Introduction: Adjustable Glass Bottle Cutter

Picture of Adjustable Glass Bottle Cutter

I have wanting to make a bottle cutter for a while now, just because I really like the idea of making glasses from bottles. I found a lot of designs online, but one thing they all had in common, is that none of them are adjustable. Now I want to be able to cut different types and sizes of bottles, so I came up with this design that can be adjusted for different bottles. Cutting glass bottles can be really fun, and drinking out of a glass you made is also satisfying. Plus you get to repurpose an ordinary glass bottle into something new and useful.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

For this project I used:

- 1x4 Scraps
- Glass Cutter
- Polyurethane
- 1/4"x2" Bolts
- Wing Nuts
- Epoxy
- Wood Glue
- Screws
- Glass Bottles

Step 2: Cutting and Sanding

Picture of Cutting and Sanding

After I decided how I was going to build it, I cut out the pieces and sanded them.

Step 3: Attach Corners

Picture of Attach Corners

I joined up the corners by adding some wood glue, then driving in some screws.

Step 4: Cutting Holes and Slots

Picture of Cutting Holes and Slots

I began by drilling the two holes the size of the bolts on the sliding block. Then I put the block in place at each of the furthest ends and used the same drill bit through the original holes to make marks. I then drilled the rest of the holes through and drew lines connecting them for the slots. I used the jigsaw to cut out the slots along the lines.

Step 5: Glass Cutter

Picture of Glass Cutter

Since I would only be needing part of the glass cutter, I used the Dremel to cut off the part I would need. I cleaned that up with a file and sanding block, so it looked better. Then I lined it up on the side of the board with a bottle, so I could find out where it should go.

Step 6: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

I finished it with some more sanding, I used some files to sand in the slots. I glued the bolts into the holes in the sliding block with epoxy. Finally, I tested the sliding block with the wing nuts, and screwed on the glass cutter. Also this glass cutter can be adjusted too, by screwing it into a different spot.

Step 7: First Try

Picture of First Try

At this point, I decided to give the cutter a try. First I adjusted the sliding wall to where I wanted the cut, and scored the cut on the glass. Next I heated up some water just to boiling, and slowly poured it over the score for about 30 seconds. Next, I quickly switched to cold water over the score for about the same time. Lastly, I slightly twisted the bottle, and it popped apart. I smoothed the cut up using some sandpaper and Dremel.

Step 8: Polyurethane

Picture of Polyurethane

Now that I have finished and tested it I decided to give it a polyurethane finish. This is actually the first time I have used polyurethane, so I wanted something to give it a try on. When it was dry, I put all the parts back on and I was done. I also added a set of rubber feet on the bottom for traction and stability.

Step 9: Finished

Picture of Finished

Cutting bottles actually turned out even more fun and easy than I thought it would be. It's and interesting process, and very satisfying when the bottle pops in half in your hands. So far I have only broken a few bottles in the process, and I am looking forward to cutting many more bottles in the future.

By the way something I noticed, almost all the colored bottles(green, brown) I have tried to cut have broken, opposed to all of my clear bottles have been a success. Maybe the colored ones are made cheaper, or the clear ones are thicker glass, I don't know. Hope you enjoyed and have fun cutting bottles!



mosseltje (author)2015-04-25

cool. but is it safe to drink from? does anybody have soms tips on how tot pollish the edge?

flipbook (author)mosseltje2015-04-26

I would also like to see an Instructable on how to fire polish the edge. The Dremel and sandpaper don't really smooth the edges enough to make me want to lift it to my lips.

jeffwb2u1 (author)flipbook2015-04-26

Fire polishing the edge would most likely destroy any king of graphic or label on the bottle. The melting point of glass is between 3000 and 3500 degrees.

BeckyR58 (author)jeffwb2u12017-02-19

I do fused glass, and the melting point of glass is around 1325 degrees F. I just googled it and got: Glass can only be molded at very high temperatures. It completely melts/liquifies at approximately 1400 °C to 1600 °C depending on the composition of glass. Glass is made from a variety of substances, depending on the intent of use. Mostly sand, lime and soda are what most glasses are made of.

Laral (author)flipbook2016-09-26

YES! I would too.

Steelsmith1 (author)mosseltje2015-05-02

I use an acetylene torch to polish the edges, a small flame with a reducing flame: a long gather. I learned this off the internet. The gentleman who showed it used a recod player. I use an old mixer with a wooden disc attached to a cut off beater and some springy wires to hold the bottle. Run it fairly slow and gradually heat with the torch or it will break. It's a fast way to polish the edges. If you grind, remember, glass dust causes silicosis. I have a friend who got it from working in a steel mill. It is a truly terrible disease and irreversible, so wear a good respirator for particulates and remember the glass dust stays in the air for a long time. Do not grind or sand glass with others present, pets either. Same precautions as potters have to use mixing dry clay.

Mike-Buh (author)Steelsmith12015-06-16

A safe way to sand the edge is using wet-dry sandpaper, and use plenty of water. That way the particles will not become airborne, and your lungs will be OK.

You can just sand it. Keep using finer and finer grits until it feels smooth. I made a glass slide for my guitar from a bottle neck and as I kept using finer paper it almost became as smooth and clear as the untouched glass. You don't have to go that far though, just until it feels comfortable.

Laral (author)2016-09-26

I think the hot/cold water method is probably the best way to go. I especially like this guy's way:

G2 bottle cutter actually working

The glass separates under water so it is safer than if it is exposed to the air.

He does get a 'wave' in one part of the rim but that is probably due to not following through at the end or to going over a score line, which you never want to do. One continuous motion, no overlap.

potato yay made it! (author)2015-12-29

I made two small changes. I added a leg so rolling the bottles is easier and I made the cutter movable so I could do every size of bottle.

Laral (author)potato yay2016-09-26

I understand the adjustable cutter mount and it is brilliantly simple. But please include a photo of the leg you mentioned.

Grunambulax (author)potato yay2016-03-04

This is a great suggestion. I was lying in bed trying to think of how I'd do this and this is a really elegant simple solution.

KathyK31 (author)2016-03-08

I had bought a cheap bottle cutter online, not realizing it had a metal knocker to break the glass from the inside after scoring it. It was definitely not the way I wanted to go, and the lip ended up being so jagged I didn't even bother trying to sand it. That was back in December (I'm sure I'd STILL be sanding it today if I had decided to give it a try). I found these instructions and my husband built it for me. Works like a charm! We didn't even use a top of the line glass cutter that a lot of people recommended and it still works great. Just scored the bottle once around the circumference, then alternated boiling water with cold water out of the faucet and the bottle just breaks right off. Just a little PSA though: I was stupid and left a bottle cap on one of the bottles when running under the hot and cold water. The bottle practically exploded. Thankfully I did not end up with glass sticking out of me, and no one else was in the kitchen with me at the time. But the bottle did break pretty forcefully into a lot of small, jagged pieces. Some went down the side of the sink with the disposal and I had to stick my hand down there to get all the pieces. Gross. So...don't leave caps on. I will post some pics of the cutter and the bottles in a little bit.

Laral (author)KathyK312016-09-26

Yes, I would throw away the knocker. I have the original Fleming bottle cutter and it has one of these and it is useless. But you could easily use the hot/cold water technique with any bottle cutter.

Grunambulax made it! (author)2016-04-27

I used Incra Build It Knobs to adjust the sliding portion of the jig. I got them on Amazon. And I used a chisel to cut the space for the bolt heads to fit. I probably should have used a dab of Epoxy to hold them in place.

The jig works very well. I've tried to cut bottles using hand-held cutters, and the acetone on string method and they resulted in jagged and often multiple cracked bottles. This was really amazing. You heat it up with a butane torch and plunge them into ice water and they separate cleanly with hardly anything to sand. I am making a set of hurricane lanterns for family gifts now.

Laral (author)Grunambulax2016-09-26

They sell similar and other knobs at Home Depot. I have gotten them for other projects there.

Laral (author)2016-09-26

Elegant and very simple design.

bettina-sisr (author)2015-04-27

Thank you for this! I have researched A LOT of diy cutters and this is the only one I would make because of it's ease, and cheap materials. I am creating a glass wall with cement and you need to make glass 'bricks' out of two end pieces so this's perfect, thanks! oh I am using the tops for a rain chain

Brenda LeeM (author)bettina-sisr2016-02-03

I would love to see you project progress and or even just the finished project, do you have it posted anywhere? the wall and rain chain sounds lovely... I have ugly black tubes coming off mobile home gutters and would love a pretty way to get the water where it needs to go, mostly rain barrels ;)

Steinzel (author)2015-11-28

Beer bottles and some soda bottles are thinner and will break easier. I have had great success using a 25 watt soldering iron to heat the glass on these thinner bottles. Dont use the tip of the soldering iron, use the side just above the handle and slide it along the score. Alternate heat and cold water just like you do regularly. You will usually end up with a nice clean break that needs little sanding.

AdamH31 (author)2015-07-22

a nice and easy way to get the bottle to crack on the score is to fill the bottle with oil and, heat a rod to red hot and dip into the oil, the glass should crack almost instantly.

sbanas (author)2015-06-11

Yea you can kind of tell when it's about to break apart.

ggutierrez de ruiz (author)2015-04-27

The easier way of separating the bottle is to use a lighter on the scored line and then dunking it in iced water. pop! youre good to go!

I used a candle, and slowly rotated the glass score over it. After around 1 rotation, you should hear a tiny glass crackle, thats the glass cracking on the scored line. Keep the crack running, and eventually the bottle will separate itself!

Would canned air sprayed upside down do the same as the cold water

Lol I think it would, but the good thing about dunking it in water is when it snaps apart, any unexpected debris wont go flying through the air. It will simply stay in the water.

sbanas (author)2015-05-18

You might have something there with the canned air I will definitely have to give that a try

christopher.leblanc.98 (author)2015-05-14

great jig , love the out come

corieltauvus (author)2015-04-26

Cool idea.
About the coloured bottle problem. Have you considered that because coloured glass will absorb more heat than clear glass, your use of hot water to stress the 'score' may be the issue. There are two other ways to break the score-line, one using heat too, the other using a lead fishing sinker on a piece of string. This is the one I would suggest you use: Choose a heavy round sinker, just big enough to fit through the neck of the bottle. Thread a piece of string through it and jam this tight with a sliver of wood. Now feed the weight into the bottle until it is hanging at the level of the score. Swing it back and forth so that the weight acts like a hammer against inside of the score.

kaaroz (author)corieltauvus2015-05-05

GOOD IDEA! And an expansion to someone else's comment! Love all the brainstorming! ?

bpark1000 (author)2015-04-27

Another way to start the crack is to fashion a small curved handle hammer that you tap on the crack from the inside of the bottle. Just as in cutting flat glass, you tap until you see the silver shine of the crack starting, then you work around the bottle extending the crack around.

Another method is to dip a string into alcohol, tie it around the bottle, and light it (with the bottle standing upright).

kaaroz (author)bpark10002015-05-05

BPark1000 there is actually another instructable that I saw last year on the string method ;) ?

sbanas (author)2015-04-30

I actually had that same idea a couple of days after I finished it and might still add that in.

smalcolm (author)2015-04-30

Why not put the glass cutter on a pivot instead of a fixed position?

That should allow you to fit any bottle directly into the corner and get a more stable positioning of the bottle for the cut.

jeanniel1 (author)2015-04-28

You can also "hot pop" the bottle by torching the line, and then adding a drop of cold water to the line. The thermal shock cracks the bottle swiftly and cleanly. We use this method for glass blowing. Polish edges as usual.

0zzy (author)2015-04-28

Nice job
I use a rubber metal polishing wheel in my Dremel to polish the cut edges of the bottle if you spend a little time you can completely polish out all the small chip's and get a really nice smooth finnish to the glass

cesarcastillo (author)2015-04-27 si a new ay to do a good work. Thanks.cesar

morokoy (author)2015-04-27

Under Step 2 - Cutting and Sanding, the second picture has 2 round bits of wood - what are they for ??

RREYNOLDS (author)morokoy2015-04-27

It's looks to me like that is a hand sander - the larger round bit holds the sandpaper, and the smaller one is your handhold. It looks to be about the right size to accept sanding pads from an orbital sander, and he mentions sanding the pieces in that picture description.

sickdog74 (author)2015-04-27

Great job! Nice way to get perfect scoring every time!

throbscottle (author)2015-04-27

Really nice job. Well done :)

plecat (author)2015-04-27

Diamond sharpening stones and diamond files work well too for the edges if you have them and are much faster than sandpaper in my experience. If you use too coarse a file, you can actually chip the edge. I do this frequently with a much less elegant job by holding the glass cutter on my vice and rotating the bottle against it. I tap the inside gently around the inside of the cutline, inside the bottle gently with a long bent nail. You may see little cracks start to form. I can do colored bottles this way.

Yours is much nicer! Nice job!! Pawlie

The Green Gentleman (author)2015-04-27

I really like this build! Nice jig! I made something much more primitive, and I may co-opt some of yours into mine. If you raise the bottom at an angle (create a wedge) then gravity will hold the bottle against both the walls. You can cut a square block of wood, then miter-box it into two right triangles. Glue or otherwise attach those to the bottom plank, so the whole thing looks like a "V." You may need to do one for the other side for stability. Just spit-balling. You're getting excellent results as is, so no need to fix what ain't broke.

SPeacock (author)2015-04-27

To smooth the lip, try a propane torch along the top edges. Put the blue point of the smaller flame on the glass. Glass is a bad conductor or (good insulator) and might not pass the heat down as far as the painted surfaces if you are careful. Try it on a scrap bottle first - of course.

mikolynn (author)2015-04-27

It's so similar to what I want to build up. I will done it, but I would try to modify how the cutter is fixed and make it "mobile" gaining the ability to cut different diameter bottles.

guillermo.solisfierro (author)2015-04-26

se me despertó la curiosidad y lo voy a construir, gracias

por la idea

awia7 (author)2015-04-26

I am gonna make dis...!

sbanas (author)2015-04-26

Thanks those are all great ideas.

blaue_Augen (author)2015-04-26

I'm so excited to try this! I've been wanting to make glasses from wine bottles for a while, but none of the affordable bottle scorers seemed like they would work well. Your adjustable glass bottle cutter might be perfect for me! Thanks.

WVSundown (author)2015-04-26

Good job!

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm 16 in Waco, Texas. I love being outside and building things, I can build anything with just a few ideas and tools.
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