Commercial and Residential Glass Installer and Manufacturer Resource

A Commercial Glass Company’s Guide to Tolerances

Jul 28, 2020 4:14:15 PM / by Greg Martell

Commercial glass tolerances

Details matter when fabricating a piece of commercial glass. 

Though tolerances are among the smallest elements of glass fabrication, they can have the biggest impact on the quality of a finished piece.  

Without discussing glass fabrication tolerances -- especially during the quoting stage of a project -- you risk receiving a glass piece that doesn't meet your specifications, as well as wasted time and effort, and increased costs

Use this guide to understand how effectively communicate your project’s glass tolerances to a commercial glass company. 

What Are Tolerances in Commercial Glass Manufacturing?

Tolerances are the minimum and maximum variations from a piece’s original measurements before it becomes unusable. In other words, tolerances are the wiggle room a glass piece has so that it can still fit and function as intended. 

As there’s rarely a 100% perfect pane of glass, commercial glass manufacturers often need to make slight adjustments to a piece to remove imperfections. 

For instance, a pane may have a surface blemish or chip along its edge. Working within tolerances, a glass fabricator can remove the small defect with additional cutting or grinding and not jeopardize the piece’s ability to fit where it needs to.

What to Tell a Commercial Glass Manufacturer About Your Project’s Tolerances  

When partnering with a commercial glass manufacturer for standard glass fabrication, there are several pieces of information you should always provide:

  • Dimensions: Length, width, and thickness.
  • Edgework: Thickness, piece size, width-to-height ratio.
  • Holes and notches: Hole or notch location, placement tolerances based on width of glass, radius, diameter, chip tolerance.
  • Tempering: Thickness, size, diagonal dimension, bow and warp allowances.

It’s important to remember that different commercial glass manufacturers have different tolerance capabilities. At New Angle Beveling, we are always striving to produce exactly what the customers want and we keep tolerances to a minimum. Our tolerance capabilities are: 

Dimensional Tolerance

+

-

1/4" 

1/32"

1/16"

3/8"

1/32"

5/23"

1/2"

1/32"

5/23

3/4"

1/8"

1/4"

 

Tolerance Information for Specialty Custom Fabricated Glass

Intricately shaped pieces, such patterned and shaped glass, may have tight or non-existent tolerances. This information is critical to discuss with a glass manufacturer during the quoting process. Creating glass pieces with little room for size deviation requires additional planning and labor, impacting final production costs. 


Quality Renderings = Tolerance Accuracy 

Renderings can be a glass manufacturer’s best friend in both quoting and completing a project. 

When drawings are required to highlight specific fabrication details, submit clear and detailed sketches, complete with all required tolerance information. This is especially critical when projects have tight or no tolerances. 

Every drawing submitted should be labeled to ensure the finished piece you receive is the same as the one you intended to order.

For bigger custom glass pieces or those requiring a template, it’s best to provide a digital rendering, though traditional renderings are acceptable. 

Large patterns submitted on taped-together paper leave room for error -- if a piece comes off or moves slightly, a glass manufacturer will likely struggle to put it back together exactly as before.

When it is time to finalize an order, submit the most recent version of your project’s rendering. That ensures a glass manufacturer is working with the most up-to-date information. 

Communicating Glass Tolerances From the Beginning

To get glass tolerances right the first time for your project, communication with your glass manufacturer is key. 

The best time to discuss tolerances is during the quoting process. Without the necessary tolerance information up front, a glass beveling company may not be able to provide you with an accurate quote or finished piece. 


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Written by Greg Martell