Commercial and Residential Glass Installer and Manufacturer Resource

Glass Fabrication Capabilities Your Glass Vendor Should Have

May 14, 2024 11:03:00 AM / by Greg Martell

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Glass is one of the most widely used materials in architectural design and décor. 

Versatile, commercial glass fits many applications and serves many purposes. Whether it’s enhancing privacy and security to updating or creating an aesthetic, there’s plenty commercial glass can do. Speaking of plenty to do… 

Regardless of application, glass often represents a major investment in any project. To preserve the integrity of your or your client’s design vision and of the product itself, it’s imperative to work with a vendor that offers the glass fabrication capabilities to make your glass as eye-catching as it is functional. 

Whether you’re in the market for a new glass manufacturer to partner with or taking stock of the glass fabrication techniques, there are some key capabilities any vendor should simply provide.

 

5 Base-Level Glass Fabrication Capabilities Your Vendor Should Offer, No Question

No one wants to have to order a glass piece that has several stops before it gets to you -- that wastes time and costs money. Here are five capabilities to look for when vetting a glass fabricator: 

  1. Working small
  2. Advanced mitering/edging
  3. Water jet capabilities 
  4. V-grooving
  5. CNC grinding 

 1. Working Small

How small can your glass vendor work? Some of the best glass manufacturers can work on pieces of glass just a few inches in size.

These pieces are ideal for many applications -- from trophies to accents in larger glass pieces. Bigger isn’t always better (or the only option) when it comes to glass.

2. Advanced Mitering / Edging:

How advanced are the mitering and edging capabilities of your glass vendor? The best fabricators are able to complete glass cutting at any angle. This capability is especially handy when it comes to working with custom-designed pieces or those with non-geometric shapes.

Your glass vendor should be able to miter a unique piece of glass just as easily as glass in a standard 90-degree shower.

Resource: Learn more about different edgework options:

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3. Water Jet Capabilities

Water jet cutters aren’t just powerful -- they also make short work of completing precise and intricate cuts. This type of precision comes in handy for fabricating:

  • Intricate cut-outs
  • Custom designs 
  • Desktops
  • Glass walls
  • Mirrors
  • Switchplates
  • Windows 

4. V-Grooving

V-Grooving can completely transform the look and feel of a space by creating pieces of glass that are so detailed, beautiful, and functional that they almost seem like art.

Similar to routing a piece of wood, v-grooving cuts v-shaped lines into the surface of a glass pane to create detailed patterns. Rather than making deliberate cuts along the perimeter of a glass pane, v-grooving is applied anywhere on a glass pane.

V-grooving is popular in restoration projects as this glass fabrication technique is used to create period designs.

5. CNC Grinding Capabilities

CNC grinding fixes flaws that happen during production.  

For example, a piece of tile that’s put in unevenly can make it a nightmare for installing custom shower enclosure glass. Through CNC precision glass grinding, the glass pane’s edges can be adjusted so it’s flush with the tile once put in. 

Aside from addressing production issues, CNC grinding also ensures that a glass product meets your exact specifications for shape and size.

7 Common Glass Products That Typically See Additional Fabrication

Unless you’re only ordering a glass sheet with no alterations, most commercial glass products undergo some level of fabrication. The most common products glass vendors use their skills and equipment to create include: 

  1. Saunas for commercial or residential use

  2. Walls of glass/ glass partitions with intricate patterns for commercial spaces

  3. Cut outs, transoms, and notched areas for custom showers 

  4. Custom mirror switch plates and cut outs

  5. Customized reception windows

  6. Freeform tabletops and glass inserts

  7. Custom glass railings 

When working with a commercial glass fabricator, communicating all the details of your project is key. This ensures the final piece is exactly what you need, and not something you’ll have to reorder. 

What Does Turnaround Time for Glass Fabrication Look Like?

The turnaround time for glass fabrication projects depends significantly on the manufacturer or vendor. Generally, simpler projects can be completed more quickly, while more complex designs require additional time for planning, execution, and quality checks. The specific timeline can vary based on the vendor's capabilities and current workload.

Are There Size & Thickness Limitations for Glass Fabrication Capabilities?

Size and thickness limitations for glass fabrication also depend on the specific manufacturer or vendor. Different vendors might have different machinery and technology, which can handle varying sizes and thicknesses of glass. It's essential to consult with the vendor to understand their specific capabilities and limitations.

What Quality Assurance Measures Should Your Commercial Glass Vendor Have?

Quality assurance measures in glass fabrication typically include rigorous testing and inspection procedures. However, the exact measures depend on the vendor's standards and certifications. Common practices involve strength testing, stress analyses, and compliance with industry-specific safety standards. Clients should inquire directly with their chosen vendor for detailed information on their quality assurance protocols.

 

Partnering With a Vendor That Meets All Your Glass Fabrication Expectations

While all glass projects are different, your glass vendor should meet these basic customer expectations.  

By vetting a glass vendor for fabrication capabilities, you’ll save your project from unnecessary delays, cost overages, and headaches.

Let’s Get to Work on Your Project

With years of experience and thousands of custom glass creations under our belt, our glass products and services will exceed your expectations. 

Contact us today!

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(Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and was recently updated.)

Topics: Glass, Commercial Glass, Custom Glass, Beveled Glass, Glass Shipping, Glass Restoration

Written by Greg Martell