How Best to Use HXTAL for Bonding Glass

One of our most requested products and one of the most requested Learn Videos we have is the HXTAL NYL-1 epoxy adhesive.

HXTAL is wildly popular as a glass bonding adhesive for it’s longevity, clarity, and ease of use in multiple scenarios. We already had a short Learn video on using HXTAL as a clear coat on the surface of glass, but we are constantly asked for a more comprehensive lesson on how to use HXTAL from mixing to prep to bonding with laminating glass.

We have heard, and we have complied. Our newest video in our Learn section is Using HXTAL to Laminate Glass.

Here you can watch how best to measure, mix, de-gas, and pour HXTAL for bonding your glass. We also cover how best to clean your glass and how to check that it is cleaned well enough to bond and cover the best ways to arrange your work area.

We’ll continue to add some Learn section videos to our HXTAL list in the next few weeks including how to use HXTAL to seal stones and precious materials for coldworking and general tips for best practices using HXTAL.

Hope you enjoy!

Automated Quotes and Shipping

While some of you may be aware that we have been having some issues with our shipping options recently, many of you may not have noticed the issue at all.

It has mostly revolved around the US Postal Service and some options for LTL freight shipments for larger machinery.

We have been working on solutions for the issues for the past few weeks and will have a fix in place by Saturday October 7th that will re-enable certain shipping methods with the postal service and fix issues with our LTL freight rating system.

The drawback to the fixes that will be in place is that our automated quote system will no longer fully function.

You can still submit quote requests to us through our website, but we can no longer send quotes back to you with custom shipping options through the system for you to check out online with.

Beginning Friday October 6th, when you submit a quote to us we will respond directly with a PDF copy of a quote and if you wish to purchase with this quote you will have to email or call us to agree and let us know payment methods you wish to use.

If you currently have an active quote in the system with us it will also no longer function to checkout online after Friday October 6th as it will not offer you the quoted shipping costs.

We are still working to correct the issues with our quote system, but we felt it was important to move forward with fixing our current shipping issues over waiting until we resolved the quote issues.

We hope to have quoting and shipping both back to full functionality by the beginning of next year. In the meantime, we apologize for any issues this may cause.


Belts Aren’t Just Fashion Statements

When it comes to belt use and coldworking there are a surprising number of options out there for working your glass. While it can be overwhelming and seem a bit daunting it can be rather easily broken down in various categories.

For basic grinding and removal of material from you glass pieces we will, most often, suggest sticking with silicon carbide belts.

These belts are inexpensive and do an excellent job of working surfaces on your glass. They are easy to use and can move from rough stock removal all the way to a fine surface prep for pre-polishing.

The drawback to a silicon carbide belt is in its short life and quick change in grinding surface. Silicon carbide belts start out rather aggressive, but then quickly move a a medium grinding rate and then taper off to a very fine grinding surface. The movement between these stages can go rather quickly if you’re working a larger number of pieces or larger surface areas but can be less noticable if you are working only seldomly on your belt sander. This can make it difficult sometimes to gauge what type of surface you’ll get in your glass from each use of a belt.

Plated diamond belts, on the other hand, start out with a certain grinding surface and removal rate on your glass and stay that way for the majority of the belt’s life, which can be very very long. Plated diamond belts last 10 times or more longer than a typical silicon carbide belt in the same grit, but they will also cost almost 10 times as much. While consistency on the surface of you glass is a fantastic thing to have, up front costs on plated diamond belts can be a hiderance. We recommend using plated diamond belts only if you work a lot of material on your belt sander and find that you are replacing silicon carbide belts fairly often. The diamond belt will last longer, give more consistent results and be a better return on investment. One more thing to be aware of with plated diamond belts is that they will be more aggressive on the glass in the same grit as a silicon carbide belt. An 800 grit plated diamond belt leaves a surface on the glass more comparable to a 320 or 400 grit silicon carbide belt.

So what do you do with these rougher surfaces on your glass from an 800 grit diamond or even a 600 grit silicon carbide? They are both still too rough to polish from, so what’s the next best step?

Again, if you work on seldomly on a belt sander, the next best step is to move to a cork belt. These shredded cork belts with no embedded abrasive of their own can actually give an amazingly nice pre-polish finish on your glass from a 400 or 600 grit silicon carbide belt. Just like silicon carbide belts though they will not last as long ans wear more quickly than a diamond or Trizact belt.

“Wait a minute,” you say, “What the heck is a Triact belt?”

Trizact belts are manufactured by 3M and are meant to do fine finish work on many different surfaces from metal, to ceramic, to glass. The basic structure is taking a soft abrasive like aluminum oxide and embed it into a microscopic pyramid structure on the surface of the belt. The pyramid struture allows for more abrasive to be held on the surface of the belt so the belt gives a longer, more consistent grind on the surface of the glass like a plated diamond belt, but with a much softer abrasive that breaks down faster and leaves a much finer surface on the glass. Trizact belts are perfect for pre-polish finishes after silicon carbide or plated diamond belts are are avaialble only in finer grits like 400, 700, and 1200 grit.

But what about diamond pre-polishing?

Diamonds can also be used for pre-polishing stages with belts as well. The standard resin diamond smoothing belts allow for a long term consistent grind on the glass after plated diamond belts and give a velvety clean finish on the glass that can easily be polished from. Just like resin diamond disks though, the resin diamond belts will last only a portion of the time that a plated diamond belt will.

3M also manufactures a diamond belt that is adhered to a film backing instead of electroplated. These belts are electrostatically charged while the adhesive cures so the diamonds “stand up” on the surface of the belt. Just like resin diamond belts, these electrostatic diamond belts allow the diamond to “move” on the surface of the belt while you grind allowing for a smoother, finer surface grind on the glass. These belts are excellent for working small precise surface as they go from a 120 grit all the way to a 1200 grit. While the 120 grit will not do substantial removal of glass like a 120 grit electroplated diamond belt, it will easily shape smaller items like cabachons or jewelry pieces.

The great thing about working with abrasive belts is that there is no “one” perfect routine for everyone. Each style belt can be mixed and matched. You can use a 70 grit diamond belt for your rough grind, move to a 120 and 220 grit silicon carbide belt for your cleanup and then move to a 400 and 700 grit Trizact belt for your pre-polish step.

You can pick and choose from all different styles to fit the process that work best for your glass. Just knowing what each belt style will accomplish for you goes a long way towards choosing a routine that works best for you.

As always, we are available for any and all questions on your process.