Cutting Ceramic Tile

I realize that this is probably a job better done by a water jet but I was curious if anyone has ever cut ceramic tile with a cnc machine? I will be doing some tile work in my home and would love to cut some unique shapes and designs.

Any ideas on what type of bit I would need or if this setup would even work for tile? Having access to a water jet at a reasonable cost is difficult and expensive.

I have seen it done fur sure I have seen engraving done. I’d be interested to see if anyone has done this too.

Off the top of my head, maybe with a diamond abrasive bit (ala RotoZip), a very, very slow feed and using water coolant? I’d be interested to see if anyone can pull it off, that’s DEFINITELY (as you identified) an area where the waterjet would be a standard tool.

Can you give me more info about the type of tile you intend to use? My family has been working in tile, glass and ceramics over 40 years. If you can give me more info about the make up of the tile I can give some ideas about how to move forward and maybe even run some tests myself. I have carved a bit of stone with the OKO and good results and I have a number of diamond bits laying around to test with. But you will almost for sure need a water system (bath at least) to cool the bits and keep the dust down. This would really be pushing the limits of what the OKO can do (which is why I would like to try and help out) Some things to consider: The radius of your inner corners on your cuts will be limited to what a 3mm or larger end mill can cut, so keep that in mind in your designs, Porcelain will be extremely hard to cut in this way. Some ceramics tiles might work and some natural stones like marble, slate or terrazzo will be OK but your hard porcelains and natural stones like granite will not be easy if even doable on a OKO. Look forward to hearing back and hope I can help out a bit.

At this point in my research, im only working on developing an idea. I’m starting to realize that the limitations here are the spindle power and the lack of some type of liquid cooling.

The reality is that I may have to look for a water jet for what I need to do, milling it may not be feasible. Have you have any luck milling standard tile on the face? Such as carving a design?

Yes I did both Marble and Slate tiles without a wet system. Worked very well indeed on both.

Marble Tile,

Slate Tile.

That looks really great actually! Have you considered filling the grooves with something like epoxy for use in floors?

I just did them on a whim to test how the OKO would do in stone. Plan to play with granite shortly with my special diamond end mills meant for stone work. I might have to look into that down the road. My real thought was along the line of pet memorials and such at a much more affordable rate. I had not even thought about the flororing aspects of it really. After these two successes I turned more to Aluminum milling on the Shapeoko.

I didn’t realize that you were the one that made that piece, its very impressive! I would love to chat with you once I receive my X-Cuter just to get some questions answered if you have time. Seems like you’re very skilled with the cnc machine.

Thank you! That little mount has taken on a life I never dreamed of when I starting milling it out. I would be very glad to answer any questions I can for you. Inventables is sending me an X Carve to work on aluminum milling with shortly. So i should be able to answer your questions for the X Carve with first hand experience on that very mill shortly. I look forward to answering questions for anyone who might need a hand getting started out.

What bit, speeds and feeds did you cut the marble at please? i have a few ideas i wanted to try with Marble but have never tried cutting it outside of using a wetsaw let alone a CNC router before. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

what bit /feed/speed?

Yes that would really help to know what the bit , feed ,and speed was