This step-by-step guide will teach you how to drill a hole in sea glass without breaking it.
Drilling sea glass without proper training and the right tools is a total waste of your time. The only thing you get from this is broken sea glass. Luckily, over the years, I have had some great experiences doing this, and I hope to teach you every trick in the book regarding drilling holes in sea glass.
In general, to drill a hole in sea glass:
- Gather all the necessary things.
- Set up a water tray with a piece of wood
- Place the sea glass on the top of the wooden piece. If needed, pour some water into the tray.
- Wear the necessary safety gear.
- Connect the diamond drill bit to the rotary tool.
- Start drilling the sea glass.
- Complete the drilling process.
You’ll find more details in the below article.
Before Starting the Drilling
Before jumping into the how-to part, a few things must be cleared.
The process of drilling a sea glass should be executed delicately. Hence, the tools should be delicate too. For instance, you cannot drill a sea glass with an ordinary drill and drill bits. A rotary and diamond-coated drill bits are the most suitable options for this task. Also, the size of the drill bit largely impacts the drilling process.
Quick Tip: You can also use a pendant drill for the process.
Diamond Drill Bit Size for Drilling Sea Glass
Depending on the use of the sea glass, the diamond drill bit size will vary. For instance, if you are looking for a keyring, you’ll need a larger hole.
I often use 1mm, 1.5mm, 2mm, and 3mm diamond drill bits for this kind of jewelry work. And a rotary tool or the pendant drill is excellent for this task.
However, if you are looking for a hole larger than 3mm, use a Bottle Neck Diamond Core Drill.
For holes above 4mm, you’ll have to use standard house drills. But remember using these drills won’t be easy especially given the soft nature of the sea glass.
7-Step Guide on How to Drill a Hole in Sea Glass
Step 1 – Gather the Necessary Things
For this sea glass drilling process, you’ll need the following things.
- Sea glass
- Rotary drill
- 2mm diamond drill bits
- Pencil or chinagraph pencil
- Collet or adjustable chuck
- A water tray (plastic food container)
- A piece of wood
- Safety goggles, shoes, and mask
- Old clean cloth
Step 2 – Setup the Water Tray
You should set up the water tray and the piece of wood as shown in the above image. Remember to fill the container with water.
You are going to carry out the drilling process inside the water. This is a little confusing for people using this technique for the first time. So, here is an explanation.
Why Should You Drill the Sea Glass Inside the Water?
When using a diamond drill bit, you should always use water as a coolant and lubricant.
Typically, the diamond drill bits are hollow. Hence, the water will go inside the drill bit and keep it cool and clean.
Step 3 – Place the Sea Glass
Take the sea glass and mark the drilling location on it. Use the pencil or chinagraph pencil for this.
Now place the sea glass on top of the wood piece. Then, check the water level.
The sea glass should be at least one centimeter under water. If not, pour some water into the container.
Step 4 – Wear Safety Gear
During this kind of drilling process, safety should be your top priority. For instance, you are dealing with an electrical device inside water. You never know when and where something might go wrong. So, wear safety shoes first. It will protect you from any electric shock or electrocution.
Next, find proper safety goggles and wear them to protect your eyes. Wear a face mask during this drilling process. It will protect you from dust and debris that may pop up during the drilling process.
After wearing the necessary safety gear, you can move on to the next step.
Step 5 – Connect the Diamond Drill Bit to the Rotary Tool
Now get the adjustable chuck and connect it to the rotary tool.
I’m using a Dremel multi chuck with the Dremel 3000 rotary tool for this demonstration.
Tighten the multi chuck to the Dremel 3000 properly.
The side that has a hole should go inside the Dremel 3000.
After that, press the blue button on the Dremel 3000.
While pressing the button, turn the plastic screw located at the multi chuck. This will expand the multi chuck’s teeth.
Quick Tip: While tightening the chuck, you should rotate it clockwise. However, turn the screw in a counter-clockwise direction to expand the teeth.
Finally, insert the diamond drill bit into the chuck and tighten the connection. Remember, you shouldn’t release the blue button until the drill bit is connected correctly.
After connecting, the drill bit should be long enough for the drilling process. The multi chuck shouldn’t contact water during drilling.
Step 6 – Start the Drilling
Now, you are ready to start the drilling process. I will discuss the drilling sea glass technique in steps 6 and 7. The drilling should be done in two parts. You’ll get a much better idea after I explain it to you.
Connect the Dremel 3000 rotary tool to a suitable electrical outlet. Place your left-hand fingers (if you are using the right hand to drill) on the sea glass and hold it tightly.
Angle the drill 45 degrees and make an initial cut on the sea glass. Remember to use the drill on low-speed settings.
Why Should I Make an Initial Cut?
The purpose behind the initial cut is to prevent the drill bit from sliding on the surface of the sea glass. For instance, drilling in a vertical line straight away can be a little tricky. So, make sure to use this technique.
After you complete the initial cut, move the drill to a vertical position (the drill bit should be at the pencil mark) and continue drilling the sea glass. Apply very little pressure during this process.
Tip of the Day: While drilling, take out the drill occasionally. This will allow water to flow inside the hole. Eventually, the water will wash out any debris that occurred during the drilling.
Stop the drilling process halfway through (one side of the sea glass).
Important: Never use the high-speed setting during drilling. It might damage the sea glass. Also, high-speed settings will reduce the lifespan of your diamond-coated drill bits.
Step 7 – Complete the Drilling Process
Now flip the sea glass over. Upon close inspection, you’ll see the drilling hole location from the other side. Place the drill in that location and start drilling. Follow the same technique as in step 6.
This is a convenient way to make an even hole in sea glass. If you only drill one side of the sea glass, the hole will be uneven on the other side.
A Few Safety Tips that Can Be Useful
A few safety tips can make a huge difference during this drilling process. Here are some of them.
- Always keep the working area clean.
- The drill’s extension cord should have a safe path from the outlet to the drill.
- Apart from the essential safety gear, wear an apron.
- Keep drill hand always dry. If it gets wet, use an old clean cloth to dry it.
- Make sure the diamond drill bit is long enough. The water should not contact the chuck.
- Proper ventilation in the working area is a must. It will reduce the chances of an electrical fire.
How to Shape Your Sea Glass After Drilling?
Shaping the sea glass requires a considerable amount of skills. So, you should try these techniques only after you master the above seven-step guide. With some good practice, you’ll be able to engrave designs into sea glass. With that in mind, here are a few simple things you could do for good-looking sea glass.
Cut off the Irregularities
Most often, these sea glasses come with some irregularities. Some people like this, and some don’t. Either way, using a diamond wire hand saw blade can easily cut off these irregularities. This tool is one of the best tools in the market for cutting and shaping sea glass.
Making a Larger Hole
Sometimes, you’ll end up with a smaller hole after drilling. Maybe your drill bit was small, or your calculation was wrong. However, by using a diamond twist drill, you can easily expand the size of the sea glass hole.
These diamond twist drills are commonly used to expand the holes that have already been created. Because of the vertically bonded diamond grit, these tools are perfect for such a task.
Important: Never use a diamond twist drill for making holes. Use it only to expand holes.
I used a 2mm Diamond Coated Drill Bit for Drilling Sea Glass. Halfway Through, the Drill Bit Got Broken. Any Specific Reasons for This?
Whenever using a diamond drill bit, you should use the bit with caution. These drill bits can get broken pretty easily. So, proper execution is a must. Here are a few common reasons that can break or damage your diamond drill bit.
Too Much Force
While drilling applying too much pressure will break the diamond drill bit. If it doesn’t, too much force will reduce the lifespan of the drill bit. Hence, always apply medium pressure.
Not Enough Lubrication
For a diamond drill bit, proper lubrication is a crucial part. Otherwise, the drill bit will get overheated, and eventually, it might break. That is why tasks such as drilling a sea glass should be done underwater. This is the best way to prevent overheating, and you must rinse the sea glass regularly during the drilling process.
Unsteady Drill Bit
Apart from the above two reasons, this is a common cause of a broken drill bit. You should properly connect the drill bit to the chuck, and the drill bit should be steady and upright. Otherwise, it will brake regardless of the speed or force.
Which Drill Bit is Best for Above Drilling Process?
When it comes to drilling sea glasses, there are two popular diamond drill bits. (1)
- Small Diamond Drill Bit
- Small Diamond Core Drills
In truth, both of these drill bits are an excellent choice for drilling sea glass. But there are noticeable differences between these two.
For instance, small diamond drill bits come with a solid end; therefore, they last longer.
On the other hand, small diamond core drills come with a hollow end, allowing water to flow inside the drill bit. Because of that, the drill bit won’t get overheated easily. (2)
Take a look at some of our related articles below.
- What is the best drill bit for porcelain tile
- Can you drill holes in apartment walls
- What size drill bit for wall plug
(1) sea – https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/sea
(2) diamond – https://www.britannica.com/topic/diamond-gemstone
Kernowcraft Rocks & Gems Ltd
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