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How to CNC machine patterns for ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles with a custom designed relief

A brand-new niche market has been found and developed by the Dutch startup company MaatWerkTegels (MWT). The name of this company can be translated as TailorMadeTiles, which exactly describes their business.

One of the products is a flat tile with (any) color print below the glaze, other products include a tile with (any) 3D shape. And this shape is of course where DeskProto comes in.

The design in CAD
Tile in CAM
Wall with tiles, rendered in CAD, and the STL file geometry in DeskProto.

Dutch designer Ben Oostrum has created a 3D tile shape that looks amazingly simple: three half dots and one stripe bulge out of the tile surface. The power of this design is that it can be combined into many different patterns: using just one tile an unlimited number of wall designs can be created. The new tile design is called PWS.

The machined model
The machined model and the resulting tile.

The tile geometry has been defined in 3D CAD, and exported to DeskProto as STL file. Using DeskProto a model of the tile has been machined, which is used as a pattern to create the tile mold. In the mold the clay tiles are produced, to be baked and glazed afterwards.

Note that a very large difference in size exists between the model and the resulting tile: for ceramics product shrink can be more than 5 % during baking. Shrink in many cases even is different per axis. DeskProto can easily cope with this by applying different scaling factors per axis.

A tiled wall.
A tiled wall, detail.
A tiled wall, showing the new product on a design exhibition.

This is just one example tile design: the business of MaatWerkTegels is that you can ask them to produce any tile, custom made using your own design ideas.