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I’m trying to make refrigerator magnets, and step one seems to be laying my hands on smooth edged glass tiles.

I’ve searched for various sources without success for a bit, finding nothing much larger than 1” or 30 mm squares.for the most part, along with a few 24 x 48 mm options.

I’ve actually considered having them made, but it seems to be a cumbersome process.

I absolutely don’t want to cut to size and grind due to health implications.

My initial, but erroneous, idea was that I could simply cut them to size, and then torch smooth the edges, but that seems to be a non-starter, as I’m told that they would shatter immediately.

I know a glass blower who seems to have some idea of how to attain this but is seems cumbersome and expensive, involving only one or two layers maximum in a kiln, where they would be taken up to a temperature that we’d arrive at by experimentation, which would soften/round the edges and then the pieces allowed to cool.

From what I understand, there is an issue, although a manageable one, in that the ¼” glass that I could access would be a “float” glass that is formed on molten tin.

Ideally, I’d like to put my hands on these by the hundred. with various sizes and ratios, 2” squares, approximately 1 ½ by 3” rectangles, and some in a 4 x 5 ratio.

If anyone could point me towards a source, or suggest how these could be manufactured affordably, I’d be very appreciative.

Thank you.

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    Why do you want to use GLASS of all possible materials for fridge magnets? All it needs is one person bumping into the fridge, knocking off a magnet and spreading glass shards all over the kitchen floor. Why don't you use plastic, acryllic sheets, epoxy or any other of the countless safer alternatives? – Elmy Jan 27 at 7:17
  • Hi Elmy,I might, of necessity, end up having to go with acrylis sheets. I have access to a laser cutter, and this would make things a lot easier. – KnowledgeSeeker Jan 28 at 1:31
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    However, , there are a couple of reasons I'd rather not go with acrylic. Environmental issues is one, although not the only, or even paramount one. I just think in terms of aesthetics, glass is the better option. My ideal, in things I'd like to make, asks the following question: ""If that were sitting on a shelf in a second hand store fifty years from now,, would someone want it?" I believe the answer is much more likely to be yes with glass. – KnowledgeSeeker Jan 28 at 5:38
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I agree with Elmy's comment about glass being a bad choice for this application. But if you are intent on using it, here are some ideas.

  • Microscope slides are roughly the width you want and can be cut to length. A skilled glass cutter (say someone who makes windows or works with stained or leaded glass), can quickly cut strips and pieces from a sheet.
  • Glass corners and edges can be ground smooth by doing it under water. You can even cut glass microscope slides to length with a scissors this way; snip them submerged in a basin of water.
  • You can melt glass in a microwave kiln. Microwave kilns are relatively inexpensive to buy or even make yourself, and can melt glass and metals in a home microwave oven. Melted glass jewelry is commonly made in these.
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  • I think your microwave kiln idea is sound. I've researched that product for other purposes and it's amazing what a low-priced device can produce. Grinding glass smooth in a safe manner is easily accomplished with today's diamond honing tools, followed by wet sanding with fine grade paper and Micro-mesh™ products. Doing so under water is a good suggestion. – fred_dot_u Jan 27 at 20:27
  • Thank you for the input. I think that the time and labor of grinding a hundred tiles at a shot into the completely rounded sides (as opposed to just taking the extra sharp edges off, would be very labor intensive, considering that I want to do about a hundred at a shot. I'd be glad to find out otherwise though. – KnowledgeSeeker Jan 28 at 1:47
  • I actually have come across microwave kilns in my learning process. The issues I see there are: 1) Learning curve. Not a deal breaker, as I expect to have to pay dues like these in anything I do. 2) the capacity of said kiln. If I could only do a few pieces at a time, it wouldn't fit into a production schedule, although it might allow me to dip my tow in while deciding whether I wanted to upgrade., but mostly 3) From what I understand it's not just a matter of finding and hitting that sweet spot where the edges and only the edges melt. – KnowledgeSeeker Jan 28 at 5:48
  • After that, will be necessary to hold and gradually lower the temperature over several hours in order to leave the piece free of internal stresses, which are very likely to lead to easy, or even spontaneous shattering. – KnowledgeSeeker Jan 28 at 5:48

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