Whether you ordered modular office walls, hotel counter tops or store fixtures, the glass manufacturer must complete certain steps, including cutting and shaping, edging, drilling and tempering, in a specific order to ensure that the finished product retains the highest quality.
When drilling holes, the glass fabricator must perform the procedure on annealed glass before it undergoes the tempering process because glass cannot be cut or drilled after it has been tempered. Tempering makes the material five times stronger.
If you were to drill a hole in tempered glass, the material would shatter upon impact. Once it’s been tempered, there's not much you can do with it, so every stage of the fabrication process, such as glass-cutting and glass-edgework, must be completed already.
A Closer Look: How to Drill a Hole in Glass
Once the annealed or laminated glass is ready for hole-drilling, a trained professional uses a two-sided drill system.
The front drill of the machinery punctures the glass about halfway through the material and then retracts. Subsequently, the back drill begins drilling from the exact opposite side and makes a clean opening. If the fabricator had first drilled straight through the glass, the hole would “break out” on the other side, resulting in chip marks around the opening.
When drilling holes, the glass fabricator must adhere to the proper tempering guidelines. The locations of the openings, as well as their diameters, need to be within certain standards. If the fabricator simply punctured a piece of glass of any thickness in various places without adhering to these guidelines, the glass would likely break in the tempering oven, which reaches at least 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the glass fabricator performs every step with the utmost skill and precision, the holes will be drilled perfectly and the end result will be just how it is meant to be.