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How To Drill Glass, Stone, And Ceramic with Gunther Diamond Tools

Drilling holes in glass, stone, or ceramic materials is a challenging feat. However, you can tackle the job effectively with the right tools from Gunther Diamond Tools.

This guide teaches you how to drill like a professional and explains the advantages of using Gunther Drilling System. 

The Gunther Advantage 

Gunther Diamond Tools has perfected the Diamond Abrasive Core Drill Bit. With over 40 years of experience, we have drilled almost every type of stone, glass, and ceramic available. So, we know what works and what doesn't. 

You can find numerous online sources that talk about drilling glass, stone, and ceramic. While a few methods may work, most won't give you the consistent and precise results you're looking for. Our system is purpose-built for this job. We don't use tools to perform tasks beyond their original intentions. 

We offer a professional solution that has proven itself throughout shops and factories worldwide. These instructions are specific to the Gunther Drilling System. 

Considerations for These Unique Materials 

Glass, stone, and ceramic are unique materials to drill and are very different from drilling wood, metal, or plastic. These materials are not only hard but also brittle. While they resist scratching and indentation, they can easily break or fracture without warning, unlike malleable materials such as wood, metal, or plastic.

For this reason, abrasive drill bits are a superior choice over standard fluted drill bits. They use many small cutting edges to remove material, rather than a few large blades. This ensures a clean hole every time

Check out Abrasive vs. Fluted drill bits: What's the difference?

When drilling glass, stone, and ceramic, you must manage heat, breakage, and blowout for precise and consistent results. 

Gunther has three unique systems designed to address these challenges.

Sintered Diamond Core Drill Bits 

Our diamond drill bits are sintered, which means diamonds are fused within the metal structure of the bit itself. In contrast, electroplated drill bits have a thin layer of diamonds coated onto the metal surface. If you refer to the image, you'll see that once this thin diamond layer wears off from an electroplated bit, the bare metal underneath is revealed, rendering it ineffective for cutting. However, our sintered bits gradually wear down, consistently cutting until the embedded diamonds are fully used. Consequently, you can drill hundreds of holes with each of our sintered bits.

All our drill bits are designed hollow like a straw. The cutting action comes from the thin wall of the straw-like drill bit. This slender cutting design minimizes friction and heat. 


The Gunther Water Feed System directs water flow to the hole being drilled using the core drill bits. This water flow helps to control temperature and remove the cut material from the hole.

Water Feed System

Water is the key to drilling glass, stone, and ceramic. It manages temperature, removes debris, and controls the hazardous dust generated when drilling these materials.

The Gunther Water Feed System provides a continuous flow of pressurized water through the drill bit into the hole. This water pressure cleans out the debris, keeping the drilling surface clean and preventing overheating of the drill bit and material.


You can't get the same results with a water drip or submerging everything in a cup of water. The material that remains in the hole when cut turns into a thick slurry. This slurry can block the drill bit and cause more heat and resistance.  

Gunther Alignment System

When you drill a stone, the other side will have a big chip where the drill bit went through. This chipping, which people commonly call blowout, can be very frustrating. 

To avoid a blowout, drill from both sides and meet in the middle. The blowout still occurs but happens in the middle of the stone where you can't see it. However, when drilling from both sides, the challenge is meeting in the middle so your hole is straight. If you don't connect the two holes in the middle, you can ruin your piece. 

Gunther solves this blowout challenge with the Gunther Alignment System. A magnetic base holds a pin (aka the counterpart) with the same diameter as the drill bit. Before you start drilling, ensure that the counterpart and drill bit are aligned and flush with each other. You can check this by running your finger across the point where they meet. Now you are aligned and ready to drill both sides. 

Here's how it works

  1. First, drill your starter hole halfway through the stone.
  2. Then flip the stone and put the starter hole on the counterpart post.
  3. Now drill the backside of the stone.
  4. Because you aligned them before you started, you will always meet precisely in the middle. 


Start Drilling

Safety First

Safety should always be the top priority, regardless of the material you're working with. 

  • Remember to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes. 
  • Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling dust particles.
  • Also, wear a mask or respirator.
  • Make sure your drill press is on a stable surface with good lighting.
  • Ensure that your water catchment keeps any water away from the drill electrical system, including the transformer box on some models.

Step By Step Instructions

The general steps to drill glass, stone, or ceramic are mostly the same, but subtle differences are discussed in the later sections.

  1. Prepare Your Work Area: Ensure your work area is clean, well-lit, and free from distractions.
  2. Layout all your stone, glass, or ceramic pieces into rows: Remove any packaging, dirt, or loose debris from each piece.
  3. Mark Your Drilling Point: Always mark the area you wish to drill with a Sharpie marker. Mark both sides of the piece: where you want the hole to enter; and exit the stone. These marks will act as your guide for the Gunther Alignment System. Mark all the pieces at once to minimize handling time.
  4. Attach the Drill Bit: All Gunther drill bits come in two parts: 1) the drill bit end and 2) the ejector needle. Make sure the needle is in the drill bit, then put them in the spindle of the Gunther Drilling System.
    • Hand-tighten the drill bit. Use small pliers to make a very slight turn, but Be Careful! Over-tightening can strip the brass threading. 
  5. Attach and Align the Counter Part: Select a counterpart with the same diameter as the drill bit you are using. Ensure that you install the metal insert in the magnetic base. Put the counterpart into the metal insert and use pliers to tighten it, being careful not to damage the brass threading.
    • Tap the magnetic base into alignment under the drill bit using a plastic or leather mallet. Align the drill bit with the counterpart, then run your fingers along the junctions to ensure proper alignment.
    • If they are flush, you will not feel an edge hanging over them. If you feel a lip or edge, continue tapping into position with the mallet until aligned. 
    1. Turn on your water supply: The Gunther Water Feed system can source water from a spigot or pressurized water tank. Regardless of your system water source, turn it on before you turn on the drill press. This step cools and lubricates with water, and lets you check for leaks and adjust water pressure to a manageable level.
      • If you have a Gunther TBH Pro 3 system, make sure to adjust the water pipe correctly before using it. See Section 6 of these instructions
      • Check out: TBH Pro 3 system Instructions for more information
      1. To start the Drill Press, switch it on and make sure the drill bit is rotating smoothly. Check for any wobbling or sideways motion. At this point, your drill press should be spinning with water coming through the center of the drill bit.
        • If you have a Gunther TBH Pro III or Gunther Hobby System, follow the power steps in your system instructions. See those instructions here:
            • TBH Pro III Powering Instructions
            • Hobby System Powering Instructions
          1.  Dress the Drill Bit: All Gunther Drilling Systems come with a white rectangular block (approx. 2" L X 1" W X 0.25" H). This block is an aluminum oxide dressing stone that is used to sharpen and dress the drill bit. To use, simply drill halfway through the block with your drill bit.
            • You only need to plunge the cutting edge of the drill bit into the block. This will sharpen the drill bits and prepare it for drilling into your piece.
          2. Start Drilling with the Gunther System: 
            • Hold the first stone you plan to drill with your left hand.
            • Place one of your Sharpie marks on the counterpart and align the opposite mark with the drill bit.
            • Hold the piece firmly with your left hand and lower the drill bit with your right. When the drill bit first touches the piece, it will want to move around, so hold firmly and continue to press through. Once the drill bit bites into the piece, it will feel much more stable.
            • Continue to drill slowly into the piece with a peck drilling motion. Remember that it is a pressure into light presser instead of an up-down motion. You will know that you have released enough pressure when a boil of water comes out of the hole. Once you see the boil of water then add pressure to the drilling lever again.
            • Here is a detailed description of Peck Drilling Technique
          3. Drill halfway into stone, then stop and take out the drill bit. You have now created the Starter Hole.  
          4. Turn the piece over and place the starter hole on the counterpart. The starter hole will fit perfectly on the counterpart post because they have the same diameter.
            • Now align the opposite Sharpie mark to the drill bit and start drilling from the opposite side. Because you aligned the drill bit and counterpart before drilling, you can be confident that the second hole will meet with the starter hole perfectly in the middle.
            • Watch the drill stop to know when you are about to punch through. When the drill stop reaches zero, the drill bit will touch the counterpart, and the hole will be finished. Click here for more information on How To Use The Drill Stop
          5.  Push the piece up onto the drill bit to smooth out the hole.
          6. Clean Up:  After drilling all the holes and you are finished with the session, turn off your drill press and water supply.
            • Remove the drill bit and ejector needle so the machine can dry out.
            • Rinse debris off your drill press and empty the water from your catchment pan.  
            • Wash off your drill press and tools and dry them with a towel. 

            Tips and Tricks for Stone, Glass, or Ceramic

            Drilling stone, glass, or ceramic requires similar instructions. However, specific techniques can make drilling each material easier. 

            How to Drill Stone

            • Stone tends to break along cleaves and fractures that may be hard to see. If possible, avoid drilling along a crack. 
            • Gunther Systems prefer to drill holes in stone that is harder on the mohs scale. Soft stones like chalky turquoise or soapstone tend to form a muddy slurry that can pack around the ejector needle. When drilling softer rock types, increase your water pressure and use a shorter, faster peck drilling rate. 
            • Drilling holes in quartz crystals is very easy with any Gunther System, but it is important to keep the crystal level. The drill bit can become damaged if the crystal moves up or down from level.
            • All three Gunther Systems are excellent at drilling holes in gemstones for jewelry. Use the Gunther Alignment system when drilling a finished gemstone to drill from both side and avoid blowout.
            • If the water stops coming out of your drill bit, stop drilling and address the clog. 
              • The TBH Pro 3 System can be cleared using the manual ejection process on the quill lever.
              • To clear the clog from The Hobby and Multidrill Water Swivel Adapter Kit, tap the ejector needle while holding the drill bit. This will push out the drill bit and clear the clog.
              • Keep trying until you clear the clog. 
              • Do not keep drilling without water flow.
              • Check out this article on How To Clear A Clogged Drill Bit
              • Call if you need help (520)314-9809
            • Clean your machine off at the end of your drilling session. Some stone types create a mildly caustic slurry that can damage the foot of your drill press. It's best to rinse this off before storage. 
            • A core bit lets you drill a big hole without starting small and making it bigger gradually. However, the stone core that forms can prove quite sturdy and might cause binding if the stone shifts. This binding could break a drill with a hard stone. Consider first starting with a small diameter and then drilling the final larger diameter hard rocks.   

            How to Drill Glass 

            • Glass drills very well with a Gunther System, but if it breaks or chips, the broken pieces will have sharp edges. Wearing a leather or cut-resistant glove on your left hand (the hand holding the glass piece) is a good idea. Eye protection is a must.
            • When applying pressure to the drilling (quill) lever, use a soft touch. Using too much pressure from the drill can crack the glass. Instead, let the diamond abrasive do the drilling. This will prevent you from relying solely on the strength of your hand.
            • If you are drilling a hole in a glass bottle, you cannot use the counterpart and cannot drill from the backside. A chip (aka blowout) will happen inside the bottle. Use extremely light pressure on the quill lever just before and when you punch through to minimize the blowout. 
            • When drilling sea glass, look out for hidden cracks or fractures. Frequently, sea glass becomes opaque due to weathering, concealing any fractures. Drilling through a crack can break the piece and create sharp pieces.
            • Avoid drilling into tempered glass. While the Gunther System can drill through it, the final piece would be very unstable and weakened by the hole.

            How to Drill Ceramic and Porcelain

            • When drilling ceramic, follow the same steps as for glass and stone. 
            • Glazed ceramics and porcelain can be slippery. For example, when drilling porcelain tile the drill bit may try and walk and scratch surface. Use Gunther Grinding Tool or diamond burr to mark spot before drilling to prevent drill bit from moving.
            • Some ceramics and porcelain can be very soft beneath the glaze. Use a light touch, similar to glass when drilling through ceramic tile. Also, use the Gunther Alignment System to avoid blowout on the backside of the tile. 
            • Some industrial ceramics are very hard. With these types, increase your water pressure and take your time. You can apply more force to the quill handle, but don't be excessive. The added force can break your drill bit, especially very small diameters like a 1.0mm drill bit. 
            • Use the Multidrill Water Swivel Adapter Kit in a hand drill to drill holes in a ceramic tiled wall. 
            • When drilling a hole in a ceramic pot you may not be able to use the Gunther Alignment System. This may result in blowout on the opposite side of the hole you're drilling.
            • Try to slow down, just before you punch through the other side to minimize the blowout.
            • If you are making a drainage hole, turn the pot upside down and drill into the pot. The blowout will occur inside the pot and will be hidden under the soil and plant.


            Gunther Diamond Tools Drilling Systems makes drilling glass, stone, or ceramic easier and more efficient. These high-quality German made tools ensure you can tackle any project confidently and achieve professional results. 

            We offer three different Gunther Drilling systems for different situations and pirce ranges. Check out: "How To Choose: What Drilling System Is Best For You?" to learn more about each system.