Drilling holes in glass bottles

topic posted Wed, January 3, 2007 - 8:35 AM by  Michelle
Hey there. I was looking for advice on how to drill holes in glass bottles. Would it make a difference if they were something like mayo jars or something I bought specifically as a bottle (eg, from a craft store)? What kind of bits should be used? Is there the possibility of cracking from the drill point? Thanks for the info!
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  • Slowly is the trick. Doesn't matter what kind of glass.
    • wear your safety glasses!!
      • -
        offline 12
        > wear your safety glasses!!

        Unless you want to drill a hole into them :-)
        • Interesting thought. I wear regular glasses... don't know if that's good enough or not? And don't think I wanna drill holes in THEM 'cause then I couldn't see *pout*

          Thanks again y'all. You have given me many ideas. One though, I wanted to take bottles, either in the shape of, or actual coke bottles and make myself some incense burners. Do some acid etching on them too... saw sumthin like this in a store and could never afford it. But thought the idea was cool to make for myself... whatdoya think? Will the constant changes in temperature affect these holes?
          • -
            offline 12
            I don't think the temperature will be an issue, not the temperature of incense burning at least...
            For the etching, you can use the dremel and the diamond burrs as well.
            May be more time consuming and less precise, but safer than handling hydrofluoric acid.
          • acid etching - a friend did this with some aluminum. He got the stuff they sell at radio shack for etching circuit boards, then he drew on his aluminum with a sharpie and electrical tape the areas he didn't want etched then poured the stuff on.

            its not a deep etch but looks cool.
            • -
              offline 12
              > a friend did this with some aluminum

              Yes, it is ferric chloride. It will work on copper and aluminum and it is pretty safe to handle.
              It won't etch glass though.
              • You can get "Glass Etch" at any stained glass supply shop, and some craft shops. It's a water based paist, . I use it a lot for adheasion on ceramics in the same way you would sand something befor painting. I've also cut stencles from masking tape or contact paper. If you use this technique, make sure that the edges of the tape are pressed down well on the glass, it will seep under the edge if not.
              • Hello Giovanni,

                You mentioned using ferric chloride to etch/drill holes in copper. Can you assist me in the method in which this is done? What caught my attention was that using ferric chloride is a very safe method. I would only assume that it is also enviromentally friendly.

                Robin Hooper
                Newbie to the Tride :)
  • Yep, diamond bit work great. Just remember to keep the spot wet. A spare hand and a squirt bottle works well. Keeping the glass cool helps prevent cracking. And go slow.
    • incense holder hahahaha yeah right we know you are making a bong for the chronic come on fess up!
      • What? No... really looking to make an incense holder. I saw one in... I think it was Spencers, and they had these bottles with colors inside and holes all over the outside. Some had etching and stuff on them too. They cost about $25 and I just couldn't justify that. So I was wondering about making my own. I wouldn't want to make a "bong" for smoking because wouldn't that be bad for you? I mean, I don't know too much about that, but I always figured there was a special kind of glass used for that. And then there would be the teeny glass shards that could get into your lungs... kind of an interesting idea though. But I think I'll stick with my incense holder...
        • >>>>>but I always figured there was a special kind of glass used for that. And then there would be the teeny glass shards that could get into your lungs...<<<<<<

          a good washing would take care of the shards, and yes they generally use pyrex for bongs because it is stronger and heat resistant, but
          for a water pipe any decent glass bottle would be fine.

          pyrex is a little harder to cut with a dremel, found out the hard, broken way. oops.
  • --If you want a neat hole and have the time try using a brass tube as your cutter.. I learned this method from one of the Amateur Scientist columns in Scientific American, before they got all stuffy. Anyway a guy by the name of C.L. Stong was the editor of all the good stuff and he put out a book that describes this and a bunch of other neat hacks. I drilled a 3/8" hole in a 5-gallon water bottle using his technique and it worked great. Rough description follows.
    1) Get down to an art supply shop or better yet find some amateur astronomers who are into grinding mirrors for telescopes and get some powdered abrasive.
    2) Surround the area you want to drill with a dam made of clay.
    3) Take brass tube and cut to a length of maybe 4 in. With a small triangular file nick the business end in a couple of places. Chuck the other end in a drillpress
    4) With a small brush apply a slurry of abrasive and water to the surface of the glass.
    5) Peck drill with the brass "bit" at a medium speed (for a 3/8" dia hole you'd want maybe 800 rpm), adding more slurry between each peck.
    • VERY interesting! I live in a small town, so not too likely we have amateur astronomers around here... but could probably find some kind of art supply shop! Thanks so much!
      • also when cutting glass make sure to use alot of water while you do the cutting. that should keep the dust down and keep the bit nice and cool.. go very VERY slowly is the key to cutting a hole in glass... then take a bit of 150+ grit sandpaper (the black stuff works the best) and put on a pair of gloves and sand the edges of the glass hole so that they are not razor sharp....


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