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"How to Drill Glass and Tile"

How To Drill Glass
How To Drill Glass | How Do You Drill Glass | Drilling In Glass

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“You’re a lifesaver! Your information for
drilling glass, was wonderful. THANK YOU!”

Becky C. in Erie, PA
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How to Drill a Hole in Glass...

You'll use these tips and techniques to drill glass, sea glass, wine bottles, glass block, tile, stone, granite and marble.

  1. Use diamond bits to drill your glass, not carbide bits.
  2. Use diamond hole saws to drill holes 1/4" and larger or to drill holes in thick glass like glass block or wine bottles.
  3. Use plenty of lubrication/coolant to keep your drill tip cool and the hole clean.
  4. Use less pressure! Let your drill bit drill at it's own pace.
  5. Start diamond hole saws at 600-900 RPM.
  6. Start diamond drill bits at 2500-5000 RPM.


A copy of the complete Drilling Guide 7-page is shipped FREEwith every order.

The FAQs below should answer any other questions you might have.

Drilling glass, tile, or stone? All you need is the right diamond drill bit and a few helpful hints to have your project turn out beautifully.



How fast should I drill?



Use diamond bits to drill hard, brittle materials like glass, ceramics and tile. Drill small holes using a round ball shaped bit. Drill holes 1/4" and larger using a diamond core bit. First, pick the shank size that fits your tool, and then choose a rounded end bit or core bit that matches the size of the hole you need.

Diamond bits (even coarse) will leave a smoother finish than spade bits or twist drills and won't chip and crack your work. With a little luck, the finish will be smooth enough, without any additional polishing. Drill speeds vary. Start out very slowly and gradually increase the speed. As a starting point, start hole saws at about 700-800 RPM. Start round end bits at 2500-5000 RPM. The larger your bit is, the slower you should start. The more lubrication you use, the faster you can drill.

Drilling faster increases friction, burns up the bit and causes the colorful drill tips. Everyone repeat after me: if your drill bit develops yellow, brown, blue or black “burn marks” around the tip, slow down.

Read enough? Click here to choose your Glass Drill Bits.

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How hard should I press?



Increasing the pressure on twist drills makes the bit drill faster. Not such a good idea with diamond bits. When you use diamond drill bits it is very important to use light to moderate pressure and to let the bit "drill at its own speed".

Increasing the drill pressure will only increase the friction and heat. This not only burns up the bit, but also increases your stress level, causing your face to turn red and steam to come out of your ears. Heat will also fracture or crack the material you're drilling. Again, everyone repeat after me; if your drill bit develops yellow, brown, blue or black “burn marks” around the tip slow down and lighten up.

If you are dilling a hole completely through an object, it is important to "lighten up" the pressure even more when the drill bit is about to break through. This reduces chipping on the backside of the object when the bit emerges from the back.

Better yet drill half way through, flip the material over, start a new hole on the backside and let them meet in the middle. Yes, I know this is "easier said than done". I have plenty of glass with holes that didn't quite match in the middle. It must be a faulty measuring tape!

Congratulations! You've read more of our FAQs than most people do. Click here to choose your Glass Drill Bits.

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Should I use lubrication?



Lets start out with the legal stuff first. Please be careful using any electrically powered tool near water. Water or another lubricant should be used to cool and lubricate the tip of diamond bits. Lubrication reduces heat build-up, sort of like adding a little cold water to hot coffee to cool it. Water is usually used, because it is cheap and available.

Increase the amount of lubrication used with harder materials. If you are drilling fiberglass, a diamond bit can be used dry or with a very small amount of water. When drilling in glass, ceramics, or stone use enough water so that the “dust” from the hole is a very wet paste or wetter. The tip of the drill bit should always be wet. If you are drilling hard or abrasive material, use even more lubrication. If you can, have a small amount of lubricant constantly running over the drill tip and bore hole.

Click here to choose your Glass Drill Bits.

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A Few Tips: Use a small hose or tube to run water onto the surface near the drill tip and bore hole. Some people place a plastic jug (milk jug) with a small hole near the bottom of it, next to the drill hole. As the water leaks out of the bottle, it provides continuous lubrication as you drill.

A better trick is to build a "dam" around the drill hole using modeling clay. Fill it with lubricant.

Or best yet, place the object being drilled into a shallow pan or tray then fill the pan with enough water to just cover the material. Don't make my mistake. Place a thin board or Styrofoam in the bottom of the pan or you will drill right through the pan bottom making a mess and causing you to wonder why you thought this was a good idea.

If you are drilling on a vertical surface use a hose or tube to run water to the drill tip. If that's not possible, have someone "mist" water onto the drill tip using a squirt bottle. (More legal stuff) Please be careful and use common sense around water if your tool is electrically powered.

OK! Now I'm really, really ready! Click here to see Glass Drill Bits.

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How do I balance speed, pressure and lubrication?



Unfortunately learning to balance drill speed, drill pressure, lubrication and your time is a learned skill. Learned from trial and error. It is best to start out with a very slow drill speed, very light pressure and lots of lubrication. Gradually increase all three until you reach the point where time spent drilling balances against the cost of more drill bits. Starting slow reduces risks and extends bit life. Always use more lubrication than you think you need.

Click here to take me to Glass Drill Bits.

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Which bits will fit my Dremel® tool?



Every diamond bit on this websitewith a 1/16", 3/32" or 1/8" shank will fit Dremel® rotary tools. You will need to make sure that your Dremel® tool has an adjustable chuck or that you have the right size collet to fit your drill bit.

If you have an adjustable chuck simply tighten or loosen the chuck until the shank of the bit slides into the chuck. Then tighten the chuck until it holds the bit securely in place.

If you don’t have an adjustable chuck, then your Dremel tool uses collets. The collet is the metal tube that holds the bit in your Dremel® tool. These are interchangeable. Even Dremel® brand bits come in different 2 different shank sizes, 1/8" and 3/32". Just change the collet to fit the bit you are using.

If you know the size you need. Click here to see Dremel Drill Bits.

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Changing Collets



The black nut on the end of the tool that you tighten to secure the bit is the collet nut. Loosen the collet nut until it comes off of your tool completely.

Directly underneath it is a little metal tube with 2,3, or 4 slits in the large end. This is the collet. These are interchangeable.

The hole down the center of the collet holds a drill bit with either a 1/16”, 3/32” or 1/8” shank. Collets are size specific. Larger bits will not fit into smaller collets and larger collets will not tighten enough to hold a smaller bit in place.

All Dremel® tools come with a 1/8" collet. If your Dremel® kit came with several collets you probably already have both the 1/16" and 3/32" collets. If so, you are already set to use bits with 1/16" and 3/32" shanks.

Most people save money by buying a 1/16” or 3/32” collet so they can use smaller, less expensive bits.

You can choose both 1/16" and 3/32" collets in our accessories section. Simply choose a 1/16" collet for bits with a 1/16" shank or 3/32" collet for bits with a 3/32" shank.

Click here to see:1/16" & 3/32" Collets.

Even Dremel® brand diamond wheels and diamond points do not come on a 1/8" shank. They have a 3/32” shank. If you have used Dremel diamond bits before then you already have a 3/32” collet.

Click here to see Diamond Bits for Dremel Tools.

There are 2 older models of Dremel® tools that do not accept interchangeable collets.

What is the difference in the grits?



Your choices include diamond bits in several different grits, Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Coarse and Super Coarse. These are all relative terms. How fine is Fine? How coarse is coarse? Most people are familiar with sandpaper so we've compared international standards for diamond tools to common sandpaper grit. The table below compares diamond grit to sandpaper grit:

  • Extra Fine diamond grit is comparable to 360 grit sandpaper.
  • Fine diamond grit is comparable to 200 grit sandpaper.
  • Medium diamond grit is comparable to 120 grit sandpaper.
  • Coarse diamond grit is comparable to 95 grit sandpaper.
  • Super Coarse diamond grit is comparable to 75 grit sandpaper.


We hope this helps. Most people will not see or notice a significant difference between medium and coarse grit diamond tools. For most applications we recommend that you order the coarser grit.

Back to the front page I'm ready to start drilling. Click here to see Diamond Drill Bits.

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How do I start a hole?



The best way to prevent the bit from skipping or walking when you're starting a hole is to use a drill press. This holds the bit firmly in place. Use a vise or some other system to hold your work firmly in place under the drill press.

If you can't use a drill press, keep the bit from walking or skipping by making a pilot hole in a piece of wood or plastic using the diamond drill or another bit. 1/8" thick wood, 1/8" Plexiglas or even cardboard will work. Place this "template board" on the material being drilled, with the pilot hole above your target spot. This will keep the diamond bit centered in place while you start the hole with your hand drill or rotary tool.

Back to the front page, I need to choose a drill bit. Click here to see Diamond Drill Bits.

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How long will they last?



This is the question our customers ask most often and the one we can't answer.

The hardness and abrasiveness of the material being drilled, the tool speed, the pressure used and the amount and type of lubrication affect the life span of all diamond bits, ours and all others. Even materials that appear similar have varying degrees of hardness and abrasiveness. It is impossible to estimate the life of a diamond bit. On some thin, soft materials a diamond bit may last for 50-100 holes or more, while on some thick, very hard or very abrasive materials the life many be only 1-3 holes or less.

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Don't do this!



There are two things that we do not recommend doing with your diamond bits.

Never:
  • Use diamond bits with impact type "hammer drills". The impact will bend the tips.
In addition:
  • Diamond bits are not recommended for steel or other ferrous metals. You will get much better results using carbide bits on iron, steel and other ferrous alloys.
Let's start drilling. Choose from below or from the navigation bar on the left.



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DiamondBurs.Net LLC
1227 Rockbridge Rd.
Suite 208-164
Stone Mountain, GA 30087
We don't currently have a retail storefront location.
1 (800) 853-9403 (Toll Free)

1-706-407-4447 (Fax)

Office Hours: (Monday-Friday) 8:00AM to 4:00PM EST

All orders received by 3:00PM (EST) are shipped the same business day.

Thank you for your business. Please send questions, comments, and suggestions: Guy Reddick by email.

Thanks again!