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Water Jet Windshield

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by cosmic12, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422


    I have a guy that says he can cut my windshield for my 52 Chevy no problem on his water jet machine. Anyone ever have this done before?
    I can do it myself with a sand blaster but the corners are a real problem he says he can do it easy. Just wondering if it has been done without problems, I don't want and can't aford to be doing multipul windsields.
    Any experince at all here?:confused:
  2. Streight8
    Joined: Jun 12, 2012
    Posts: 125


    Water jetting glass should be more precise than sand blasting. It is used extensively in manufacturing to cut many different materials inlcuding bullet proof glass. No vibration or heat build up.
  3. If he does it report back,,I would like to know how it turns out. HRP
  4. Thunderroad312
    Joined: Nov 18, 2012
    Posts: 159


    Me Too!
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  5. GaryB
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,530

    from Reno,nv

  6. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,426


    water jet cutting actually uses a very fine garnet to abrasively cut with. the high pressure (thousands of psi) water carries the garnet and flushes it and the cut material away. Its a highly concentrated focused sandblaster. If the guy has a 3D gantry system, it should work.
  7. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422


    I have seen his work on many different materials and it is very impressive but no glass, says he has done alot of it but nothing to show me. He also told me that I need to be very carefull where I get the glass and that alot of import stuff is just junk and will not take to cutting because of the way they make it, it is almost tempered.
    With that info I don't know where to go for the glass I guess I need to do alot of research first.
  8. Jim Dieter
    Joined: Jun 27, 2008
    Posts: 389

    Jim Dieter
    from Joliet

    Has he tried this before ??? Newer laminated glass ?
    We cut several items in the past, including graphite. But the tendency of a high pressure water stream is to explode two layers laminated together if you arent really careful. I suspect laminated glass will act like our laminated carbon did. A test piece might be a good call.
  9. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422


    Yes I am going to take him a side of my orig split to try before he gets the new one. Says he has done it, we'll see.
  10. it is done on flat glass all the time. from what I've been told that it has to be set up to follow the curves very close. 50 chev is a fairly easy one to cut using any system you choose.
    I use a regular glass cutter and finish off with a wet belt sander. been using that system for 48 years and am glad to see that there will be someone to replace my ass when I quit.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  11. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,794


    Report back with a video!
  12. ChefMike
    Joined: Dec 16, 2011
    Posts: 647


    I would like to know how it turns out please let us know if you go that route
  13. Cutting normal flat glass is no problem, most sandwich the glass between two thin layers of louan (sp,thin Plywood). I have friends who do this all the time, they report to me they have troubles with tempered glass, it will cut, but then at some point in process, it will just shatter. I agree with Jim Dieter, the laminated glass will be troublesome.
  14. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422


    I have an appointment with him next week to try cutting one of my orig parts just to see how it works out in the corners.
    I will keep everyone posted as to how it works out.
  15. Your glass cutter has already hedged his bets with the warning about where you get your glass. If he cuts it with no problems he's a hero, if not it's your fault.

    Good luck. It's a risky process. And, no, I've not done it but I have seen good cut curved glass product put in cars, good product that self destructed before installation, good product that failed during installation, and good product that lasted as intended. I don't believe any body can guarantee the's the nature of the beast. Sucks, huh?

  16. deto
    Joined: Jun 26, 2010
    Posts: 2,621


    I cut my own glass with a rotozip and diamond coated router bit. Check it out. I leave the glass about an 1/8" large all around then take it to a glass shop and have them sand and polish the edges to finish the glass. Check it out. Its towards the bottom of the page.
  17. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,525

    Stu D Baker
    from Illinois

    I tried a water-jet guy, but about 4 inches into the cut, the windshield cracked. As others have said,....flat glass = walk in the park. Curved windshield has a bit of temper that will cause grief.

    Maybe it was operator error. I'm interested in seeing your results. Stu
  18. repairmanrod
    Joined: Jan 6, 2007
    Posts: 77

    from colorado

    I know that this is not glass..... But i worked for a granite and marble company some years ago and they had a water jet machine. They cut a puzzle out of granite that was gears and you could turn the gears and the puzzle would move. Nice fine precise cuts.

  19. GeoZ1
    Joined: Jan 4, 2013
    Posts: 74

    from Illinois

    Interested in hearing about the results also.
  20. Charlie when your right, your right...
    I know this is a waterjet post and I'm old school grey beard. but a few things I've learned in 48 years of cutting glass might give others a better shot at success

    Laminated glass is two pieces of raw glass (like window glass at home) each one is cut to pattern then bent to shape. one is supposed to fit inside the other

    during the bend if one or both have distortions (if you doubt me. next time your at a light with a new Mercedes try to look thru his windshield at a angle and read a sign across the street) when laminated they both keep their memory. if one side is cut and relieves the pressure it will break the other. you never know when or where.

    before I cut a windshield I hold it under a flourecent light and look at the lights reflection in the glass I draw circles around the distortions with a felt tip pen. Most are pretty good thru the middle. also most are wavey along the edges. every distortion is a problem. quite often it's safer to takes off 3-4 than 1-2 inches.

    wrap around windshields are tougher to cut because of the edge distortion. A 3 inch chop might only need 1 inch off the top and the other 2 off the bottom corners.

    Attached Files:

  21. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422


    I am an old gray hair myself and I have cut many windshields some went good and some went bad. The last one was a 54 Ford F100 that I sand blasted and it came out perfect, it sat on a table for a week then was transported to the guys shop to be installed, everything was fine till I walked away from it after setting it on a blanket on a table and it just snapped in half all by itself. So I have kinda been there done that and I am very interested in seeing if the water jet works any better than all the other tricks everyone has tried. Always willing to lean a new way.
    Thank you for the info with the light seeing the distortions and I have to admit I never thought of cutting 1" off the top and 2 from the bottom, see ya learn something every day even an old bastard like me.
    Just want to try the water jet, hey it might be a waste of time but I will know for sure.
    Joined: Aug 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,222

    from Colorado

    From my experiences with chopping windshields ( and from a real pro glass cutter) it is a must to support the glass on the back side to prevent the part your cutting off from flexing and cracking while cutting. I build a wooden buck that fits snugly inside of the glass,duct tape it to it to keep it from moving until the cut is all the way through.I personally like using a Roto Zip with ceramic diamond tip and lots of water applied while cutting. Good luck!
  23. I was recently at a pro glass shop and watched a man that has been cutting glass for 40 plus years,,he was cutting flat glass for a chopped VW windshield and broke 4 of them in a row,,he was livid!:mad: HRP
  24. dtracy
    Joined: May 8, 2012
    Posts: 223


    He should have just walked away to calm down after the first one. By standing there and breaking three more he blew the profit for the next half dozen jobs.

    Years ago I had just bought a brand new tungstin carbide rod saw blade, one of those cut anything jobs. I had installed it in my hacksaw and decided to try it out. There was a vent glass from a 67 Camaro laying on the bench so I tried it on that. I just knew that it would explode because it was tempered, but I cut a corner off of it then cut a circle into the side. Thinking there was an issue with the glass I put it on the floor and jumped on it. Sure enough it exploded. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don't. I'm very interested in the waterjet procedure, it could save a lot of money and time making custom windshields.

  25. 40FordGuy
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 2,908


    Is this guy an established glass shop ? That's where I'd be going,......

    Let us know how it works out.......

  26. Rookie1
    Joined: Apr 5, 2009
    Posts: 63


    I have a few pictures of flat laminated glass ( look at my "A friends 1953 Ford F-100" Album) i had cut. look at the glass edge. this 'S' was cut in at most 3 seconds.
    From my attempts :
    I had to build a buck or form when i was to attempt the w/s cut but the glass had too much curve and would not fit under the water jet head (it was a 3 axis). I gave up !

    The jet pressure is so high that it will try to bow the glass . The windshield is under tension and the waste piece unwraps slightly (1/4-1/2") as you cut it from the main w/s body.
    If you attempt this you will need to support the waste piece so as not to fall and twist the last few inches of cut.

    Search: custom curved glass #6 ,

    cutting glass , cutting curved windshields
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  27. CMonster
    Joined: Jan 13, 2013
    Posts: 1


    From my experience waterjets are not able to cut safety glass, so he can cut it as plate glass but not as safety glass (tempered)
  28. 5Wcoupe
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 306

    from L.A., Ca.

    Sorry if I missed this but-
    1 issue may be that Water jet tables/Gantry are not so good for anything that is not flat.
    distance from nozzle to work is very critical. How do you do that with a windshield?
    and even flat glass like many have said is risky. experiment with test pieces and try different speeds.
    I've never been able to get my water jet guy to try any clear glass (tempered or safety) but we've cut plenty of ceramic and stone pieces.
    good luck-
  29. Hotrodbuilderny
    Joined: Mar 20, 2009
    Posts: 1,646


    Welcome from Long Island
  30. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,525

    Stu D Baker
    from Illinois

    The guy that tried my windshield, felt the same as you. He wanted to give it a try, so I gave him a glass. Their shop does some pretty neat stuff, however, this task was not so great. Stu

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