Can You Drill Tempered Glass?

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If you are a DIY kind of person, or just doing home repairs, you probably have a lot of experience working with various materials. What about tempered glass? Have you ever worked with this material? If you have never worked with it before, but want to, especially if you want to alter, drill, or built with it, there are some things that you need to know. Whether or not you can drill tempered glass is something which many are unclear about, something which we are going to discuss now.

What is Tempered Glass?

Before we start talking about whether or not you can drill through tempered glass without issue, it might be wise to talk about what exactly tempered glass is. You probably know what glass is, but tempered glass is a bit different. It does start out as being normal glass, but is then specially treated in various ways to achieve a plethora of benefits.

Tempered glass is made by quickly heating and cooling the material, and thus it is made differently from normal glass. There are also various chemical and heat treatment techniques which are often used in combination with each other to create tempered glass. There are many uses for tempered glass, seeing as it has a wide array of benefits. However, whether or not you can drill tempered glass is another question.

Benefits and Uses of Tempered Glass 

Ok, so tempered glass comes with a few major benefits and uses, especially when compared to normal glass, or even to plastic. So, what are the benefits and main uses of tempered glass? Perhaps the biggest benefit that tempered glass features is that it is safe when it breaks. Normal glass will break into large and sharp shards that often cause injury, sometimes fatal. Tempered glass is also known as safety glass, which is because when it shatters, it shatters into a multitude of very small pieces, usually without sharp edges, thus making it much safer than normal glass.

Moreover, tempered glass is also much stronger and harder to break than normal glass in the first place, due to the tempering process. On that same note, tempered glass is also much harder to scratch than normal glass.

Furthermore, tempered glass tends to be much clearer and better looking than normal glass, plus it is heat resistant. For this reason, tempered glass is often used for commercial doors and windows, phone screens, screen protectors, and even for things like fish tanks.

Can You Drill Tempered Glass?

So, the main question is whether or not you can drill through tempered glass, especially without damaging it to the point of no return. The simple fact is that cutting tempered glass is about as easy as getting a commercial airplane to fly without wings or engines. In other words, it is nearly impossible, if not downright impossible.

Tempered glass will usually always shatter the second you try to drill through it. Whether you are using a needle, a laser cutter, heat cutting techniques, or titanium drill bits, the tempered glass is going to shatter. There is really no way to get around this. So, the simple answer to the question of if it’s possible to drill tempered glass is no, it is not possible.

Glass needs to be drilled and cut before the tempering process. Now, it might sound a bit weird, because tempered glass is known for having many benefits, but being moldable, malleable, or being able to drill through this type of glass is not a benefit which it has. With that being said, there is one thing which you might be able to use to drill tempered glass, but even this is quite risky and often ends in failure.

How to Drill Tempered Glass

We said that there is one single way in which you can drill tempered glass, but it is not cheap or easy. The most important thing you will need to get this done is a diamond studded drill bit,  a drill bit which is literally made of diamond, and uses that diamond to cut.

Diamonds are the hardest material known to man, and if cut the right way, mainly into a solid point and into a drill bit shape, you can potentially use a diamond bit to drill tempered glass, but it is still not easy. Keep in mind that a diamond drill bit is going to cost you a lot of money, as after all, it is made out of diamond.

What you also need to keep in mind, even if you have your diamond bit, is that you cannot use a very fast RPM for this. It is a fairly slow process, as applying too much speed or pressure, even with the diamond drill bit, will result in cracks and shattered glass. If the diamond bit is half an inch long, you will want to use no more than 800 RPM, but if it is a full inch long, 500 RPM will do, and for a 2-inch bit, 250 RPM is needed. Remember, the longer the bit, the fewer RPM you need to use.

You can take your chances and start drilling, and you always want to use a spray bottle or apply water in some way to keep the material fairly cool and provide lubrication. But there is no guarantee that this is going to work the first time around. However, realistically speaking, it is more or less the only way that you stand so much as a chance when attempting to drill through tempered glass.

Conclusion

Ok, so technically speaking, with the right diamond bit and the right drill, and the proper RPM, it is possibly to drill tempered glass. However, even this is difficult and is not recommended, but you can always try.

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