You found the perfect beach glass. You made the perfect fused glass cabochon. Now you want to drill the glass to use it as a component for jewelry. This tutorial will show you how to drill found beach glass, fused glass cabochons and components or any other glass your want to repurpose or upcycle.
Things You'll Need
- diamond coated drill bits
- water or glass lubricant
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Determine the size hole you need and select a ball burr and drill bit. Always use diamond coated drill burrs and bits to drill your glass. Do not use carbide bits to drill glass.
It is important to keep the drill bit from skipping or moving when you are beginning to drill a hole. A drill press will hold the bit firmly in place as you work.
Create a small divot in the glass with a ball burr. The divot will prevent the drill bit from skidding across the glass as you drill. You will need a lubricant to keep the glass cool when you create the divot and later as you drill. Most people use water. Place the object being drilled into a shallow pan or tray. Fill the pan with just enough water to cover the glass. Place a thin wooden board or Styrofoam in the bottom of the pan to prevent you from drilling through the bottom of the pan (resulting in a huge, wet mess).
Switch from the ball burr to your drill bit. Avoid twisted bits for drilling glass.
Match the bit size to the size hole you desire. Usually, you will want a ball burr that corresponds in size to the drill bit. For large holes, however, it is often preferable to begin with small bits and move up to large size burrs and bits to enlarge the hole.
The tip of the drill bit should be kept wet at all times when drilling. Use enough water so that the "dust" from the hole does not become air borne. The drill "dust" should become a very wet paste. If at all possible, have a small amount of water constantly running over the drill tip and bore hole as you work. If you are unable to have fresh water running over the drill hole, stop from time to time and replace the dirty water with fresh, clean water.
Begin drilling at a very slow speed with very light pressure and plenty of lubrication. You can increase all three as you become more comfortable with drilling. Faster drilling often results in wearing out bits more quickly, so you will need to balance the cost time spent drilling balances against the cost buying more drill bits.