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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone use their CNC for etching glass with diamond bits? If so what speed what bits what depth? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thinking about investing in a small CNC foe engraving on small boxes and if possible etching logos in glass.
 

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keep in mind that glass is nick sensitive and once the glass surface is scratched it is subject to breaking....
 

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I think the commercial method for etching is sandblasting. You lay Mac-tac on the glass where you don't want it etched. No chemicals that way.
 
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John
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You can buy a laser unit for some CNC systems,
 
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Harold that is a good question. I always thought that glass etching was with Flouric acid. But I know very little about that.

Herb
Hydroflouric acid is nasty stuff that it is best to stay away from COMPLETELY!. If you get it on your skin, any skin, it will eat right through to the bone marrow.

With that, said, there are many ways to etch glass; acids, blasting, and mechanical etching. Most hobby type shops sell kits to acid etch, I have used templates or even simple taped up areas and a hand held spot blaster. Texture will depend on the medium used; fineness of sand, Black Beauty, etc.

I can't speak for the mechanical means. However, bits are obviously available and capable of performing this operation, as linked by UglySign. The only thing is, that, this is a "drag bit". it might be good for line etching but not for etching a field. I'm sure that there is a learning curve and I'm not quite sure how well tempered glass would take to a mechanical means without fracturing.
 
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I'm sorry for posting that drag knife thing.
I am bent on glue-chipped glass and thats what I always think of.
Etching is nice but I find that glue-chipped glass is more appealing.
Once my machine gets here i'm going to try it out.

As for the drag knife on glass, you could make some nifty
fills if needed and come along with the etching creams or
mask it for mini-blasting. Lots of possibilities but I may have
gone the wrong direction to the topic.

Anyways... either do hand masking or have it cut and you
could also use a mini sand blaster. Diamond Drag will ruin masking I believe.
Here's a cheapie using Aluminum Oxide abrasive.
Badger Mini Sandblasting Kit - BLICK art materials

+1 on the Hydroflouric Acid >:)
 

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Theo
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Personally I think it would take a whole lot of glass etching with a CNC before it would be worthwhile. Years back a bought a glass etching kit, to etch some glassware for my then dau-in-law. Not sure what the etch was, it was in a small glass bottle. Applied the patterns, put on the etch with a small brush, waited a few minutes, rinsed it off with water. Came out beautiful. You could get ready made patterns, or material to make your own custom designs. I did 8 glasses in probably 5-10 minutes. I could buy a whole lot of etching kits for even the cost of a hobby CNC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Maybe I am going the wrong direction with CNC etching. I have had a local trophy shop etch logos into glass. Recently the business changed hands and this has become too costly. Maybe I should be asking what is the best way to make a mask.
 

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Maybe I am going the wrong direction with CNC etching. I have had a local trophy shop etch logos into glass.
Recently the business changed hands and this has become too costly. Maybe I should be asking what is the
best way to make a mask.
Add a vinyl plotter to your arsenal for a mask. Im sure there
are smaller units out there you could pick up, load in the
vinyl mask, cut it, weed it out and start etching/blasting etc.
Xacto blades can do so much by hand and could get discouraging.
Vinyl plotters can only go so small before losing detail and alot of
stuff is small. Especially for trophies.

Are there other methods for super small graphics? Probably Laser?

Glastar has a neat mini sandblast system
that I've been interested in for years.
 

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Theo
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I've done a lot of glass etching with this stuff,
here is a shelf I made that I etched the mirror....easy peasy brush on wait 10 minutes wash off.....
Nice work.

That's the stuff I was trying to think of. Should still have most of a bottle around somewhere, but more likely it's lost forever. Can get some pretty fine detail with that stuff too, with a fine tip brush. If I ever get the urge to make some more custom glasses, that's the stuff I'll use.
 

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Add a vinyl plotter to your arsenal for a mask. Im sure there
are smaller units out there you could pick up, load in the
vinyl mask, cut it, weed it out and start etching/blasting etc.
Xacto blades can do so much by hand and could get discouraging.
Vinyl plotters can only go so small before losing detail and alot of
stuff is small. Especially for trophies.

Are there other methods for super small graphics? Probably Laser?

Glastar has a neat mini sandblast system
that I've been interested in for years.
yes that is a good idea I happen to have a large one for other reasons but comes in handy for this purpose.
 

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Mike
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If you do get a spring loaded diamond drag bit you will want a good one, they are not all created equal. A good one is expensive but a cheap one could come with a lot of headaches. Some companies make cheaper models and there again you want the best one they make.
 
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