Friday, April 19, 2013

What is glass engraving

Glass engraving involves carving designs on a glass object using a rotary tool or copper wheel. Copper wheel engraving requires special training in the use of copper wheels that turn on a lathe through an oil-suspended abrasive that cuts designs into glass. The rotary tool is more readily available, and requires only bits designed to mark glass, such as diamond or silicon- or tungsten-carbide. This is also known as flexible drive engraving, and is easily accomplished by anyone with a rotary tool and some time to practice.


1. Prepare the work area so that it is well lit. Cover any hard surfaces with a towel or pad to avoid damage to the glass object if it should fall, and to help keep glass dust from spreading out of the area.

2. Clean and dry the glass object.

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  • 3. Apply the design with the glass marking pen, or the transfer paper. Where the design is best applied depends on the shape and thickness of the glass object. For example, it can be attached inside a thin glass because it is easy to see through the glass to trace the design on the outside. Alternately, a thick glass object may require the design be traced on the same side on which you will be engraving, using transfer paper, such as Saral paper.

    4. Seat the chosen bit firmly into the rotary tool and tighten the chuck, then put on the appropriate safety equipment.

    5. Touch the bit lightly to the glass to trace the outline of the design. High speeds and heavy pressure are not required, and in fact make it harder to control the bit against the glass. Use different bits to achieve different effects on the glass -- practice on scrap glass to determine the best ones to use for your design.

    6. Wipe the surface as needed to clean glass dust off the surface for better visibility. Take care if the design was applied with transfer paper, as this may wipe the design off as well; you can use a soft, dry cloth instead.

    7. Clean the glass once the outline is finished, and remove the pattern from the glass.

    8. Place the dark cloth against the glass object so it highlights the design and shade the pattern, if desired. Use the original pattern as a guide.

    9. Wash the glass object thoroughly when finished to remove any grit or glass dust.

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