How to Drill a Hole in Tempered Glass

If you are a DIY enthusiast, then the chances are that you often work on a variety of different DIY projects. As exciting as it can be, at times some things may seem impossible. If lately, you’ve started to wonder how to drill a hole in tempered glass, then you might want to ask yourself again that if it’s even possible? You’re going to find any guides online that explain how it can be done. However, we think that all your efforts sooner or later are going to go in vain.

Tempered glass is not meant to be drilled. In case you do try doing so, it is going to shatter. We know that some people say that the use of a diamond drill bit gets the job done, but that too is ultimately going to lead to the tempered glass’ demise. And no, claying the area you are about to drill is not going to work either, the results are going to be more or less the same.

This is why, even the question of how to drill a hole in tempered glass is wrong, to begin with because it can simply not be done. The best shot you have is to drill the edges of the glass, and that too requires a high level of precision and expertise.

So now that we have the quick answer out of the way, let’s learn more about the tempered glass to see why this is the case.

What is Tempered Glass Anyway?

Tempered glass is also commonly referred to as a toughened glass. It goes through a series of thermal treatments to enhance its overall strength. Once it has been tempered, the surface of the glass is put in compression while the tension state is maintained inside. Now you may be wondering why go through such a hassle? Well, the most common application of tempered glass is in cars and public spaces.

So, it becomes apparent that when tempered glass is broken, it shatters to small pieces to minimise the damage. Due to the strength and safety of tempered glass, it has numerous uses. From shower doors to car glass and even tables, these are just a couple of places where you are frequently going to see tempered glass being used. In fact, it might be surprising, but tempered glass is also a commonly used component in bulletproof glass.

Unfortunately, this is also one of the reasons why you cannot drill a hole in tempered glass. The chances you want to make to it should be done while it is in the annealed state. Once it has been tempered, there’s no going back.

How to Identify a Tempered Glass?

If you want to see whether a glass is tempered or not, then pick up a hammer, and slam it as hard as you can! If it shatters into small pieces, then it is tempered glass (don’t try that literally).

Aside from jokes, here are couples of ways to identify if the glass is tempered:

1. Check for Watermarks

If a glass is tampered, then the chances are that you will be able to locate a watermark on it at the corner. At times, the watermark can fade over time so it may become a bit difficult for you to locate. Therefore, carefully inspect every corner, you can either see the name of the manufacturer and the markings of safety approval.

2. Inspect for Imperfections

Another common way to determine if the glass is tempered or not is by inspecting it for imperfections. Due to the tension inside the glass, you might see dimples, warping or bending. For some glasses, it may not be that apparent and while for others, it would be right in front of you. If you are able to locate such imperfections, then it is highly likely that the glass in front of you is tempered.

3. Chips on Edges

Usually, the edges of tempered glass are going to be smooth. In case they are rough, then usually, this signifies that the glass is not tempered.

Drilling a Hole through Regular Glass

Now that you know you can’t drill a hole through tempered glass, what about regular glass? Well, that can easily be done as long as you have the right drill bits. A fancy name for regular glass is “annealed glass”, so if you do hear that, do not feel confused.

Before you begin the process of drilling, make sure that the surface is smooth so your drill doesn’t slip. Bear in mind that if you drill too close to the edges, it might cause the glass to shatter.

We recommend using a variable speed drill if you plan on drilling a glass. Start with a slow speed and create dimples to avoid slippage. After that, you could step things up a notch and go to a maximum speed of 400 rpm.

If you go any faster than that, then you might potentially end up leaving burn marks around the hole. In case you do want to go faster, apply coolants to the surroundings and you’re good to go.

The Bottom Line

So if you had any plans of drilling tempered glass, then we’re sorry to say that it isn’t possible. However, you can instead drill a regular glass, so things don’t look too grim!

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