Kaleidoscope Glass Cutting Table

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Project by drobertson posted 10-12-2015 02:35 AM 3358 views 5 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a project for a friend who makes Kaleidoscopes.

One of his biggest challenges is making clean cuts on the very expensive first surface mirrors used in his scopes. After a little brainstorming we came up with this design for a cutting table that will hopefully simplify his process a bit.

The table surface is a piece of corian we got cheap from a counter top guy we met. It was the leftover piece from a sink placement. This gave us an extremely hard and flat surface to work with. It also glues great using 2 part epoxy.

The corian was mounted on a bit of 3/4 ply and trued up on all sides. A cutoff strip from the corian was epoxied to the base as a stop/base for the glass being cut.

Dadoes were cut down each side and t-slots were added as a way to lock down the cutting guide. I highly recommend Orange Aluminum if you are looking for t-slot aluminum. They are the best price I have found and their products are great. Note – that was in no way a paid endorsement, I just like them.

I have been doing a lot of jigs with t-slots lately and sorted out what seems to be a good way of mounting them. T-slots work best when their top surface is exactly level with the jig it is being mounted on. Regrettably I have just never been good enough to get that exactly right with a dado blade. Instead I just cut a dado slot that is slightly deeper than the t-slot. Tape goes on each end of the slot and I pour enough 2 part epoxy into the slot to fill the bottom and go a bit higher than where I expect the t-slot to sit.

I mount stop blocks on the top of the t-slot with a bit of wax paper under them. This t-slot assembly is then pushed down into the epoxy. The epoxy pushes up the sides a bit, but it mostly comes up through the screw holes in the bottom of the aluminum and settles into the deep base of the t-slot. The stop blocks that are mounted on the t-slot ride right on top of the jig surface, perfectly aligning the aluminum.

The epoxy holds this setup amazingly well. I tested a small section of t-slot glued with epoxy to a bit of scrap wood. After mounting it in a vice I wedged a iron rod in it and attempted to pry it off in a little test to destruction. The rod ended up bending and the aluminum strips on the top broke away, but the epoxy never failed. i consider that a success.

The new table has a cutting guide made of some scrap Sapele I had around. There is a measuring tape on both sides that is offset to accommodate the cutting tool width. The idea is to make it easy to adjust for different size cuts.

On the back there is a breaker bar made of Sapele and some piano hinges. The two parts of the breaker bar are cut at a small angle, allowing the breaker bar to push the glass down and snap it along the score line.

A bit of scrap walnut went on as trim and all the wood was given a light coat of poly. The result is what we have in the pictures.

We did some tests today and it worked like a charm. It was easy to set up and we cut two sheets of mirrors down to size without a single chip or flare in the glass. Overall we are pretty happy with the results.

I do have some ideas for improvements, but for now it is a working cutting table.

5 comments so far

View David Taylor's profile

David Taylor

326 posts in 2545 days

#1 posted 10-12-2015 03:48 AM

That looks really useful. I do stained glass every once in a while and this looks like it would be helpful with that hobby, too.

-- Learn Relentlessly

View oldnovice's profile


7791 posts in 4826 days

#2 posted 10-12-2015 05:22 AM

Never seen one of these before!
But I can understand it’s use, specially on first surface mirrors as I used to work with high precision plane optics used in laser interferometry.

I was surprised that you used Corian as that is mineral filled as opposed to something like “Paperstone”: which has no mineral contact as it is also a countertop material, is a little lighter, and cuts much better than Corian.

If you ever have need for some “different” type of material for another project you can get samples and large panel pricing from Green Counter Tops Direct!

I ordered some left over cutoffs, without any cutting on their part, and used it for a number of projects that I cannot post on LJ.

I have also bought T track extrusions and extruded edging for Plexiglas, mirrors, and thin plywood from them.

Just wondering, can the design of this table be copied?

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View drobertson's profile


57 posts in 4575 days

#3 posted 10-12-2015 06:05 AM

The corian isn’t a problem with the mirrors. While we are working on them they have a protective film on the side that touches the corian. The material is also very easy to work with as far as cutting, epoxying and is readily available cheaply. This piece cost us a few bucks from the counter installation guy. Normally he would just throw it away.

I have never heard of paperstone before. Let me check it out and see how it would work. If you have any suggestions for getting samples I would be interested in playing with new materials.

Mostly I am just working with wood, but I am always interested in trying out something new.

I would be happy to have anyone who wanted to make the table for personal use copy the design. If someone wants to make it please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to share any tips and ideas I learned from version 1.

If someone wanted to use the design for commercial purposes I would like to be part of the process. I certainly do not want to see it stolen and show up in one of those 10,000 woodworking plans scams I see everywhere. That just feels completely disrespectful to me.

View oldnovice's profile


7791 posts in 4826 days

#4 posted 10-12-2015 04:05 PM

drobertson, the second link in my post is the place to get samples and scraps. I don’t remember how big the samples were and if you request scraps there is a charge.

I called them to get a piece of black material large enough for the roll away cabinet I was building and I asked for a minimum size without any cutting performed by them as they charge for cutting. I got a piece big enough and some leftover material.

It cuts beautifully and routs easily too with cabide tools. It can be finished to gloss or satin by different methods listed in their brochures and o the site. Thus material is recycled paper in a binder so there is no grit as with Corian and other man made materials.

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View drobertson's profile


57 posts in 4575 days

#5 posted 02-08-2016 04:43 PM

I just finished a second one of these for a friend. Sometimes it is the most random stuff that gets interest.

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