Sunday, September 27, 2009

Drill Baby Drill... Who Said That???

Since I promised I'd share with you how I drilled my holes in my sea glass the other day, I thought I'd tell you, how easy it was. :) No really and to think I've spent months agonizing over doing it without exploding either the glass or worse yet the rotary tool. LW solved the rotary tool problem by giving me a Dremel tool for our anniversary!!! Just how cool is that!! I spent lots of time on line researching how, I read a number of articles, and I asked fellow Bloglandians like Deryn of Something Sublime and Lynn Davis of LLYYNN Of course like everything else everyone has their own little routine. But on a whole the two things that were always recommended was to drill in water, and use a diamond bit with a rotary tool.

Soooooo for my first trick mixing a power tool with water, without creating permanently curly hair!! :) There were all kinds of suggestions on how to do this. The most reasonable one for me was to use a sponge in a bowl with a bit of water. Sponges are not the easiest thing to find here. ???? You would not believe the things you can find growing in a wet semi used sponge Yuuuuukkkk!! We do always have a store of those simi-disposible extra absorbent mutated towel/rags we keep for Dulce. So I folded one in fourths laid it in the bottom of a clay bowl and added enough water to just cover the towel. Then laid my glass on top making sure the top was wet.

Picked the size diamond bit I wanted about a 1/16 th and cone shaped instead of the flat head bit. I did that because until you get a small indentation in the glass the bit wants to skate all over. So using the pointed head seemed to put that indentation in very quickly. The glass stays put and won't move because the spongy towel holds it. That's the first reason why the sponge is a good idea. Until the bit gets a good bite in the glass I run the Dremel at just under half speed. You can always raise the speed if it looks like you are going no where. You also don't need to press down with a lot of force. I press down till I feel the glass start to resist. When the bit has an indentation to ride in I increase the power to half. I didn't see the need to increase it more then that.

If you press down to hard you can over heat the drill, the bit and the glass. You know the dremel is over heating when it turns it's self off. :) What I have learned to do is press down enough to give the bit something to dig into and pushes the glass and towel down enough to keep the water just over the top of the glass. I'm sorry it's really hard to see in the picture. I was drilling with my left hand while the camera was in my right, and I have NO "ami. skills"!! I barely have right handed skills :) Any way back to the picture. See the little white puddle under the bit on the glass ?? That's the little skiff of water on the glass keeping it and the bit wet. But it's not lapping over the glass in Tsunami size waves so that it can reach the electrical (read permanently curly hair) parts of the drill. I also tend to lift the drill off the glass every of minute or so. I can check to see how far the progress is and take the constant pressure off the bit & drill. Patience I think is the key to success. Although I don't think it was even 4 minutes to drill through the really thick pieces, like the one I showed you the other night.
A couple of things I have learned are: Use as small a bit as you can when the glass is thin. Also drilling the hole really close to the edge tends to make the piece break off. :(. The thinner the glass the slower and less force you want to use. Be sure you always have the water dancing lightly on top of the glass, and lift the bit up every minute or so. BUT most important is not to get impatient Like the saying goes "Slow and sure wins the race" :)

You can buy dremel bits at just about any of the big box hardware stores. I don't know what they cost up in the Northlands but here because they are imported this little bit was the equivalent of $12.00 US !!!!!

I did a bit of surfing and found Harbor Tools had diamond bits of all kinds and sizes for much more economical prices. So the last time El and Jackie went north I asked El a fellow power tool junkie to pick up this set for me. This set goes from 1/16th and has a number of different type heads. They are all diamond coated and cost just under $5.00 for the set!! That made me a happy girl!! :) Now I can't tell you if they will last any longer then their expensive cousins. I'll have to get back to you on that. I do know that everything I've read says that by keeping it, and the glass wet and from over heating the diamond coating last longer.

Okay kids now that you know how easy it is give it a try. I suppose if unlike me your supply of mermaid tears is small you probably don't want to be working out the bugs on them. Maybe you can practice a bit on an old chipped plate or cup, before taking after your precious MMtears!! :)
I hope this helped a bit, and didn't muddy the waters too much. Now Renate I hope to hear about your drilling successes soon. And LeAnn try not to put too many holes in vessels that need to hold liquid!! :)
Have a most audacious today or tonight depending on where in the world you are p;)


stregata said...

Thank you for this awesome tutorial, sweet sister in "what-can-we-alter-today-passion"? I will try to gather my nerve and my wits (that will be difficult) and try it.

Rustic Tarts said...

I meant to tell you the other day Pattie that I have recently got myself a Dremel too. I haven't done anything as creative yet as you, just polishing and sanding. We found that it was cheaper to buy packs of attachments rather than just a single one. A man must have worked out that!!

sharon said...

Yay!! A new way to use my dremel! I'll put it on the list of things to do next!! Thank you Patti for your wonderful and gracious tutorial!!

SummersStudio said...

Thanks Pattie! This is great and I already have a list of of things in my head that should be drilled. None of them need holding water though :-) Going to check out Harbour Freight. There's one not to far from me. Great extra tip, there!

Narrative jewelry said...

Thank you Pattie for sharing with us this new experiment. As i live on the seaside and have a lots of beach combers, i gonna try to drill with this lovely diamond, and hope i won't drill my fingers at the same time !.

Don't forget, "diamonds are girls' best friends" :)

Hope you will have the most wonderful day or night you hope.


Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Harbor Freight -- I can hardly drag my husband out of there! It's like a toy store for grown men.

Thank'ee for the tutorial!

Coastal Sisters said...

I am so glad you posted this tutorial....#2 just bought me one of these power tools and this will help me learn to use it!!

Love to you, LW and the Furbabies!
LS, The Commander, #2 and the Furbabies!

Esther said...

wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!! thank you Pattie!!!!!

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