I have a small electronic detector (the enclosure is 80mm x 110mm externally, rectangular with rounded corners) which I need to fit into a narrow, single-pane, fixed window next to a rear door. If at all possible, I'd like to achieve this without having to remove the pane from the frame.

How should I best go about this?

  • are you asking hot to cut a hole in glass? how big of a hole? is imperitive that it go through glass or can it pass through frame of the window or wall?
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 8:08
  • 5
    First determine if the glass is tempered glass or regular glass. If it is tempered, then you cannot cut a hole in it of any size. If you penetrate the glass, the whole pane will fracture. If I understand your question, you want a roughly rectangular hole 80 x 110 mm. I don't think you will be able to do this even in soda glass. You might be able to drill a 1/4" or 3/8" hole, but that is about it. You'd mount the box on the outside and run wires through the hole. Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 12:09
  • @JimStewart This looks to me like a winning question Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 14:00
  • See below. I guess one can cut a large circular hole in a glass pane. diy.stackexchange.com/questions/74019/… Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 15:09
  • 1
    Does the "electronic detector" happen to work through glass, thus avoiding the need for a hole? Or perhaps converting the small window to a leadlight would match... something else. Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


Assuming not tempered, this is relatively easy, if tedious. If tempered, you'll have to replace the pane, as it will shatter as soon as you try to drill a starting hole. Would be easier out of the frame, though (or you could simply have a glass shop do for very easy, but probably more cost).

Diamonds are not needed to cut glass.

Drill a hole large enough to feed a carbide rod saw through. With care you can use one without a hacksaw frame, and you'd pretty much have to do that if not removing the glass from the frame. You can cut a lot faster if it's held in a hacksaw frame. Pull, rather than push when cutting, and be aware that a rod saw will cut in any direction, which is good for making your rounded corners, but requires attention when cutting straight lines. Used without a hacksaw frame you will also need to be careful not to bend it too much.

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I have done this a few times on custom fish tank covers to make cutouts for filters.


If you have a hardware store that stocks the vermont sales stock ask them for a diamond tipped hole saw for glass. The center hole should be drilled using a glass drill bit.

  1. Buy an diamond tipped hole saw
  2. Determine the center hole size using vernier calipers measuring the widest piece on the center drill (normally the front tip)
  3. Buy the appropriate glass drill bit

Drill very very slowly to avoid heat buildup.

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