How to Drill a hole in Glass without Breaking it

Drilling holes in glass is a risky task as it is a fragile material and has the potential to break down and cause injury. But handling the task successfully can reward you with the ability to complete a variety of industrial and commercial applications. Thus, you have to learn how to drill a hole in glass without breaking it and complete the task precisely.

Learning the process will improve your crafting and home repair repertoire in exciting ways. While some eager DIY enthusiasts avoid the project that demands drilling holes in the glass, learning the method will shine your professional career.

Throughout the guide, we will explain a user-friendly and safer way of drilling a hole in the glass without breaking it. The article includes some safety tips to help DIYers be aware of the error steps and finish the task without any hassle.

How to make a hole in glass without breaking it

The method is still effective and offer successful operation whether you want to learn how to drill a hole in a glass window or how to drill a hole in the bottom of a glass bottle. Tools required: you will need these tools to drill a hole in glass conveniently:

  • Face mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Felt tip pen
  • Masking tape
  • Scrap wood
  • Power drill
  • Lubricant
  • Old paper sheet
  • A diamond files (600 grit).
  • A diamond-tipped drill bit.
  • Can of compressed air.

Get ready the glass

Firstly, line the scraped wood with an old paper sheet to offer it some cushioning and place the glass over the scraped wood. Create an X formation over the desired area of the glass surface with a two-piece of masking tape. Now mark the exact point with a felt tip pen where you want to drill a hole. But don’t create it within ¾ of an inch of any border of the glass as it will increase the risk of breaking it.

Prepare the power drill

Insert the 1/8-inch or 3/32-inch diamond-tipped drill bit into your drill bit chuck and secure it. Starting with a smaller size is always better for creating an accurate hole. It is especially helpful for drilling a hole in the glass without causing any damage. At this stage, wear your protective face mask and goggles.

Create a starter hole

Drilling a starter hole is another safer step to creating a hole in glasses without breaking them. To do so, set your drill speed at 400 RPM and place the drill bit at the center of the mark. Slowly start drilling and apply some lubricating oil to the bit so it can move without binding up. Gently push the drill to create a starter hole and always keep the glass wet.

Increase the drill bit size

After creating the starter hole, take out the masking tape and change the drill bit with the next size larger diamond-tipped drill bit. Continue drilling at 400 RPM and increase the drill pressure between each drill bit change. Stoop drilling periodically and carefully clean the dust around and inside the hole using a can of compressed air. Apply some lubricant if you feel the drill bit getting hotter. Repeat the step until you get the hole with desired diameter in the glass.

Upside down the glass

Once drilling around ¾ of the glass thickness, stop the drill machine. Now reverse the glass and again begin with the smallest drill bit, low speed, and lighter pressure. Continue drilling a deep hole from the inside increases the risk of breaking the glass.

Finish the job

Drilling from the opposite side, you will create a hole over time. Once you exit the hole, carefully remove the drill and power it off. Now smooth out the sharp edge of the hole with a diamond file. Wash the glass piece in cold water to remove any remaining debris.

Things to remember before drilling through glass

Make sure you are aware of these things before powering on the drill to create a hole through the glass.

Drill Speed: Drilling through the glass at a higher speed can create extreme heat which can damage the drill bit. Thus, it is better to use a drill that has a variable speed trigger to set the speed as desired. If the drill has a 0-1500 rpm, then by completely depressing the trigger you will have 1500 RPM.

How to Drill a hole in Glass without Breaking it

Conversely, by squeezing it halfway, the drill will produce 750 rpm, and by releasing more, it will offer 375 rpm. This lowest setting is your goal to set before starting drilling through glass. So experiment with your drill and, over time, you can set the desired RMP to drill through glass properly. 

Drill bits: Carbide-tipped bits and diamond tips are mostly suitable for drilling through glass, tile, and other tough surfaces. These drill bits are available in various sizes and you will need some of them to create the desired diameter hole step by step. You have to start with a ⅛-3/32-inch drill bit to create a starter hole.

Lubrication: Applying lubricating oil on the drill bit helps reduce the heat build-up and prevents damage.

Safety: Before drilling into the glass, place it securely so it can’t move. Lay it on a cushioned surface and you can use a clamp to keep the glass in place. Wear your protective equipment to prevent any damage.

Practice: If you are planning to drill a hole in the glass for the first time, do some practice on a piece of unnecessary glass. It will increase your confidence and let your mind and handset drill holes like a pro. But don’t try to bore a hole in tempered glass as it will crack easily.

A few safety tips for drilling a hole in the glass without breaking it

Glass is a brittle material and DIY enthusiasts, especially amateurs, are at a huge risk of breaking it. But keeping these safety precautions in mind, the operator can drill a hole successfully in glass:

Don’t use an old drill bit

Whether it is a carbide-tipped or diamond-tipped drill bit, never use an old drill bit, especially on the glass. Use a fresh drill bit as using a dull bit will shatter the class and end up with a breakdown.

Place the glass on a flat surface

Laying the glass on an uneven surface and putting pressure on it while drilling will break the glass for sure. So, place the glass on a flat surface, use a cushion under it and gently push the drill to create a hole without breaking it.

Take patient

Drilling a hole in glass isn’t a time-consuming task, but performing it slowly will increase the rate of success. Not only that, starts with the smallest size drill bit and gradually increases the size to get the desired diameter hole in the glass. It may extend the time of the operation, but in the end, you will have a smooth edge hole in the glass without breaking it.

Don’t drill close to the edge

You should maintain a safe distance between the edge and the hole. Usually, experts recommend keeping a distance of at least ¾ inches from any edge. Drilling near the edge won’t offer you enough support and the operation will end up damaging the glass.

Fill the hole

After drilling the hole, don’t leave it blank. Fill the hole with something so its edge doesn’t get hurt when you use it.

FAQs on How to Drill a hole in Glass without Breaking it

How to drill a hole in the glass without cracking it?

Keep away from drilling a minimum of ¾-inch from the edge of the glass to prevent it from cracking. Use a smaller size of ⅛- to 3/32-inch bit to create a starter hole first. Then gradually apply some pressure and lubricating oil to get the desired hole.

Can I use a normal drill bit to drill through glass?

Drilling through glass requires a special type of drill bits like a diamond tip or carbide-tipped as these are suitable for hard surfaces. Conversely, using a regular drill bit won’t give you the desired result and can damage the hole project over time.

How can I successfully drill a hole in tempered glass?

You will require diamond drill bits to drill through the tempered glass as it can cut through thick glasses. More importantly, the procedure largely depends on the tempered glass thickness. Not only that, do you have to apply lubricating oil consistently to drill a hole in tempered glass?

Final words

Drilling a hole in glass is a straightforward task only if you execute it methodically and carefully. Throughout the guide, we have discussed how to drill a hole in a glass without breaking it in detail. The process won’t require expert help or much effort, but it demands some patience. More importantly, follow the safety measures and don’t allow the children to close the working area. Finally, follow those steps properly and you will have a smooth edge hole out of this brittle material.

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Sam Morgan is a professional interior designer and part-time content writer of Drill Villa. He has done hundreds of major projects and sharing his experience with you. He is a tools lover like drill, drill press, drivers, wrench etc. He used and tested thousands of tools and knows which perform better.

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