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What kind of bit do I use to drill ceramic?


I bought a really nice vintage cigar ashtray at an estate sale and I want to use it as a soap dish in my shower. Since it fills up with water as  I shower I'd like to drill a hole or two in it to drain the water. The surface I would be drilling is only about 1/8 thick. Any suggestions on what kind of bit to use? I read that since it has a glaze I need a glass bit? Thanks.

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caarntedd6 years ago
I have used an ordinary masonry drill bit to drill ceramics. You of course need to be very gentle when doing this, and I have done it many times.

First you need to mark the holes. Do this by sticking masking tape over the area where the holes will be and measure out and mark your holes on the tape. This will also help the drill bit to grip when first starting.
Then you need to "centrepunch" the holes much as you would when marking out holes in steel. Don't actually hit anything, but you need to break the glaze so the drill bit will grip. Do this by holding an ordinary steel drill bit between your fingers (a nice sharp one), place it on the spot you wish to drill and twist back and forth till you have made a tiny hole in the glaze. Now you can use the masonry bit.

Use the same method to drill through the ceramic as you did to break the glaze. If the holes are large (bigger than about 3 or 4mm) this will take some time. A better method, (the one I use) is to use a hand drill or power drill set on low speed and while supporting the ceramic solidly on a sandbag or pile of sand/dirt or similar, slowly drill through. Do not apply excessive pressure, let the weight of the tool do the job, and DO NOT set the power drill on hammer.

When you have finished use some abrasive paper to clean up the edges of the holes. Roll a small piece into a tiny cylinder that will fit in the hole and take off the sharp edges. Ceramic glaze is very sharp when cut or broken.

If you feel confident enough, I actually do use a centrepunch to mark the holes when I do this. It works especially well if you drill tiles that are already stuck down. Again support the ceramic solidly on sand, hold the punch (a nice sharp one) on the mark and support the punch by resting the side of your hand on the ceramic. This will absorb some of the shock. Then very gently tap, tap, tap a few times with a small hammer, and the glaze will have a little hole in it for the masonry drill to grip.

Sorry if I've rambled a bit, but my point is that a glass bit is for glass and ceramics can be drilled with a masonry bit. I was taught to do it this way and it has always worked for me. Good luck.
janw6 years ago
These are what I use to drill ceramics and glass mosaic
TILE--GLASS-DRILL-BIT.gif
buffysissy1 (author)  janw6 years ago
Thanks, are they expensive?
they are quite more costly than the standard ones
Don remeber but I think that they were just a little bit more expensive than 'regular' bits.
they are indeed more expensive than the regular ones...
janw janw6 years ago
*I don't remember.
NachoMahma6 years ago
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It will tell him to use a ceramic drill bit. Who knew? Now, how do you drill jello?
You march the Jello up and down the field until it gets it right. What else?
Okay, smart-guy. Riddle me this:

If it takes marching orders to drill jello, how do you bore it?

(I love setting up bad puns, extra points if you surprise me)
Chuck it down a mineshaft. Next?
game, set, and match.
buffysissy1 (author)  frollard6 years ago
I can't use a regular drill bit?
seandogue6 years ago
Yes, a glass bit will do just fine. I used one on the tiles in my shower for fastening the shower door hardware. Just drill carefully and slowly. I had to replace the first tile I drilled because I was a bit to aggressive.