Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Fused Glass Art

Making wonderful glass mosaic tile art is easy! Let me show you how.
Wheeled Fused Glass Art cutters are essential for creating glass mosaics. I use it to cut and shape vitreous glass and stained glass. It can also be used to cut smalti. The wheeled cutters make cleaner cuts than tile nippers. The two carbide wheels (or steel, if you buy cheap cutters) are fixed in position. Instead of scoring and breaking, the wheels apply even pressure to the top and bottom sides of the glass, causing it to fracture along the line of the wheels.
The wheels are replaceable and eventually go dull, but not before several thousand cuts. Each wheel is held in place by a setscrew (usually an Allen screw). As your cuts become noticeably less clean than when the cutters were new, use an Allen wrench to loosen the screws, rotate each wheel about 1/8-inch, and then re-tighten the screws. By changing the location of where each wheel touches the glass, you have, in effect, replaced the blades. It'll take a long time and many cuts to use the entire circumference of the wheels, especially if they're carbide.

When your new tool arrives, Fused Glass Art  an Allen wrench to tighten the screws as tight as possible. Then, use an engraver, paint, felt-tip marker (or whatever you have that makes a permanent mark) to make a small tick mark on the side of each wheel where it touches the glass when cutting (the two tick marks should be aligned opposite each other). I use an engraving tool for making the tick marks so I don't have to worry about paint or ink eventually rubbing off. After a few hundred cuts, loosen the screws, turn each wheel slightly, and then re tighten the screws. After several of these adjustments, the tick marks have gone full circle indicating that it's time to replace the tool (or just the wheels, if you prefer).
Don't be surprised if the wheels rotate by themselves. Fused Glass Art No matter how hard I crank down on those screws, it apparently isn't tight enough because the wheels slowly rotate by themselves from the pressure exerted during the cutting action. After several days and many cuts, I notice the tick marks are no longer aligned directly opposite each other, which indicates the wheels have rotated slightly. Maybe I'm a weakling, but I just can't get the screws tight enough to keep them static. However, that's okay with me because, if they turn by themselves, then I don't have to manually do it.

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