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I am a poor graduate student who is wishing to make a container out of borosilicate. I need pretty tight control over the final shape. Is it possible to work a piece of glass to a specific spec by hand?

I want to make a perfect hollow cylinder that will serve as a tank wall, for starters. I have access to a craft center through my school and willingness to learn. I was going to sign up for a class but if this is a pipe dream I will find another means.

UPDATE

I found a website that has some of the techniques I wish to employ see the following link. I am still wondering how well one can control some of the dimensions. I would be shooting for pretty uniform cross sections. Also they all start with the glass in a tube-like geometry already. How do you even make that from scratch?

  • Does your craft center offer glass blowing classes or have the facilities for this? Otherwise you may need to find a local glassblowing shop. – Catija Feb 28 '17 at 23:21
  • @Catija They do offer a class on Borosilicate Flameworking, but I wanted to know if I can make stuff to specific measurements with this technique or do I need machine. – TheCodeNovice Mar 1 '17 at 2:29
  • ... Not quite sure what you mean in your update... Borosilicate used for glass blowing comes in tubes... from the manufacturer. waleapparatus.com/product-category/glass/… – Catija Mar 3 '17 at 22:43
  • @Catija I will need different diameters and also they are pretty expensive. If I can start with cheaper stock and make my own that could be beneficial. – TheCodeNovice Mar 5 '17 at 0:30
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Borosilicate also goes by the brand name Pyrex. If you perform a search for "borosilicate glass cylinder" you will find some sources of various sizes of tubing.

If you have access to a sufficient powerful heat source, you can heat the tubing and force it to close.

A quick bit of research shows the working temperature to be 1245°C, attainable by MAPP gas torches at the consumer level. If you know someone who does gas welding, oxy-acetylene torches will reach the necessary temperatures at a lower cost overall.

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    I am starting with just a cylinder, but I will need a more complex shapes going forward. You didn't answer my question about working the glass to a specific spec by hand. Thanks. – TheCodeNovice Mar 1 '17 at 2:25
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    I agree. This question seems to be about obtaining a specific shape, not about whether borosilicate glass can be shaped in general. – Catija Mar 1 '17 at 2:56
  • One would wonder if the question is associated with the skills of the posting party. Can you make stuff to specific measurements? If one of the measurements is outside diameter, you have to have the ability to measure the outside diameter with an appropriate tool. What dimensions will you need to measure? – fred_dot_u Mar 1 '17 at 11:02
  • @fred_dot_u Initially i want to make glass tubes, therefore my dimensions of interest would be inner/outer diameter and length. I am asking if a person who is working glass can check these parameters while the glass is still malleable or do I wait until the piece has cooled to check and see if I need to start over. This all revolves around being able to make something out of glass by hand to specified dimensions. – TheCodeNovice Mar 2 '17 at 17:26
  • That's a very good clarification. I've been lucky enough to watch artisans working glass. In most of the cases, it's somewhat a production activity. As such, the tools are tailored to provide measurement as well as shaping. For example, a truncated cone on the end of a long steel handle is used to open the cylinder to the desired inner diameter and additionally to push into the depth of the cylinder. As an extension, a cylindrical tool would be used to force an outer diameter as well, although it is expected to start with nearly correct wall thickness. – fred_dot_u Mar 2 '17 at 23:32

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