Unconventional Question for an Unconventional Cut


(Curtis Reid Henderson) #1

Hey there,
Long story short, I need to cut a hole through the center of an old iphone. I have removed the battery and almost all other electronics from the phone, so its basically a matter of cutting through the top and bottom glass panels. I’m kind of at as loss as far as where to start with this, so I thought that I would pose the question here.

Does anyone have any experience cutting through glass? If so do you have any recommendations as far as feeds and speeds? thanks!


(Phil Gorsuch) #2

Only thought here is that the glass will be tempered glass (believe it is Cornings Gorilla Glass but could be wrong there) and thus will be near impossible to cut without shattering as it is already under tension/compression. Might be able to anneal the glass and thus increase your chances but take that with a grain of salt as I am not a materials guy.


(KSLE Pilot) #3

I used to deal with glass and glass cutting. I really believe it would be better to cut through the glass and then to try finishing the operation on the CNC.

The best way that we found to cut any glass was to take a piece of copper pipe and to cut a notch on one end that encompassed less than ⅛ of the entire circumference. The notch should be in the form of a right triangle with the vertical face at the rear of the cutting direction. This allows for water and carborundum to flow in, in front of the vertical cutting face. Some people have used this method, omitting the carborundum, but I found the cutting to be much slower, and more prone to cracking. The “water only” method does leave a smoother finish to the cut, however.

Build a dam of plasticine clay at least 20% larger than the hole that is to be cut. Place the copper tube into a drill press, add water and carborundum grit to the reservoir that was created and, using gentle pressure and a slow drill speed, cut your hole. Make sure to keep the reservoir full of water at all times.

You will get water and grinding grit as well as glass slurry into your phone…but, it sounds like keeping the phone working is not important. The water allows for cutting without the vibrations that cause glass to shatter (try cutting a pane of glass, underwater, with ordinary scissors. It will blow your mind).