How To Remove Tungsten Dust From Glass

This is a great DIY project that will help you turn your glass into an incredible, vibrant piece of art.

How to remove tungsten dust from glass – what are we talking about? Well, it’s probably the most common household glass dust you’ve likely ever seen, and we’ve all encountered it ourselves. Tungsten is not a new material with new uses or tricks to discover, it’s just an ordinary material as you and I know it.

Tungsten dust is a form of tungsten that is formed when nickel or cobalt is treated to make it malleable under high temperatures. The process is commonly referred to as the “sintering” or “sintering out” of metals, but the process actually starts at the point where nickel or cobalt is molten, when it forms as a solid blob like a liquid and is brought to a boil. The molten metal cools to a solid at this point, then once cooled to the level of tungsten’s melting point, it becomes a bit of a sticky blob with a metallic luster and some color as described below. When you are removing tungsten dust through sanding, cleaning, polishing etc., most people simply remove it with water.  The problem with this method of removing tungsten dust is that once wet, it does not go away like most other glass dust. 

We’re not here to say you can’t use water to remove tungsten dust from water glass! Water is actually one of the most popular solutions to remove glass dust. The problem is when applying water to glass will often create a chemical imbalance in the water, that can lead to chemical pollution such as chlorine. If this imbalance does not go away, you can get chemical pollution while removing tungsten from glass. So the best method to remove tungsten from glass is sand. But where do you get sand? How much sand and how many different sand types are there? This article attempts to answer some of those questions as well as the ones above.

We will first examine the most common types of sand that are used to remove tungsten dust from glass.

Sand Basics:

There are a number of different types of sand to use on glass, but each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages that we will discuss below:

Sand Types and Uses  

Irons:   These are sanded by pressing a small drum filled with iron oxide to the surface using fine steel file and sanding wheel sandpapers. These are extremely effective at removing tungsten from glass. The downside? They are usually pretty expensive.  Diamonds:   These are used specifically to remove tungsten dust to a level low enough for the water to be sufficient. Diamonds are a combination of both fine steel and fine quartz sand and the two are pressed together. They can be sanded using the same coarse file as used for sanding irons. The disadvantage to diamonds over irons is that the polish on diamond grit is different than what is on irons and these two grits are not effective at removing tungsten. You can find this grit at most hardware stores.  Sandpaper:   This is very similar to diamond grit in both it’s grit characteristics as well as cost. It is a fairly standard coarse sandpaper, usually sanded fine enough to hold its grit structure when sanded into a very fine pattern. The disadvantage is that sandpaper is usually very expensive, often costing about $3 per 1/8″ or 0.5mm.