Sharp knives and glass cutters are commonly used to cut glass. These days, a number of modern tools are available as glass cutters. Although glass cutting may seem like a very difficult task, it really needs a decent amount of practice and suitable tools. While it may be a professional requirement for certain companies, it is also practiced as a hobby.

Glass Cutting Technology

Cut glass is also the name given to glassware produced as a result of cutting glass. The surface designs are able to enhance the reflecting power of glass and its brilliance, and thereby cutting glass has become a popular technique. Other than this, one can use a glass cutting table machine to cut glass slides, to be used in the laboratory.  

Only diamonds could cut glass

In the past, only industrial diamonds were being used to cut glass, but this is not a requirement anymore. Diamond on its own would have been a very expensive material to use. Instead, the tools available today come with a wheel made from tungsten carbide. This is the name of an inorganic compound that is thrice as strong as steel. Each of the tools specifies the thickness of glass that can be cut, so one must be careful to choose accordingly.

Slides are used to view tiny living organism cultures under the microscope. Therefore, it is very important for them to be available as per standard size only. The glass cutting table machines are highly suitable in achieving such cuts.

Laser glass cutters as latest technology

The latest entrants in the field of glass cutting are laser glass cutters. They are commonly used when one requires a very high degree of precision. It is helpful in cutting shapes, which if tried by other methods such as a bottle clamp, would result in a significant amount of effort and material wastage.

Lasers have been offering an excellent alternative to mechanical glass cutting methods in high precision applications such as displays. Due to improvements in filamentation cutting, empowered by a new generation of both CO and USP lasers, laser glass cutting has become even more advantageous and economical. Display manufacturers are increasingly making use of strengthened glass, and are participating in complex device construction.

Factors to keep in mind before cutting glass

With respect to consumer-level projects, the most common type of glass used is soda-lime float glass. Compared to the others, it is very easy to cut by using laser. The following questions will help answer the power and the type of laser that will be necessary:

  1. How precise should the cut be?

    Multiple passes will always make the cut dimensions inaccurate, which is the why the best results can be obtained with fewer cuts. For a single cutting pass, the precision will depend on the laser’s efficacy, which can be directly obtained from the manufacturer.

  2. How thick should the glass be?

    Thicker glass material will always be more difficult to cut than thinner glass materials. One may even have to deploy multiple passes or alter the focus adjustment of a laser after one cut, to get through a thick material.

  3. What happens if the glass breaks?

    In case one has no alternative but to use multiple passes for cutting, thermal expansion resulting from heating and cooling the glass may cause it to crack. Therefore, the importance of the glass being used here must be considered carefully.

Most common glass cutting mistakes

Although glass cutting is a very exciting skill, it is also given up by many people fairly easily. The most common reason for this is people believing that they can get decent results after only a few tries. This may work for a handful of them, but not for the majority. One needs to attend a glass workshop for some time to get the right type of training, and be patient.

In the course of time, here are the most common mistakes that learners make:

  1. Very little force, due to which one is unable to catch the line with one’s fingernail
  2. The use of too much force will make the line appear like granulated sugar.
  3. A workbench of incorrect height will result in inaccuracies
  4. Lack of lubrication
  5. Excessive tapping
  6. Going over a line more than one time
  7. Not being able to concentrate, which breaks the force necessary at the score line
  8. The laid out pattern is too close to the present sheet edge (Always be 1/2 inch away)
  9. Keeping the cutting glass too close to the rounded melt-edge, which results in high stress concentrations
  10. Cutting the flashed antique glass on the flashed side is incorrect. One must remember to cut from the base side each time.

Apart from the glass cutter, one would need other materials like a can of machine oil, few cotton rags, duct tape, leather gloves, and safety glasses.

You may also like : The Rationale of Laser Cut Signage and How It’s Done