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Thread: Would like to create an inlay grid in MDF for my mini mosaic tiles (How to?)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Pacific NW
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    Default Would like to create an inlay grid in MDF for my mini mosaic tiles (How to?)

    Hello, I have a mini mosaic I've been working on using 3/8 (10mm) square tiles. The 'picture' (my interpretation of the Fibonacci spiral) comprises 5,487 tiles (59x93) which is ~ 24" x 36". The tiles are ~ 1/8" deep.

    I thought it would be great if I could use the CNC to machine in the little pockets in 1/2" thick MDF, in effect making a custom 'backer board' I would 'seal' the MDF with a diluted Weldbond wash, and then glue in the tiles with Weldbond as time permits. This is for indoors only.

    Is there an efficient way to design a grid like this in Aspire, rather than drawing in all the individual lines or squares? I'm thinking a 1st round of roughing in the squares (1/8" bit) and then using a V-carve bit to finish the square outlines, since the tiles have a nice (45 degrees?) slanted angle. Or could I just use the V-carve bit for the whole operation since the squares are so small? The pockets would likely be just 1/32" deep, enough to hold the tiles in place.

    I may have to do two boards, like two of 13" x 37", depending on the spacing between tiles (I may or may not grout afterwards).

    Thank you for any comments on how to design the file.
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    Last edited by carolinasmith; 02-14-2017 at 12:59 AM.
    ShopBot Desktop MAX, spindle, 3" Indexer, Aspire 8.5, and a big learning curve...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Garland Tx
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    2,008

    Default

    Yes… you can do an “Array Copy” (under offset and Layout). You can specify number of rows and columns and gap or offset. Start with your desired pocket size and then fill in the blanks!
    A little playing around will have you an expert in no time!
    SG

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kennebunkport, Maine
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    3,602

    Default

    One thing to remember Carolina, is to make ONE tile on a separate layer, and toolpath it all the way, THEN array and copy with the toolpath "Vector Selection Order" set to automatic with that layer checked and visible. Then no matter how much you fuss with dimensions/bits/and different toolpaths, you can just hit recalculate all toolpaths
    It might be a good idea to buy some of Drillman1's Kyocera .125" 45 degree engraving bits. They have a .012" flat(unless he specifies it as a "Sharp"(.006"flat). You'll be using such a small bit of the tip, and on MDF which is dulling, that you can swap out bits with your pocket book crying;
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-45-degree-...AAAOxyVLNTAD1B
    A 20% stepover with it entered into tool database as an Engraving bit(note that engraving bits are entered as side angle) will give a smoother surface than a VBit and faster.
    His .125" and .0625" downcuts give excellent surfaces as well.
    Looks like a very interesting and time consuming project
    scott
    Scott Plaisted
    Desktop/spindle/VCP 8.5**
    Maine

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Pacific NW
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    57

    Default

    Thanks very much Steve and Scott for the help and encouragement. I've ordered the 45 degree engraving bits from the link and look forward to learning the Array Copy. I'll start with a simple 4x4 grid for practice.
    ShopBot Desktop MAX, spindle, 3" Indexer, Aspire 8.5, and a big learning curve...

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