Humans have always found joy in customizing objects to match their preferences. We relish the challenge of taming even the hardest materials, be it wood, stone, or the thickest glass.
Take a look around and you’d see glass almost everywhere, from drinking glasses, bowls, windows and picture frames to laptop screens. Making all these handy items demands cutting thick glass, a technique with a long history.
During the medieval era, the glass was cut using heated iron rods. That way you could never make accurate cuts and the edges of the cut pieces would always remain sharp.
The use of glass-cutting tools did not become widespread until the 14th to 16th centuries. Diamond-tipped cutters, used first in Italy, were among the first popular glass cutting tools as they enabled more precise cuts than alternatives.
Technological advances in recent years have led to the development of new glass cutting tools. Today, large glass plates can be cut semi-automatically using a CNC computer but many people still tend to do it at home, by hand.
In this article from Ronix team, you will learn the ins and outs of cutting glass with and without glass cutters!
Glass Cutter: Types and Mechanism
Glass cutters are sharp hand tools used to break glass into desired size and shape. By applying sufficient pressure on the tool and move its blade or the wheel at a suitable pace on a desired cutting line, a narrow score appears on the surface of the glass along which you can bend and break it later.
Before learning how to cut glass with a glass cutter, you first need to choose the right tool.
Types of Glass Cutters
Choosing the right cutting tool depends on the type of glass you want to cut. In addition to the handle design and cutting accuracy, you should be extra careful with the wheel/blade size and material as it can determine the performance and durability of your tool.
Glass cutters come in three types: diamond wheel cutters, carbide cutting wheels, and steel blades. Diamond wheel cutters are the sharpest and most durable option, making them ideal for cutting thick and tempered glass. Carbide cutting wheels are the best choice for cutting thinner and laminated glass and Steel blades are ideal solution for cutting through annealed ones.
How to Work with Glass Cutters? The basic instructions:
When cutting glass with diamond blade, the diagonal side of the wheel acts like a wedge and puts pressure on both sides for the glass to crack and break in two. If it does not come off, you should try tapping on the back of the tip gently. It is recommended to first practice these on a piece of unused glass to learn the speed and pressure required for an optimum cut.
When it comes at cutting glass with diamond blade cutters like Ronix RH-3400, you first need to place the glass on a suitable surface that is perfectly smooth and there is nothing around that can scratch the glass.
Avoid cutting the glass on surfaces that are difficult to clean, such as carpets or rugs because small pieces of glass scattered around can lead to dangerous accidents.
Before anything, clean the surface of the glass to remove any contaminants such as silica or soot that could damage your cut. To clean the glass, it is enough to use a towel and, if necessary, some detergent. Then, use a ruler to guide your cutting path and apply light pressure to create grooves on the glass. Using a small amount of glass oil or any light oil can make cutting easier. After cutting, gently tap the cut to separate the pieces of glass. Finally, smooth the sharp edges with a razor or sandpaper.
Now you know the basics of making clean and precise cuts on glass but Different strokes for different folks. As not all types of glass are the same, you can only achieve desired results by using the right tools and techniques that best fit your workpiece.
How To Cut Tempered (toughened) Glass?
Tempered or toughened glass is made by fast cooling normal glass after it has been heated to a high temperature. This so-called “safety glass” is much more than the durable and anti-scratch smartphone screen protectors that are anti impact and fingerprint free.
Due to their high resistance against heat and impacts, pieces of tempered glass can be found in showers, car windows, monitor screens, aquariums and probably the windows of the pent house you dream about!
As it is four times stronger than annealed models, cutting tempered glass can be challenging if not done the right way.
To achieve the best results:
- Anneal The Piece (By Heating It to Above 650 Degrees Celsius and Then Cooling It Slowly)
- Use A Glass Cutter with A Diamond Blade
- Score The Surface Only Once by Applying Moderate and Even Pressure
- Use A Silicone Spray to Lubricate the Cutting Line for An Easier and Cleaner Cut
- Try tapping on the score line at a 30⁰ angle to prevent glass chipping
Cutting toughened glass is dangerous so don’t even think of it without first arming yourself with all the essential safety equipment. Always wear glasses to protect your eyes against glass shards and protect your hands and ears by quality earplugs and gloves.
Having said that, if you are inexperienced in the field, you should stop searching for the techniques on how to cut tempered glass at home and leave it to professionals with the essential skills and tools.
How To Cut Thick Glass?
To cut thick glass (pieces with more than 15mm thickness), you need a Tungsten Carbide or diamond glass cutter, adequate amounts of mineral oil, essential protective equipment like gloves and glasses and some tips:
- Expose the piece to thermal shocks: to weaken the workpiece and prepare it for an easier break
- Use Locking pliers and bars as leverage: To maximize stress on the score line for a cleaner cut
Learning how to cut thick glass, you can make your own source of customized pieces of glass durable and strong enough to make sculptures, car windshields, mirrors, aquarium, greenhouses and display cases in museums and jewelry stores.
How To Cut Laminated Glass?
Laminated glass is a rough nut to crack! As a safety glass, it is made of two panes of annealed glass joined by a layer of plastic that is usually made of PVB.
What complicated the process of cutting laminated glass, is not just its multi-layer structure, but the plastic interlayer. That is because it tends to bend rather than break when pressed.
However, nothing is impossible as long as you do it the right way.
The first step in learning how to cut laminated glass, is to choose an appropriate tool. In this case, the regular glass cutters won’t help you much. You should better go for laminated glass cutters that come with:
- Diamond cutting wheels: For a sharp enough solution to cut through the plastic
- Low RPM: to reduce heat and friction which can lead to the deformation of the plastic layer
- lubrication: for less heat buildup and cleaner cuts
- Durable and tough body: to stand the pressure caused by cutting a multi-layered glass
How To Cut Stained Glass?
If you are an artist, conservator, architect and designer looking for the tips and tricks on how to cut stained glass, you are at the right place!
To master stained glass cutting, you should start at choosing a well-made and sharp glass cutter with comfortable grip.
As this workpiece has proved itself to be fragile, cutting stained glass should be done with utmost care. This involves applying consistent and gentle pressure, as well as being precise with measurements and double-checking them before beginning work
Tips and Tricks of Cutting Glass Mosaic Tile
As glass mosaic tiles are colorful, durable, easy to clean and stain-proof, you might find yourself tempted to install one in your kitchen or bathroom. But to do so you first need to cut the tile in your desired shape and size.
Stop searching for guides on how to cut glass mosaic tile because here you can find all you need and much more.
These decorative tiles are made of small and delicate pieces of glass adhered to a mesh or paper backing. Cutting them requires specialized tools, patience and skill. If you don’t know the basics about how to cut mosaic glass tile, you’d better ask for professional assistance. But if you still want to do it yourself:
Put safety first
You don’t want to cut your hands by accident or get an injury form glass shards flying around while cutting the tile. So, make sure you have safety glasses on and your gloves fir well. Using earmuffs can also be nice.
Choose the right tool
Wheeled glass cutters are your best choice for making clean and precise cuts. Go for models that are small in size so you can control them better.
You can’t risk the workpiece moving around while you are cutting through the score line, so place it on a flat surface that is stable. A cutting mat designed for the very purpose can be a good choice. If you need more control, C-clamps are the solution.
Turn it around!
Do you want to learn how to cut glass tile without chipping? Here’s the golden rule! Just turn it around and start scoring it on the back. That way all the small pieces will stay intact! you’re welcome!
Keep it Smooth…
When you are done with cutting, use a file or sandpaper to smoothen the sharp edges of the tile to make it safe to touch.
Cut Glass Bottle at Home
To cut glass bottle at home, you can use the string method. Let’s go through the steps together:
Choose a well-ventilated spot. Wash and dry the bottle and mark where you want to make the cut. Soak a cotton or nylon string in nail polisher and then wrap it tight around the marked line. Now you need to set the string on fire and rotate the bottle to distribute the heat evenly and weakens the glass. Now all it takes for the bottle to break is to put it in cold water!
Here you go! Before using your broken glass for DIY projects like making a vase, you need to smoothen its sharp edges by a sandpaper.
How To Cut Glass Without a Glass Cutter?
Glass cutters might be the best tool for cutting through glass but there are some handy alternatives available.
Explore Different possibilities on how to cut glass at home without cutter with:
- Tile Cutters
- Angle Grinders
- Wet Saws
- Glass Routers
- Tile And Glass Nibblers
How To Cut a Mirror Without a Glass Cutter?
If you’ve ever wondered how to cut a mirror without a glass cutter, here’s the deal:
- Give up if your mirror is more than 6.35 mm thick
- Don’t forget to cover the mirror with something to prevent potential scratches
- Protect yourself with PPEs
- Clamp the mirror for more stability and control and prevent it from slipping
- Use a carbide or diamond-tipped scoring tool or a utility knife for scoring the surface
- Apply consistent and gentle pressure on the sides of the score line
- Deburr the sharp edges with a file
From practical points on how to cut tempered glass to tips on cutting glass without glass cutter, now you know how to “Break the glass in case of emergency!”
What is the easiest way to cut glass at home?
Using sharp glass cutters is the easiest way to cut glass at home.
How can I cut glass at home without a glass cutter?
When there is no glass cutter available at home, you can use the string method for cutting glass.
Can glass be cut with a grinder?
Yes, if you attach a diamond wheel to a grinder, you can use it to cut glass.
Can you cut glass with a jigsaw?
Yes. when fitted with diamond-coated blades, jigsaws can cut through glass.
28 February 2021