Somewhere in the archives here is a post about the making of one of Dutch artist Brit Hammer’s works at Earth, Wind and Tiles. Brit has now started blogging herself. Look out for details on exhibitions in the Netherlands and really useful tips from an experienced artisan who has often learnt these things the hard way.Here’s an excerpt about drilling glass from July 13…
So, drilling through glass. Last weekend before driving down to visit a gallery to show them my work, I started drilling holes in glass for my commission. I’ve never drilled into glass before, and one would think that it’s not that hard (and it’s not)…but only if you know how to do it. I’ll spare you the ridiculous details of my trial and error and how the first hole took literally 1 hour with my diamond drill bits and Dremel, all because I applied my knowledge of working with wood rather than thinking “glass”.
I’ve had a heck of a time finding diamond drill bits that fit my Dremel and had to convert those from another brand by wrapping masking tape around the base of the drill bit. I don’t recommend this as the drill bit starts to slip into the drill shaft or the tape slips and the drill bit starts to fall out whilst drilling.
Suffice it to say that to drill one hole large enough for a Taurus ring saw blade to go through (circa 2mm in diameter), one should:
1. Place the glass to be drilled on a scrap piece of wood in a pan of water so that the water just covers the surface of the glass. The water cuts down on the dust and keeps the glass from cracking. Be careful not to drop the drill into the water – electrocution. Drilling into a piece of wood saves you drilling into the pan. Don’t try to drill on a slow speed otherwise the drill will “dance” around on the glass rather than to bore through it.
2. Drill 3 or 4 tiny pilot holes in a triangle or square pattern – I used a diamond drill bit 0.8 mm in diameter. Drill STRAIGHT DOWN and pull the drill STRAIGHT UP once the hole is drilled otherwise risk breaking your drill bit. I don’t have a drill press so I did it by hand with 99% success. I say 99% because I must have brought the drill up at an angle by accident. Something important to do is to bring the drill up every other second so that water fills the hole. Don’t use too much pressure otherwise you’ll wear out the drill bit – so let the drill do the drilling.
3. Follow the pilot holes using a larger drill bit – I used a diamond drill bit 1.2 mm in diameter. Again, drill straight down and bring the drill straight up once the hole is made.
4. Open up the spaces between the holes by grinding them down with the larger bit (or drill again with a yet larger drill bit).
If you’re still having trouble drilling, it’s possible that your drill bit is worn out or defective. Do a search on Google for “drilling glass” and you’ll find more advice.
Once you know those simple tips, drilling glass is easy.
So wander over there , settle in and say hi…