Dremel is a highly versatile power tool and is a staple in many DIY toolboxes. It can easily cut wood, plastic, metal, glass, and ceramics, provided you follow the correct method. This article unpacks cutting glass using a Dremel Multi-Tool.
Can You Cut Glass With a Dremel?
Yes, you can cut glass with a Dremel, provided that you use the appropriate cutting bit and follow the correct method. When you use the wrong bit or don’t cool the glass down while cutting, it’s likely to crack or shatter, ruining the workpiece and potentially posing a safety risk.
When cutting glass, it’s best to use diamond reinforced cutting tools since these are most likely to create a clean cut. It’s also essential to use water or other cooling liquid to cool the glass down.
During the cutting process, friction between the cutting bit and glass generates heat. If left unchecked, this would cause excessive heat build-up, which could cause the glass to shatter. Water also acts as a lubricant, facilitating a quicker, cleaner cut.
Dremel Multi-Tools cut glass at high speed, so small glass splinters and dust will become airborne during the cutting process. Inhaling glass dust is extremely dangerous, so always wear a dust mask when cutting glass. Eye protection is also essential since you could go blind if glass splinters get into your eyes.
It is also important to wear protective gloves when cutting glass. The cut line’s sharp edges could easily cut your hands, causing minor or major injuries. Glass splinters in your hands are also extremely unpleasant and potentially painful.
What Dremel Bit Do I Use for Glass?
Dremel has a wide variety of bits available that are suitable for cutting, drilling, and engraving glass. There are also many bits and bit sets available from other manufacturers compatible with Dremel. These tend to be less expensive. While bits from some alternative sources work just as well as the original Dremel bits, some don’t. So, pay attention to user reviews before purchasing compatible bits from other suppliers.
When creating straight or curved cuts in glass, it’s best to use a diamond cutting wheel.
The Dremel 545 Diamond disc is the right bit for the job. If you are like me and save some money, you could get a generic diamond cutting wheel with a 1/8-inch shank.
Intricate engraving in glass is best done using the Dremel Diamond Bit. It has a small tip, which works well for detailed, intricate tasks.
The Dremel 9901HP tungsten carbide engraving bit also works fine on glass.
We recommend using the Dremel Flex Shaft attachment for this application since it allows for greater precision. Here, you would hold the engraving end like a pencil, allowing for freehand engraving.
Diamond-coated or tungsten carbide-tipped drill bits are best for drilling through glass. Typically, you would use tungsten carbide-tipped bits when cutting non-tempered glass, tiles, or ceramics. The Dremel Glass Drilling Bit (662) is a good choice for this application.
How to Cut Glass With a Dremel?
Cutting glass with a Dremel is relatively simple. Here is a step-by-step guide for the process:
- Mark the cut line. The easiest way to do this is to stick some tape on the glass where you want to create the cut and then draw the cutline. Masking tape is an excellent choice since it comes off easily when you’re done without leaving a sticky residue on your workpiece. Draw your desired cutline on the tape using a permanent marker or another waterproof pen. Wait for the ink on this line to dry completely before starting to cut. Another benefit of taping the cutline is that it dampens the vibrations from the cutting tool slightly, further keeping the glass from shattering.
- Secure the workpiece if you’re not creating a freehand cut. A clamp or vice works well for this, provided that you don’t over-tighten it since this could crack the glass.
- Install the cutting bit. Ensure that the cutting bit matches your application. Installation is quick and easy using the EZ Lock system.
- Start the water flow. A steady cooling water stream on the cut line is essential for successful glass cutting. If using a corded Dremel, ensure that the water stream doesn’t flow onto the cord.
- Connect the power source and position the cutting bit on the cut line, holding it at a slight angle (about 35°). Be consistent in the cutting angle since changing the angle will result in a jagged cutline. This will be harder to sand down and even cause the glass to crack or shatter.
- Switch on the Dremel and gently score the cut line along its entire length. Don’t apply pressure to the glass since that would cause it to break.
- Continue working on the cut line, gently moving the Dremel deeper into the glass until you complete the cut.
- Sand off any burrs or other sharp edges from the cut line. For this, it’s best to use a diamond file, 80-grit sandpaper, or an 80-frit sandpaper bit. Wear gloves for this step since the sharp edges could cut your skin.
How to Engrave Glass Using a Dremel?
To engrave glass you need a set of diamond engraving bits and the Dremel flexible shaft attachment.
The regular Dremels are bulky and may not be ideal for working long hours. The flex shaft extension solves this problem.
Here’s how you do it:
The above video explains the process of engraving glass by tracing the artwork onto the glass.
Drilling Glass With a Dremel
Drilling through glass using a Dremel is an easy process, similar to cutting glass with a Dremel, but much quicker. The principle of submerging the cut remains since this prevents the glass from melting. Here’s a quick overview of the process:
- Mark the drilling position.
- Submerge the glass in a bowl of water. Place the glass on a piece of wood to help secure it.
- Select the correct bit (use Dremel 662 bit) and use a low-speed setting. Switch on your Dremel.
- Gently touch the drill bit to the hole position at an angle. This keeps the glass from shattering.
- Move the drill to the upright position in one slow, smooth movement, gently circling the drilling position. Continue this, applying extremely gentle pressure until the hole is complete.