cutting glass easily

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by David Lyga, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,902
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have some 2 x 2 thin glass inserts for slides and might have a use for these other than for their intended purpose.

    Occasionally, in a deal, I get a viewfinder or rangefinder camera with a broken outer viewfinder window. I need to remove the top and replace the broken glass with new glass. If I could cut a piece of the thin glass 2x2 and use that to replace the broken glass that would be ideal. Is there a way to cleanly cut the 2 x 2 insert? I have heavy duty razor blades. Or, other creative options? Thank you. - David Lyga
     
  2. daleeman

    daleeman Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,111
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'll ask my wife, she has a glass company.

    Seems to me I've seen her guys use a carbine tip glass tool to score and snap the glass. So I'd imagine you would need to essentially do a Tic Tac Toe game lay out and then snap the glass since you are working for such a small 2x2 item.

    Any idea what the anti Newton Ring glass might do to the RF window?
    Lee
     
  3. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,927
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Location:
    Ye Olde England
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    One usually uses a diamond, carbide point, or a hardened wheel to score the glass - A single, clean score line is all that is required. The glass is then snapped off along the score line. However, as glass ages, it becomes brittle and you may struggle to get a clean break.
     
  4. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,886
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Location:
    New York
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    .
    You will need to use a " Glass Cutter " as described by Paul_c5x4.
    I seem to remember the real professionals dipping the cutter in kerosene,
    or turpentine to lubricate the wheel. I guess a squirt of WD40 might be helpful ...

    Ron
    .
     
  5. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,902
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Shooter:
    35mm
    daleeman: I don't thing that the very, very slight rough surface of the anti-Newton glass will do anything different for a viewfinder window.

    OK: Let's see if I can get away with this (please comment): If I first oil the thin glass and then strongly make ONE hard pass with the ruler-guided safety razor will that be sufficient to score the line? - David Lyga
     
  6. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,886
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Location:
    New York
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    .
    Yes !
    That's how the professionals do it.


    .
     
  7. bernard_L

    bernard_L Subscriber

    Messages:
    416
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Not oil! kerosene, or turpentine as M.A.Longmore stated
    And try to get a diamond or carbide point. The wheel thing will not work for thin glass.
     
  8. TBN

    TBN Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Location:
    Fredericks H
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've cut a lot of glass before, and you don't put oil or anything on the glass..
    Just wipe your index finger across where you want to cut it, and then use a glass cutter, dipped in turpentine. The carbide cutter I used, could be filled with turpentine. And then you use a straight ruler-like piece of wood, that you fasten onto the glass with some rubber padded quick grips.. And then slide the cutter - not hard or too fast, but just so you can hear it makes a squeeky sound ! Just be careful when you break it off. :surprised:)
     
  9. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The woman who lives next door owns a business where she makes jewelery out of beach glass. She does all her cutting, drilling and shaping under water.

    Her husband designed several work stations that have water trays and rubber clamps to keep the work piece submerged while it is being shaped.

    The way I understand, the water dampens vibrations that would otherwise cause the glass to shatter.
     
  10. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Boston area
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    David,
    A razor will most likely not work on glass. The carbide cutter is harder than the glass, a razor is not. What you want is not a cut in the glass, but a scratch. After scratching a line along a steel ruler or other a straight-edge, I place a dowel (and you would need a thin one) directly under the scratch, a piece of paper towel over the glass and gently press down on each side of the dowel. When I'm lucky, the glass parts at the line of the scratch, when I'm not, I have to clean up the little uneven bits with a tile nibbler or glass pliers (used by stained-glass workers). A carborundum sharpening stone works as well.

    Many commonly available glass cutters have a sort of bulb at the end of the handle. I watched a master stained-glass worker cut intricate designs by using that steel ball to tap on the underside of the glass along the scratch just before he broke the piece free. He said that the vibrations from the tapping actually cracked the glass along the line, making even curved cuts come out clean. I have also used the bottle-cutting trick of heating the glass gently with a torch or a flame and then rubbing an ice cube along the line. It's over-kill for what you want to do, but it works for me in difficult situations.
     
  11. mr rusty

    mr rusty Member

    Messages:
    758
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    lancashire,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The little ball on the end is the way to go. get a glass cutter with one of these for old glass. I have done some stained glass work in my time. For old glass get a new cutter - old glass is very brittle and you only get one pass with the cutter. Try and make 2 and you will crack it. Once you have scored, hold the glass and put a *very* slight stress on it the way you want it to crack, then start tapping lightly at one side (not the middle) you should start a crack fairly easily. If the glass doesn't instantly split along the score (it might) gently progress the crack by tapping. Don't be tempted to try breaking the glass over an edge. In my experience, this seldom works with small pieces of old glass. dipping the cutter in oil/turps/paraffin, light oil or even cooking oil works.
     
  12. NormanV

    NormanV Member

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Falkland Isl
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    With thin glass it is best to use a diamond glass cutter as it needs less pressure than the wheel type and is less likely to break the glass. One pass is all it needs then you just pick the glass up and snap it with your fingers, it does not take much to do it, no tapping or dowels on the table. I have used this method to cut microscope slides to use as rangefinder windows and it works fine.
     
  13. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,902
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I guess I am learning a lot.

    I have searched the Web as well and some say that, when it comes to cutting, glass is similar to a liquid, not a solid. This is fascinating and your answers are the result of hands-on experience. I have a lot of 2 x 2 inserts to practice on. Thanks. - David Lyga
     
  14. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

    Messages:
    2,248
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Portland OR
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    My wife does stained glass here and she has a grinder that grinds glass away pretty quickly. If some bits are too small to easily cut with a cutter you can draw a line on the glass and use a grinder.