanders will experience absinthe for the first time.

 

So until I buy a drill press (or am invited over by someone who already did), I am retired from fountain making!

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My advice,

 

Take the glass item you want to use to a glass fab. shop and have them drill it for you.

 

Or buy a repro fountain, when you figure the cost, and aggravation, you may end up happier, and un injured.

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However.

 

I just spoke with a guy at the stained glass shop down the street from me and he says they'll do it, but you have to sign a release. I have a couple I need drilled, I'll let you know how it goes.

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I can see how they wouldn't guarantee the piece not cracking.

 

A mirror shop would be set up to handle that type of drilling, though from my own personal experience in doing some glass prototype work, I wouldn't attempt doing that type of drilling without a Bridgeport mill.

 

One go round with glass was enough for me, what we did worked, but then we had a well equipped and very expensive machine shop.

 

 

 

 

I've heard a grinding bit (Dremel type might work for this) YMMV.

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If you can get a shop to do it, go for that.

 

The only reliable way to drill glass that I am aware of is to use a drill press or mill/drill with a tubular copper bit and abrasive slurry. It actually grinds the hole through the glass. It is slow, but works. Trying to drill by hand produces very uneven stresses and is prone to cracks. Light and even pressure is the key.

 

Good luck.

 

RedNeck%20Fountain.jpg

 

Oh, yea,

 

Hi everyone.

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About a quarter are floppies. The rest are Magneto-Optical disks.

 

 

 

 

Man, I gotta start using the Spell Check button.

Edited by Le Gimp

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Sorry for the slow response.

 

I might have some. I need to see if I need to pull anything off them before I let them go. I'll try to dig around over the weekend and see what I can find. I probably still have two 5-1/4 drives so I can hook one up and copy the data to another drive.

 

PM me to remind me next week (I'll be out of town to Detroit till Wed.).

 

Computer at home is off line. Long story. Move MIL from upstairs bedroom to downstairs den which we are converting into an apartment. Move computers upstairs (5 days of painting, rug doctoring, etc) and find the cable in the bedroom won't allow the cable modem to connect. :wacko:

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As a gemmologist and former gemstone cutter/dealer i strongly recommend this company's products. http://www.crystalite.com/

Should be no problem getting diamond grit core drills through your local lapidary shop och club. Used to be plenty of those in the states, dunno now, have not been there for the last 10 years...

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A recommendation for preventing the cracks: fill the inside of the container with soft modeling clay. Pack it fairly tightly in so there's little if any airspace. Build a clay dam on the outside, within an inch of the intended hole. Fill the dam with light vegetable oil IF the surface is fairly flat. If not, use water or the bit will slip and you'll have trouble getting it started. Then, use the same slow and gentle pressure techniques you've been trying.

 

The combination of these techniques minimizes vibration and pressure when the bit is actually going through (preventing asymmetric stress on the inner "layer" of the glass as the bit goes through.)

 

This worked for me when I was trying to drill Lexan (plexiglass) that kept getting spidery cracks around the hole; I've since used it on hard plastics as well. I can only assume that it may have the same effect with glass; the difference was night and day on acrylics.

 

Good luck.

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I need to photograph my own Frankenstein of a fountain, but might add that substituting silicone gasket material seemed to work a lot better for me than the original rubber gaskets/washers that came with the spigots. The silicone gaskets were cut from a short length of 1/2" or perhaps 3/8" silicone tubing.

 

A bit of cross-posting, but this is more appropriate over here... Just a mock-up (no ice/water or actual louching going on). I went with only two spigots given the small container size. Besides, I figure it will mostly be used for just the wife and me. Mostly just me, actually. Gimp, your "personal" design is spot on.

 

post-97-1144821707_thumb.jpg

 

Secondary view:

 

post-97-1144822394.jpg

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I totally dig your fountain. The placement of the spigots make a nice little duet. Gets me thinking about two lovers, sharing an absinthe (with two straws) in a malt shop.

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This worked for me when I was trying to drill Lexan (plexiglass) that kept getting spidery cracks around the hole; I've since used it on hard plastics as well.  I can only assume that it may have the same effect with glass; the difference was night and day on acrylics.

 

Good luck.

 

When you drill acrylics, it's all about how the the drill bit is ground. (Standard bits are ground in such a way that they grab the acrylic.)

 

The type of acrylic can also effect the the fabrication techniques, with one of the worst to work with, being cheap extruded plexi, that will melt and get gummy during machining. (You would want to use cast plex.)

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Very nice Auguru. I've located the parts I need for my next fountain except spigots.

 

In other words I reckon I have a vase.

 

Any ideas or suggestions for locating spigots would help.

 

Thanks and nice work.

 

:cheers:

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