Drilling glass - That's how it's done!
Difficulty: Medium | Costs: approx. 35 euros | Workload: approx. 30 minutes.
Drilling glass sounds like a tough challenge. However, there is no need to be scared of this task. If you have the right tool and approach the task in a disciplined manner, you can drill glass without expensive special tools. In this article we will show you how you can drill glass with precise manual work and special care without damaging the glass or, in the worst case, destroying it.
1. Drilling a hole in glass - what is needed?
The right tools are crucial for a clean and optimal result when drilling glass. This includes the tools required for this, such as a glass or diamond drill and the drill, as well as personal protective equipment such as safety goggles, protective masks and protective gloves due to the glass splinters caused by drilling in glass. We have summarized other required work tools below so that you can drill safely and precisely into glass for your upcoming project without damaging or destroying it:
- Glass drill or diamond drill
- drilling machine
- Personal protective equipment (goggles, protective mask and protective gloves)
- Waterproof pen
- Coolant such as drilling oil or water
- Emery paper or glass cutter
2. Drilling holes in glass - areas of application
Drilling holes in glass is used in many areas. In the furniture industry, for example, glass shelves, glass doors or glass panels are drilled in order to attach hinges or brackets. In window and facade construction, it may be necessary to drill glass windows, glass doors or facade elements in order to mount fastening elements or connecting elements. In the hobby area of aquarium or terrarium lovers, holes are often drilled into the glass to pass through filters or hoses.
2.1 Splashback for the kitchen made of glass without drilling
A glass splashback in the kitchen is a stylish and practical solution to protect walls and tiles from splashes and stains. The glass plates can also be attached to the surface without drilling. You can achieve this by using a mounting adhesive that is suitable for the glass and the surface to be glued. Another way of gluing is to use double-sided tape. It must be ensured that the selected adhesive tape is designed for the weight of the glass plate. Clamping systems consisting of metal or plastic brackets are ideal when a stable attachment of the glass splash guard is required without drilling and without using adhesives.
2.2 Drill window glass
Drilling window glass requires special care and technique to avoid cracking or breaking the glass. Use a special glass drill such as a diamond drill or carbide drill to successfully drill clean holes in window glass. It should be checked in advance that the window glass is not tempered or safety glass. These are not suitable for simple glass drilling as described in our step-by-step instructions. Therefore, leave the drilling in tempered or safety glass to an expert.
2.3 Drill safety glass
Safety glass is one of the panes of glass that cannot be easily processed with a drill. Due to their particularly sensitive properties, these should only be processed by professionals. Safety glass or tempered glass, such as car windshields, are subject to certain stresses from safety-relevant points, so that they would shatter if drills came into contact with them. Therefore, you should make sure in advance that your project is not about safety glass / tempered glass. These can be recognized by the milky etched corners, since the manufacturer is obliged to characterize them in this way.
Other helpful guides on the subject of drilling
3. Which drill bit to drill the glass?
When drilling in glass, special glass drills or diamond drills should be used to avoid cracks or breaks in the glass. These are specially designed for this material and can drill through glass easily and cleanly due to their particular hardness. The condition of the drill is important when using glass drills or diamond drills for drilling in glass. The cutting edges / diamond segments should be sharp and in good condition to reduce the risk of glass breakage. In addition, attention should be paid to a low speed and active cooling with drilling oil or water during drilling to avoid overheating of the drill bit.
3.1 Diamond burs for glass
With diamond drill bits you can easily and safely drill through glass if you follow certain procedures. These are excellent for drilling glass due to their small diamond segments on the drill head, which provide high cutting power and hardness. Are you still looking for a diamond drill bit? Click here for our diamond drill bits.
3.2 Glass drill
Glass drills are drills that have been specially designed and manufactured for working with glass. These consist of a special durable alloy, which usually contains tungsten carbide. This gives them their particularly hard and resistant properties, enabling them to drill through glass easily and cleanly. Click here for our glass drills.
3.3 Drill glass with metal drill
Drilling in glass should only be done with a glass drill or a diamond drill as described above. The cutting edges of the metal drill bits have been specially developed for metal drilling applications. These would create too much friction when drilling in glass and thus lead to overheating of the material.
4. Drilling in glass - step by step instructions
Before you start drilling the glass, ensure a clean and safe work surface by placing your piece of glass on a non-slip surface. If necessary, fix your piece of glass with tape or clamps. Check the condition of your diamond bur or glass bur to make sure it is sharp and in good condition. Put on the personal protective equipment before you start drilling the glass.
4.2 Mark drilling position
Mark the drilling position on your piece of glass with a permanent marker. In the case of precise drill holes, a center drill can also be used for pre-drilling to prevent the drill from slipping.
4.3 Drilling Process
Make sure the drill's hammer drill function is turned off and set the drill to a low speed. Start drilling slowly and carefully, applying only light pressure to the glass. Increase the pressure and speed once the drill grips the glass. Cool the drill with drilling oil or water during the drilling process to prevent the material from overheating.
4.4 Pierce glass
Again, reduce the pressure and speed just before the drill pierces the glass to minimize the risk of breaking the glass.
If necessary, remove the sharp edges caused by drilling with fine sandpaper or a special glass cutter to reduce the risk of injury.
5. Conclusion on drilling glass
Drilling glass requires a certain amount of patience and the right technique to avoid damaging or destroying the piece of glass. Having the right tool is crucial when drilling glass. Specially designed and manufactured glass drills or diamond drills are used here. These have sharp cutting edges or diamond segments so that the drills can work their way through the material cleanly and precisely. With our step-by-step instructions, you no longer need to worry about broken glass!
6. The most frequently asked questions about drilling glass
1. Can I drill glass with a conventional drill?
No, this is not recommended. Glass is a very delicate material that can easily break if not handled properly. When drilling in glass, special glass drill bits or diamond drill bits should be used to avoid cracking or breaking. Using a conventional drill can create too much friction and cause the glass to overheat, which in turn can lead to breakage.
2. How do I avoid overheating when drilling in glass?
In order to avoid overheating when drilling, it is important to ensure active cooling during the drilling process . This can be achieved by applying drilling oil or water while drilling. Furthermore, the drill should be set to a low speed.
3. How can I make sure the glass won't break when I pierce it?
It is important to reduce pressure and speed just before the drill pierces the glass. This minimizes the risk of glass breakage. After piercing, sharp edges can be removed with fine sandpaper or a special glass cutter to reduce the risk of injury.
4. Can I drill safety glass or tempered glass?
Safety glass and tempered glass should not be drilled unless done by a professional. These types of glass have special stresses that can cause the glass to shatter when drilled. Therefore, always check that the glass to be drilled is not safety or tempered glass. You can tell by the milky etched corners as the manufacturer is required to mark them that way.