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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
CNC machines are capable of doing many amazing things.

So I got to thinking... It is always dangerous when I get to thinking ...

WHAT IF I were to take a design for a stained glass window, and use a CNC machine to make the various puzzle pieces out of transparent or translucent acrylic rather than glass?

Normally, stained glass is held together using lead (?) or some soft material that is laid or poured between the pieces and allowed to harden in order to hold them together.

WHAT IF I were to CNC route pockets into a material like MDF, allowing for .00(n)" of clearance for each piece to drop partially into pockets maybe 1/2 the thickness of the acrylic pieces? Then each piece would be routed (or laser cut ... even more accurate?) to fit into those pockets with only .00(n)" inches of clearance around each piece, but the pockets would be spaced further apart. Once all of the pieces were laid into the tray holding the pieces in place, a liquid (soft JB WELD compound? or an Expoxy? Black Liquid Nail?) could be poured into the spaces between the pieces and allowed to harden. When fully cured, the pane would be flipped over to pour the liquid into the crevices on the other side, thus filling the gap between the pieces and creating a sturdy stained acrylic window pane.

I believe I would have to use some release agent so the "goo" would not stick to the ridges between the acrylic pieces, and the pocket tray could be reused, but in my mind at least, this SEEMS like it would be a fool proof way to create stained acrylic windows.

Do you think this would work?

Joe
 

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Without really diving into the 'thinking' part of this and at the end of a long day, I'd have to say it's worth a try. Be sure to take lots of photos.
Agree. I'd start with something smallish, and simple, to see if it would actually work, and if it does, go bigger and fancier. Sounds doable anyway.
 

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Absolutely dangerous thoughts. It definitely can be done.

Save some $$$ and use Clear acrylic and cover with Oracal 8300 Transparent vinyl.
It works well and you can layer them for more color depth.
You can also get P-99 Non-Glare Clear acrylic for less glare.

We do things sort of like this for sign work.
In the picture below I think you'll get what I'm trying to say.

Now if you have alot openings, you may need to cut 'helpers pieces'
to help keep the panel rigid. Another reason for the football shapes
is that some materials can conflict w/ one another on the sides.
Keeps the pieces snug fit. Add as many as needed, esp in fragile areas.
Allowing a channel to pour your epoxy etc. I'd leave it permanent.

I use Coreldraw X4/2019 for all my designing & the lil oval/football
was done w/ Fit Object to Path and rotates accordingly as such.

Hopefully this helps out and then you can start a big window job.
 

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These windows made by a glass artist friend of mine are made from lots of hand cut pieces of different colour glass. He starts with a full size line drawing blown up by a local firm and lays it under a sheet of plate glass. he then cuts each piece and puts a black Silicon compound around the edges, the squeeze-out bonds the pieces to the glass. The wooden cross on the rosary was my contribution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well dang it! Now that I have been thinking about this, I went to good old You Tube to discover that they have CNC glass cutting machines! I don't know why I never imagined such a thing. I always though glass had to be cut in straight lines, or FORMED at the random shapes we see. Now I discover (at the old age of 61) that a CNC machine can cut glass to about any shape I want.

Then there is the process of router cutting or laser cutting out a frame, and filling the various voids with colored resins. It is stuff like this that makes me wish I would live another thousand years. So much stuff to TRY, and so few years left to try them!

Joe
 

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Dipping your toes into stained glass is actually not hard or expensive to get into. It would be nice to have a cnc able to cut glass though. Cutting glass precisely is where all the skill is at.

I use stained glass to accent my wood working.

Traditional stained glass uses lead came or copper foil (Tiffany style).
 

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Dipping your toes into stained glass is actually not hard or expensive to get into. It would be nice to have a cnc able to cut glass though. Cutting glass precisely is where all the skill is at.

I use stained glass to accent my wood working.

Traditional stained glass uses lead came or copper foil (Tiffany style).
CNC cutting glass is pretty tricky to do. Has to be done in a water bath with a specific bit and a very shallow DOC. The pieces will need some cleanup. Worth experimenting with if you're serious about it.
 

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No cnc glass cutting for me. lol. I was commenting on folks wanting to start doing traditional stained glass. I believe it goes well with cnc carving.

Traditional stained glass is another of my hobbies. Though not very good at it. I've been playing around with it for a decade or two (man that went fast).

Not woodworking but a fun past time and the stained glass really makes a great accent piece for woodworking projects.
 

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Many years ago I watched a demonstration of cutting glass into all sorts of shapes with a pair of scissors submerged in a bowl of water. I've never tried it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
CNC cutting glass is pretty tricky to do. Has to be done in a water bath with a specific bit and a very shallow DOC. The pieces will need some cleanup. Worth experimenting with if you're serious about it.
The You Tube videos I have been watching do not use a water bath. They lay sheets of glass down, score the top surface with some special diamond tip pressure sensitive cutting tip, and then divide the sheets into the various pieces and shapes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Many years ago I watched a demonstration of cutting glass into all sorts of shapes with a pair of scissors submerged in a bowl of water. I've never tried it.
Oh, I am absolutely SURE I would screw that up!

"Joe ... why is the water turning bright red?"
 

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I went and looked at some youtube channels. I had a completely wrong idea in my head on how it works. The videos I looked at used a floating diamond bit or glass cutter to score the glass versus actually cutting the glass. This is totally doable and probably really easy.

To cut glass you would need special equipment like a cnc controlled water jet.

Is it wrong that it feels like totally cheating doing this even though I use a cnc for carving wood. The skill in making a stained glass piece is scoring and breaking glass precisely. This moves the precision to the machine and away from the artist. lol. cheating.

Now let me go cut some lumber on my table saw because I can't cut a straight line with my handsaw to save my life.
 

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I went and looked at some youtube channels. I had a completely wrong idea in my head on how it works. The videos I looked at used a floating diamond bit or glass cutter to score the glass versus actually cutting the glass. This is totally doable and probably really easy.

To cut glass you would need special equipment like a cnc controlled water jet.

Is it wrong that it feels like totally cheating doing this even though I use a cnc for carving wood. The skill in making a stained glass piece is scoring and breaking glass precisely. This moves the precision to the machine and away from the artist. lol. cheating.

Now let me go cut some lumber on my table saw because I can't cut a straight line with my handsaw to save my life.
If you think it's cheating, then it is - for your efforts.

To me, it's just a tool. No different than a router table, band saw or even a box cutter (well, not really but you get the point).

Artistry has 2 aspects - imagination and execution. On the execution front, understanding of the materials, the tools and the processes are crucial. Even if you do things completely by hand, you still need the correct tools, a deep understanding of the materials and how to go about making the piece. To me the CNC machine is simply a tool that requires my direction. Just possessing a pile of tools doesn't make you an artist - it's you that makes you an artist.

Lets look at a somewhat different area - glass blowing. There is an artist, Dale Chihuly, that is widely renowned. Yet, he is controversial in that he actually doesn't personally make any of his pieces and hasn't for decades. His assistants (and interns) make the actual pieces. He gives artistic direction and a few sketches and they do the rest. Yet the art world calls all those pieces "Chihulys". Is he cheating? What's the difference between a CNC machine and a Chihuly assistant? I'd say the CNC machine needs more of the "artist's" direction and input than a skilled assistant does.
 

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Philba, lol. I think my self deprivation and sarcasm didn't come across well.

I totally agree a cnc is just a tool. What the general woodworking community I come across is they are unaware on how much knowledge and artistic skill is needed to make original beautiful patterns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If you think it's cheating, then it is - for your efforts.

To me, it's just a tool. No different than a router table, band saw or even a box cutter (well, not really but you get the point).

Artistry has 2 aspects - imagination and execution. On the execution front, understanding of the materials, the tools and the processes are crucial. Even if you do things completely by hand, you still need the correct tools, a deep understanding of the materials and how to go about making the piece. To me the CNC machine is simply a tool that requires my direction. Just possessing a pile of tools doesn't make you an artist - it's you that makes you an artist.
When I start building huge stainless steel metal art wind sculptures like the one's Mr. Howe builds up in Washington, this will be my philosophy as well. Yes, it would be more "cool" if I cut out the hundreds of pieces by hand, and balanced them for weight and size, but my CNC plasma cutter is going to to the brunt of THAT part of the projects.


Joe

 
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