Electric Glass Grinders are extremely useful machines. But how do they work and what do you use them for?
We use the Kristall 2000s Glass Grinder in our studio and for our courses. It is a robust machine, very well buit and includes a neat water pump system which feeds water up to the grinder bit.
Glass grinders are electrically powered motors which turn a spindle. On to the spindle a diamond coated brass barrell is fitted, usually using an allen key, these are called grinder bits. This rotates so that when a sheet of glass is placed against the edge, it grinds away the glass.
It is important to care for the spindle and the grinder bits, by ensuring that the allen bolt (grub screw) and the grinder spindle is greased with vaseline or grease. This will ensure that your grinder head can be adjusted (to enable you to use all of the grit on a standard bit as you generally only use 3 or 4mm at a time with stained glass or fusing glass). You may find that a new glass grinder bit chips the edge of the glass as the fresh diamond is sharp and not worn in, this will reduce over time, you can bed in the diamond bit by using some scrap glass on it first.
Make sure that you clean your glass grinder out at regular intervals, to remove glass dust which sits in the water, this forms a sediment which can set rock hard if left for too long.
The glass grinders' reservoir which sits under the worksurface should be 3/4 filled with water and a dash of grinder coolant. The grinder coolant is soluble in water and adds extra lubrication to the grinding process. It means that the coolant (water) is more effective at cooling the glass and diamond coating of the grinder bit, which prolongs its life.
The grinder can be used to re-shape, trim and neaten the edges of your glass. It is useful for copper foiling to help the foil tape to adhere to the glass with the keyed edge it creates (you will need to wash and dry the glass before applying your copper foil. You can use the glass grinder in glass fusing too, however we hihly reccommend scrubbing ground edges prior to firing to ensure that the chance of hazing from the ground surface is minimalised.
If you would like more help or advice, please feel free to call or visit Creative Glass Guild's Stained Glass Supplies store in Bristol.