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Machining glass?

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Machining glass?

Unread postAuthor: inonickname » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:34 am

I'd like to machine some parts from glass (nothing intricate-mainly just making tubes from recycled glass jars, test tubes etc). I'd like to be able to this on my lathe with regular bits (tungsten carbide SHOULD be hard enough, but I don't know how well it will work). I'd rather not use abrasives for all the cutting, shaping etc- mainly for convenience.

So, will it be ok to machine glass on my lathe- or will it be too problematic. If required I can simply use a different material (such as acrylic) but the glass will yield better results.

Are there any precautions I need to take- eg. a mask to avoid in breathing glass dust, an acrylic shatter shield, what kind of lubricants, cleaning of the lathe after, etc.

Thanks :wink:
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Unread postAuthor: Demon » Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:56 am

Well, to work glass i can only see heating and surface contact. Just put a blow torch, make the lathe spin very slowly and contact the glass to deform it to the shape you want.

I never worked with glass tough.
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Unread postAuthor: deathbyDWV » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:53 am

I think you need a special glass bit. Anything else will just shatter. That's just what I've heard though.
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Unread postAuthor: Hawkeye » Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:44 am

You do not want to get slicosis from microscopic glass particles. You can even get that from knapping glass based arrowheads by hand. Machining glass would be deadly in an enclosed space. Even with breathing protection that dust is lying around after, waiting to be stirred up.
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Unread postAuthor: kenbo0422 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:11 am

Like Demon said, slow turning, heat and a way to deform the glass to the shape you want. If that doesn't suit you, and you want to do it by grinding, you'll need to have lots of water to keep the glass cool and grind VERY slowly. Doing work with glass will require a lot of patience as even just drilling a hole takes a lot of time, water, and extremely light pressure on the bit.
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Unread postAuthor: geardog32 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:26 am

I found that the best and only way to work with glass is to use diamond bits. it makes it so much easier.
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Unread postAuthor: inonickname » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:35 am

I'm pretty sure you can use tungsten carbide (hell, there's a cutting bit at Landmark made of tungsten carbide that is specifically for cutting glass).

Unfortunately, it seems to be way too much of an issue to use glass. I'll just substitute acrylic- much easier to work, and much safer.

Thanks guys :wink:
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