Have you ever walked into a friend's house and seen the beautiful lights made partially out of old bottles, and wondered just how they did it? The answer is that they used diamond core drill bits. Diamond core drill bits come in many sizes, ranging from as small as 1/8" diameter to 6" diameter diamond core drill bits. The best diamond core drill bits can drill up to 200 holes in 1/4" thick plate glass . Though diamond core drill bits are versatile and hardy tools, they require specialized care specific to diamond tools.
Drill Bit Basics
All diamond core drill bits must be used in conjunction with coolant. Coolant may come in the form of simple water, or specially formulated diamond tool coolant. If a diamond core drill bit is used without proper coolant, damage to the drill and glass is inevitable. Both will almost definitely need to be replaced. However, the need for coolant does not stop diamond core drill bits from being able to drill vertical surfaces, such as tile on shower walls. In these cases, a second person is needed to continuously spray the surface that is being drilled.
Diamond core drill bits also must be used at the proper RPM. Smaller diamond drill bits require higher RPM levels, while larger diamond core drill bits require lower RPM levels. Diamond core drill bits from 1/8" diameter to 1/2" diameter, for instance, require an RPM range of 1600-2000 RPM, while the requirement for diamond core drill bits of 1-1/8" to 2" diameter is 1100-1400 RPM.
Diamond core drill bits should be used with a drill press whenever possible. When using diamond core drill bits with a hand drill, care must be taken to avoid damage to the glass from uneven pressure. Attention must be paid to the angle at which one is drilling, and be sure to drill around the diameter of the diamond core drill bit evenly.
Drilling Rings Make a Difference
Diamond core drill bits, and the requirements surrounding them, have forced glass industry professionals to find ways to easily drill glass in a variety of situations. For instance, when using diamond core drill bits on a horizontal, flat piece of glass, drilling rings are the perfect way to keep coolant from running. Simply use a piece of tape to cover the area being drilled from the opposite side, pour diamond tool coolant into the drilling ring, and drill. Drilling rings do not work on vertical or uneven surfaces, but it is possible to make temporary drilling rings by using play-dough or other malleable material.
Drilling rings remove the need for a second person to spray the drilling area, and make using diamond drill bits significantly easier and faster. Drilling rings come in many sizes, though buying a drilling ring that can only be used for a limited amount of drill sizes is rarely an economical choice. Drilling rings that range in diameter from 1-1/2" to 4" are the most popular. One of the reasons to use a small diameter drilling ring, however, is that these drilling rings can be used as guides for diamond core drill bits. The hole in the drilling ring is large enough to use with diamond tool coolant and small enough to stop the diamond core drill bit from moving more than desired. Drilling rings generally have suction bases, and are made of rubber. Drilling rings make using diamond core drill bits much more efficient.