Safety glass is made by laminating two pieces of glass together with a sheet of plastic in the middle. You heat up this little sandwich and press everything together, and the plastic melts and sticks to the glass. Once everything cools down, it looks just like a normal piece of glass, but if you smash it, the plastic holds everything together. The glass is now a composite, and it's notably stiffer than a single sheet.
As it turns out, it's really easy to make this yourself using just a bit of plastic, binder clips and a toaster oven. And once you can laminate glass, life just gets better and better.
Step 1: What You Need
glass microscope slides -- $.05 each from your local science depot. Tonight, I learned that, in Manila, you can buy microscope slides at the drug store. Isn't that awesome?
EVA film -- This is a thermoplastic film that will hold your glass together. You can get it pretty cheap on ebay. Get yourself a nice bialy roll of the stuff, because you're gonna want to play with this a lot.
Binder clips -- available wherever paper is looseleaf
A cheapo toaster. When playing with chemicals, I like to use dedicated equipment so I don't accidentally eat my experiments. Heated plastics play with our bodies in all kinds of ways that we don't understand. For $10, I can get an extra toaster and avoid being an inadvertent guinea pig. Plus--science toaster!
Step 2: What You're Going to Do
Here's a sped-up video showing the process. It really just takes a minute to make a piece of safety glass.
The music from this video is by the band Beirut. Beirut made this great full-length film of themselves playing their music, called Cheap Magic Inside. Did you know that? Every time I see them singing Nantes in that staircase in brooklyn, I tear up. You should totally watch it!
Well, ready to make some glass? Spin up a Beirut album and let's go!
Step 3: Sudo Make Me a Sandwich
Step 4: Old Gold: It's Toasted
This photo is from an early experiment and I don't have binder clips on my sandwich. You should--everything, binder clips and all, goes into the toaster.
Step 5: Give 'er a Whack
Step 6: An Exercise for the Reader
You can also put other stuff into the glass. I played around with laminated leaves and flowers from my garden in between a couple pieces of EVA inside the glass. I'm particularly pleased with how my canteloupe flower turned out. Wouldn't it be cool if your car windshield had flowers built into it? Play around with it! Shove all kinds of stuff into the glass. Adhere glass and EVA to the front of a surface-mount circuit board to make lovely, glass-fronted PCBs that everyone will love. Stick glass slides to your walls. Stack two glass panes and some spacers together to make your own double-glazed windows. Go nuts!
Well, that's what I've got for now. Go forth and DO stuff!