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Old 02-10-2007, 08:06 PM   #1
smokingtable
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Rocket scientist/Mechanical engineer needed (tile saw)

The ability to lay a good FLAT mosaic is killing me. I use a million techniques to get it close, but there's only so much messing around that can be done. I've been working on a saw that will plane all the tile to the same thickness, but it sucks. Basically it's a modified brick chopper, where I made a plate to slide the tile parallel against the blade to shave off 1/16 to 1/32 at a time. It's slow, and 1/2 way through the pressure of the tile against the side of the blade bends it out, getting a great cut at first, then thicker tile to the end.
I'd like to mount several, say 20 four inch turbo diamond blades on a shaft with a pully. Set the tile on a moving flat platform and run it perpindicular under the blades over and over till done. Sounds very, very slow.

Anyone out there got a better idea?

Jerimiah
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Old 02-10-2007, 09:27 PM   #2
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Ok, if I understand you correctly you want to remove material from the back of the tile so that all tiles are equal height.

Start by looking at how this is done on other hard materials, like metal. It's called surface grinding. In a metal surface grinder, the work piece is held on a table and a grinding wheel run over it (similar to a tile bridge saw) or the workpiece is mounted to a sliding table, which is then run under the grinding wheel (similar to a regular tile wet saw).

See if anyone makes a flat diamond profile wheel to use as a grinding wheel. Then figure how to solidly fasten small tile to the work table.

DG
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Old 02-10-2007, 09:37 PM   #3
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At the risk of killing a perfectly good tool dream...why is this important? You've only eliminated one variable. The rest is still in human hands. Flat substraights, good bedding adhesives and mortars all mixed correctly even the length of straight edge used and the expirience of the respective installer are but just a few factors that will influence the outcome of the hopefully flat mosaic.
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Old 02-11-2007, 05:54 AM   #4
MHI
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Set the mossaics any which way, then grind them in place.

Not easy, but easier than grinding before installing.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by: MHI

Set the mossaics any which way, then grind them in place.

Not easy, but easier than grinding before installing.
If it is the backs of the tile you want to grind off, then simply set them upside down, wait til they dry....and then grind. This way you will be grinding the side you want, rather than the front like MHI had mentioned
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:32 AM   #6
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Thanks guys,

Well, I've tried to grind the back of the finished mosaic. The problem is mounting the tile face down in a way that would hold to the force of a grinder to the back (especially porcelain), and then trying to get a consistant flat grind across a 10 foot mosaic. The results of this has been real bad.
Trask, the flat substraights will always be a kick in the nuts, but when I'm placing thick porcelain next to a much thinner ceramic, with a 3/16 difference in height, I have a hard time selling my trade as floor work.

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Old 02-11-2007, 10:44 AM   #7
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Woodworking tool outlets sell blade stiffeners for think kerf woodworking blades. That will help with your deflection issues if you choose to continue your current method of grinding.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:10 PM   #8
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NObody said it was easy 'course from the look of your last commission you shouldn't have trouble selling it any ol way. I think your overthinking it. Not that I haven't done the same thing...Now I just accept certain aspects of this kind of work suck and charge more for making the differences work.

If you do invent "the machine" that makes it work I'll buy one
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:34 PM   #9
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Think of blanchard grinding also. Large flat surfaces are milled in metal.

Another thought is how granite tables for quality control (CMM) tables. Not sure how they are made, but there must be a large milling machine to make the granite surface flat.

Both of these ideas are big $$ but you didn't say if you wanted to outsource this to a shop, or want to cobble a machine in your garage.
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:53 PM   #10
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Radial arm polishers...Ya big bucks...I dunno if they would work on tiles. In a jig or some sort I suppose they could.
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Old 03-27-2007, 11:57 AM   #11
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smokingtable, I just saw this because I searched to find any other mosaics you might have posted!

A thought re getting mosaics flat: have you heard of the indirect method? You lay the tiles *face down* on a piece of brown paper that's got simple water-based glue on it, acc. to your design. Then you grout it from the back--since you've laid the tiles face down, the back is what's facing you. Grout it that way and let it dry.

THEN, when you install it, put the thinset on the substrate, put the piece on from the back, and when it's set, wet the brown paper and remove it and all glue traces.

It's a classic mosaic-setting method to produce flat surfaces. A couple of books to suggest: Sonia King's Mosaic Techniques and Traditions, Emma Biggs' Encyclopedia of Mosaic Techniques...qnd on from there. Sonia and Emma actually have a new book coming out this year too.

You might also want to join SAMA, the society of American Mosaic artists, or at least subscribe to the mosaicartistsorg list on yahoogroups. Invaluable sources of information. There are folks who set tile *and* do mosaics on it, not just studio artists. With the great work you do you *need* to be on that list! You do much more advanced work than I do and than some of the professional folks on the list, IMO. (There are also some who will just blow you away and open your mind to new possibilities...)

Hope that helps
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