Monday, June 24, 2013

DIY: Drilling Through Glass

When I mentioned the Family Room Design Plan with you a few months ago, I also mentioned that we would be DIY-ing our own large scale wall clock.  In order to accomplish that task in a few months, some practicing needed to be done first.  

The main face of the clock is going to be a mirror.  I would ideally like to use a 12" diameter mirror, and it will probably only need to be one of the small craft ones that aren't the best quality, but are the best price.  The problem with using a mirror is that there is no hole in the middle for the clock mechanism to go through.  

I spent some time searching clock websites, craft websites, and even the motherland that is Etsy.  I was able to find one artist who was willing to make me a custom 12" diameter mirror clock face, but due to the custom aspect of the order and the fact that it would need to be international shipping, the price skyrocketed to $60!  Therefore, in an attempt to save some money, I have decided to try to completely DIY this project.  

The practice part of this project is figuring out how to drill a hole through the mirror for the clock mechanism.  With a bunch of extra wine bottles left over from my failed wedding centerpiece idea, I took out a couple and decided to use them for practice.  

Like most projects start lately, I took a trip to the hardware store to pick up some supplies.  I picked up these two different sized glass and tile bits.  I'm pretty sure that when I make the clock that I will only need to use the 1/4" bit, but the 1/2" bit was too tempting to pass up.

I gathered up my supplies and got to work.  For this, you will need your glass or tile item of choice, a drill, the bit you likely just bought from the store, a small amount of water, and not pictured below are duck tape and a piece of scotch tape.

Start by deciding where on your item you would like the hole drilled.  Place a piece of scotch tape over the center of the spot where you would like the hole.  The scotch tape is only for traction between the glass and the drill bit.  

Surround that spot with duck tape to protect the rest of the glass from shattering.  Make sure that you leave enough of the scotch tape showing so that the drill bit won't go through any of the duck tape.  You can make sure of this by placing the widest part of the drill bit between the pieces of the duck tape before pressing it into place.  

For me, I placed my wine bottle on an old shirt that I use for projects, just so it had some cushioning when I was pressing down on it.  With working with something that rolls, like a wine bottle, you will want to brace it somehow.  I decided just to use my legs, but you may decide to use a work table with a set of adjustable clamps.

Place the tip of the drill bit in the center of your scotch taped area.  Holding your drill straight up and down, begin the drilling process going at a slow-medium speed, applying very little pressure.  Run the drill for about ten or fifteen seconds, or just enough time for the drill to make a mark in the glass or tile.  

After the drill has made a mark in the glass or tile, you will need to start applying water to the spot you will be drilling.  You should be able to see a small amount of white powder at the point of drilling. This is actually the glass being turned back into sand.  Adding water will help drill through the glass by adding a lubricant so that the glass doesn't chip or crack.  

Gradually add pressure to the drill and increase the drill to a medium or medium-high speed, but make sure to keep it in an upright position.  Moving the drill to the sides, even slightly, can risk in cracking or chipping the glass.  Continue to add water to the drilling spot when it looks as though it is getting dry.  You can tell for sure how dry the drilling spot is by how much white power is produced.  

When you finally make way through the glass, you will need to add more water than you were before because it will drip through the hole instead of sitting on the top of it.  You should also reduce your speed slightly so that you don't risk breaking the glass.  

After about 20 minutes total, you should be through the glass completely.  Be very careful taking the bit back through the hole, as you don't want to risk chipping the other side of the hole.  

If your hole is really rough around the edges, you can use some sandpaper to sand it down smoothly.  Keep in mind that if you sand more than just the edges of the hole, the glass will show the scratch marks from the grains of sand on the sandpaper.  

Remove the scotch tape and the duck tape from the bottle, both of which should come off cleanly.  If you notice some of the adhesive starting to stick to your glass or tile, wet the tape and it should come off cleanly.  You can use goo-gone or a razor blade to also help you remove the adhesive.  

With a finished hole in the glass or tile, you are free to do with it what you want! In this case, since this was just practice for my future in clock-making, I haven't quite decided what I will do with this bottle.  But, if you are looking to drill a hole in a bottle and are looking for ideas, there are so many that I found on Pinterest! 

Has this post inspired you to save up some of those wine bottles and put them to good use?  I am so looking forward to working on the clock - I can't wait to show it to you!


Unknown said...

So cool!!!

I {heart} Rhody said...

Looks like you really got a handle on it. Good job!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article. I'm going to do something similar. For the water I'm going to use one of my son's squirt guns to periodically squirt the bit as I'm drilling.

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