Drilling holes in glass

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Blog entry by Joeshop posted 12-27-2011 09:44 PM 2115 reads 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

What’s the best way to drill holes in glass ?

Glass like bottles and stuff.

Should I use a masonry bit ?

Small hole first and sneak up on it ?

Desired size all-at-once ?

Should I use water or oil as lubricant?

I’m planning on using a drill press.

Thanks in advance

-- ~You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.~ - Joe

4 comments so far

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2401 days

#1 posted 12-27-2011 11:16 PM

You want a glass and tile bit, they have triangular heads. Set the drill press speed on the low end and drill the hole the size desire, use water for a lubricant if needed. Use slow steady pressure while drilling.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View SgtSnafu's profile


960 posts in 2689 days

#2 posted 12-28-2011 02:42 AM

Not sure what size hole your considering…

Back in 1980 (in woodshop class) we used a short piece of break line (the diameter we wanted the hole). The break line had a saw kerf in the end and was chucked up in a hand drill… Took plumbers putty and made a dam around where we wanted the hole, and filled that area with valve lapping compound. The kerf in the break line tube held the lapping compound (lubricant and cutting agent).. It was actually fairly easy and interesting to do with commonly found stuff… Now days I would take a look at Harbor Freight’s glass drills…

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2179 days

#3 posted 12-28-2011 04:55 AM

There are several factors to consider:
1. Thickness of glass
2. Location of hole to be drilled
3. Speed and feed of the drill bit

I spent nearly seven years as a glazer at a local glass shop. We had people come in all the time asking us to drill holes into there bottles, glass block, and so on. In the glazing industry we used either a diamond encrusted hole saw or a glass hole saw in conjuction with silicone carbide dust. We inserted these hole saws in the the chuck of a drill that is mounted on a triangular shaped base similar to the one in this photo;

If you plan to drill holes in glass on a regular basis you may want to invest in such a machine. If not you may be able to make a tripod that you can then fit a hand drill into.

Controlling the speed and feed of the bit is critical. Going to fast can cause the glass to heat up and crack. Even when using coolant. Water works the best to keep the hole saw cool. You definately want to create a dam so that the water stays contained. Plumbers putty or modeling clay will do the trick.

The machine we used allowed the user to control the feed rate of the bit by turning a knurled nut. This is what helps to control the descent of the bit. If you are using a drill press be very mindful of how much pressure you apply.

The shape of the object be drilled is a key factor. A bottle, for instance, will change the way you allow the hole saw to feed into the work.

The name of the game is to keep it cool and feed it slow. Heat is the enemy.

Here is a little video that may help;

I hope it goes well for you. Take care.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View Joeshop's profile


49 posts in 2535 days

#4 posted 01-01-2012 02:45 AM

Thanks, I appreciate all the info and now I have the drill bits that I’ll need to “hole the glass”

-- ~You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.~ - Joe

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