View A Video on Glass Cutting - A Quick Introduction
Glass Cutting is used for every glass function, such as clear float glass (flat glass), decorative and obscure glass used by window manufacturers and framers for building construction and art housing; many types of building window glass and automotive windshield glass are laminated glass panes which have been tempered for use as shatter-proof safety glass. Highly demanding glass window and panel applications may call for wire glass, which is glass that has been reinforced with an embedded wire net. Most glass tubes, sight glass and precision optical products are made from borosilicate glass, the same heat resistant and shatter-proof material from which Pyrex products are manufactured. Sight glass is a type of tubular or lens-shaped optical glass manufactured for the transparent observation and level gauging of liquids within manufacturing processes. The most heat resistant type of glass is quartz glass, which looks like standard glass but is made of pure silicon and is transparent to UV rays. Glass bottles and containers are made by hand or automated glass blowing, and glass fabricators provide a range of custom molding, glass cutting and glass etching services. Coated glass and laminated glass have had elements added in the manufacturing process which increase specific features of the glass making it ideal for certain applications.
Glass is a unique material unlike plastics, metals or ceramics. Glass products are common in many industrial, commercial and consumer applications, including decorative architecture, electronic devices, medical equipment, laboratory equipment and household containers, but their most crucial applications can be found in building construction, automobiles and optical equipment. As an inorganic amorphous solid, glass retains a rigid, brittle structure without crystallizing and may be blown, formed and molded with relative ease at temperatures above 1800°F. The shape, heat resistance and thickness of glass are crucial elements to be considered for accurate viewing and measurement, just as eyeglass lenses, microscope and telescope lenses are manufactured with precision thickness and curvature. Nearly all types of glass used in automotive windows or as architectural safety glass undergo precision tempering, coating and laminating processes to reduce brittleness, increase strength and to cause the window, if shattered, to break into small, rounded pieces rather than dangerous shards.
Silica is the main ingredient used in glass fabrication. Pure sand is often used as raw silica material, which is usually mixed with other inorganic compounds such as soda ash, or sodium carbonate, which lowers silica's melting point from 2300°C to a more manageable 1500°C; lime, or calcium oxide, which increases chemical durability; and other carbonate minerals such as magnesium oxide, aluminum oxide, gypsum and dolomite. Glass made primarily of silica, soda ash and lime is referred to as soda-lime glass, while glass made of silica and boron oxide is referred to as borosilicate glass. Soda-lime glass is a cost-effective option and is typically used in commodity items, glass containers and standard windowpanes. borosilicate glass, also known as Pyrex, is more costly yet is a highly durable, heat resistant material used in laboratory beakers, test tubes, cookware and optical lenses. Once raw materials have been melted and refined in a furnace, the liquid glass may be molded or blown. Flat glass is float glass that has been formed by channeling melted glass into a bath of molten tin; the less dense glass floats on top of the tin's even surface while rollers smooth the top surface and move the glass along. The glass panel cools as it exits onto a conveyor, where it is cut, heat treated and laminated. Glass containers for use in beverage and product storage may be formed by blow or press procedures depending on the necessary output. Molten drops of glass called gobs are formed into parisons and are plunged or blown into molds where the glass solidifies. Glass products such as glass blocks may also be poured and pressed into molds then slowly cooled at controlled temperatures. Glass products then need to go through the process of annealing to balance the inner and outer stress of the product and remove potential areas of weakness.
Hand blown glass products take a high level of skills and are most often used for costly decorative pieces. Some manufacturers still use hand blowing techniques to manufacture containers and other pieces, although hand processes are far less cost effective than automated glass blowing, molding or float fabrication. Technologies developed within the last fifty years have increased the safety, durability and functional capabilities of glass products far beyond that of traditional glass making. Manufacturers of glass panels and products fabricate fire proof glass, heat resistant glass, safety glass and bullet proof glass that have been able to replace or enhance metal or ceramic materials, as well as a spectrum of precision optical equipment. Other developments have been made in glass manufacturing through tempering and laminating, including the fabrication of UV-blocking glass, reflective glass, non-reflective glass, insulating glass and one-way mirrors. The raw materials, mainly silica, used to fabricate glass are widely available, and glass may be completely recycled, making glass highly cost-effective to fabricate.
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Image Provided by Pegasus Glass.
Glass Cutting Types
glassware shaped and created by air pressure; this has commonly been
done by mouth in the past or by compressed air through a metal pipe.
Pieces are often made in mass quantities such as bottles, via a highly
automated system, which both moves and injects air into the glass gob
to form the finished piece.
- is any glass object decorated by cutting or grinding facets
and is for purely decorative purposes, like decorative plates or other
assorted knick knacks.
a wider classification of glass that includes wired and tempered glass.
The main processes by which flat glass is made are the rolled and float
glass procedures: rolled glass is made when a continuous stream of molten
glass is poured between water-cooled rollers, while the float glass
process is the most widely used process and consists of the glass being
held in a chemically controlled atmosphere at a high temperature for
a long enough time for the surface to become flat and parallel.
- is the process of shaping glass with air.
- includes various methods, including diamond saw cutting, thermal or hot cutting, score and break cutting, and laser cutting.
- are long, cylinder-shaped pieces of glass.
- is a cylinder made of glass material.
is exposed to a heating and cooling cycle and is typically doubly strong
as standard annealed float glass of equal measurements. Breakage
of this glass results in larger pieces than with completely tempered
offer superior clarity and precision to meet the very specific
demanding needs for high-tech lenses, prisms, medical internal visual
is the result of melted silica, and it can resist extreme or quickly
changing temperatures and is typically transparent to ultraviolet radiation.
This product is utilized in fiber optics, analytical instruments, semiconductor
technologies and casting processes.
include any number of glass products fabricated for specific purposes,
including bent, bulletproof, silk screened and colored glass and glass
parts for industrial and commercial uses.
is a type of safety glass that is heat treated and approximately five
times stronger than similarly measured glass standard annealed float
glass; breakage results in small, rectangular-like pieces, beneficial
for general and safety glazing like storm doors, building entrances,
sliding doors and bath and shower doors.
- is a product with various patterned and uneven surfaces.
created by inserting a wire mesh into sheets of glass, which has
a resistance to impact forces like normal glass,
wire holds broken pieces in place. This has customarily been
accepted as inexpensive fire safety glass.
Glass Cutting Terms
The procedure of controlling the cooling of glass in the manufacturing
of float glass; doing it in a lehr prevents residual pressures in the
glass. Annealed glass from the manufacturer typically has a breaking strength
- An apparatus
in the float glass production line subsequent to the tin bath and prior
to the cooling conveyor, which controls the cooling and heating. It relieves
pressure from the flat glass product to permit ordinary cold end-of-line
- Blocks of
elastomer that restrict lateral movements of glass as it travels through
the glazing channel caused by seismic, thermal, building movement, wind
load effects or any other applicable force.
- A container using
heat and extreme pressure in the glass industry that creates a bond between
glass and PVB or urethane sheet, resulting in laminated glass.
- A glass product
that has been shaped from a flat shape into the desired curved shape during
the molten state.
- The procedure of
putting a bevel edge on finished cut glass.
- An imperfection in
flat glass that is a bend, curve or any other alteration.
- Imperfections that
occur in laminated glass as a pocket of air or gas between the interlayer
and the glass. The parameter is any inclusion higher than .8 mm (1/32")
in diameter in float glass.
The strengthening of glass through ion-exchange to create a compressive
pressure layer at the treated surface.
- A flaw resulting
from breakage of tiny pieces off of the edge of cut glass; typically,
it is only significant for heat absorbing glass.
- Waste or broken glass.
Can often be remolded for later use.
- Float glass
that measures approximately three mm thick (1/8").
- A protrusion on the
edge of a lite of glass.
- A general term
that describes float glass, sheet glass, plate glass and rolled glass.
- Glass formed on
a bath of molten tin. The surface in contact with the tin is known as
the tin surface or tin side. The top surface is known as the atmosphere
surface or air side.
- The portion of hot glass
delivered by a feeder or gathered on a punty or a pipe.
designed to absorb significant quantities of solar energy.
- The bonding
of two or more panes of glass (lites) with one or more interlayers; the
interlayer is composed of plastic. The glass lites could be various colors
and thicknesses, mirrored or stenciled, and the intermediary plastic material
choices are many depending on the preferred effect.
- An industry term for
pane of glass, spelled differently to differentiate from perceptible light.
- The left-over glass remaining
on a punty or blowpipe after a piece has been completed and cut off.
glass with both sides polished and ground.
- A device to which ware
is attached for holding during fire polishing or finishing.
- Glass that is
composed almost entirely of silica.
- The mark on a glass surface
resulting from joint of matching mold parts.
- A reference to the
degree of enduring stress found in annealed glass.