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  • milling tiles

    I'm going to be adding a backsplash behind our new granite counters and wondered about milling cutouts for electrical outlets vs sawing the tiles. I've cut tiles with a rotozip but it was only to shave them to size for a cooktop counter opening. Anyone tried this?

    It's my first day of retirement and I already have a honey-do list a mile long!

  • #2
    I'd suspect that milling tiles could be problematic as a rotozip is something like 20,000 rpm where as a mill that we might have is maybe 5,000. I think the standard rotozip blades are carbide so I'd assume if it was gonna work that carbide on the mill would be the right choice.

    A diamond dremel blade in a rotozip works well but the diameter is too small and the arbor too short to make accurate cuts that are perpendicular to the tile surface.

    --Cameron

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ckelloug
      I'd suspect that milling tiles could be problematic as a rotozip is something like 20,000 rpm where as a mill that we might have is maybe 5,000. I think the standard rotozip blades are carbide so I'd assume if it was gonna work that carbide on the mill would be the right choice.

      A diamond dremel blade in a rotozip works well but the diameter is too small and the arbor too short to make accurate cuts that are perpendicular to the tile surface.

      --Cameron
      Those are my conclusions, too, but a difference I anticipate with the mill is speed of cut. I was working pretty fast with the rotozip (it actually melted the tiles). I thought with the mill I'd work a bit slower and take multiple passes. The tiles we're going to use are ceramic, not granite, I should add. I figured it would be a good way to use up all my old krufty H-F end mills, too

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      • #4
        How about fastening a die grinder to mill spindle some way? Then you could have the tool speed and still use x & Y & z travels for cutouts. JIM
        jim

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        • #5
          You won't get ceramic swarf anywhere near any of my machines

          Think aluminum oxide sandpaper...really fine...all over your way surfaces.

          I can't imagine you can set up a tile in the mill faster than you would use one of the "tile cutter" burrs in a roto-zip. This is not the solution in my opinion for cutting...you can buy a wet saw on sale cheap a HF or go rent one. You can still use the roto-zip for trimming pipe openings etc.

          Paul
          Paul Carpenter
          Mapleton, IL

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pcarpenter
            You won't get ceramic swarf anywhere near any of my machines
            That is what I would worry about more so than any cutter speeds, etc.
            Paying Attention Is Not That Expensive.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by pcarpenter
              You won't get ceramic swarf anywhere near any of my machines
              I have a very small mini mill from Grizzly and I'm looking for any possible excuse to replace it but it was my expectation that I'd cut cut slow and wet in a tub. I have a bunch of rare earth magnets I was going to use to hold my vise to the table with, and it would be sitting inside a plastic tub with lots of water in it.

              I didn't know about the ceramic burrs for the rotozip - I'll look into that.

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              • #8
                Dennis

                Welcome to the ranks of "the retired". You will find that you will be as busy as when you went to work. As to the tile cutting-- If you can fasten your roto-zip to the mill it will work. I needed to cut some wood on my ProLight mill. At 5000 RPM it did a crappy job at best. I took some 3/4 rod and some odds and ends and made an adapter for a trim router. The 3/4 shaft went into the R8 collet and I plugged the router into the motor outlet. It worked like a dream.

                Pete

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                • #9
                  I hope you are not serious about the magnetic vise attachments. I have some that are scary strong out of some old, large hard disk drives. You have to be careful not to pinch a finger under them or they will raise a blood blister (voice of experience). However, even a magnet that strong will slide sideways much easier than you can pull it straight off. Its that sideways movement that you have to resist in clamping a mill vise.

                  Is there some problem with bolting the vise down that is solved with the magnets?

                  Paul
                  Paul Carpenter
                  Mapleton, IL

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pcarpenter
                    I hope you are not serious about the magnetic vise attachments. I have some that are scary strong out of some old, large hard disk drives. You have to be careful not to pinch a finger under them or they will raise a blood blister (voice of experience). However, even a magnet that strong will slide sideways much easier than you can pull it straight off. Its that sideways movement that you have to resist in clamping a mill vise.

                    Is there some problem with bolting the vise down that is solved with the magnets?

                    Paul
                    The vise will be inside the water tub so the tiles can be cut wet. But the more I learn from reading the responses the less inclined I am to think outside this particular box. I've used the magnets in the way before when working with stuff larger than the table (easy to do when you have such a small mill ). Done with appropriate care it's safe enough. You surely do not want to allow the part to come into contact with all the magnets at the same time as it will do so with a hell of a bang!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Stepside
                      Dennis

                      Welcome to the ranks of "the retired". You will find that you will be as busy as when you went to work.
                      Thanks, Pete - it's already created a point of confusion. I think every day is Saturday and she things every day is Monday. Need to work on that!

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                      • #12
                        How the pros do it

                        Carbide cutters will work - up to a point - unless you are trying to cut porcelain (not ceramic) tile. On porcelain tile you will only dull the cutter.

                        Pros use a continuous diamond rim wheel (http://www.boschtools.com/Products/A...l.aspx?pid=159)
                        in a 4 or 4.5 inch angle grinder (for eg., http://www.dewalt.com/us/products/to...productID=5860)

                        Lay out the cuts on the backside of the tile and use the wheel to cut along the guide lines all the way through the tile. For the corners get as close as you can without cutting completely through to the front surface (ie, the cuts go beyond the corners but on the backside of the tile). A few careful taps on the cutout portion (from the front side, this time) should remove it intact.

                        Bosch have recently offered a diamond coated "router bit" (http://www.rotozip.com/Shop/Category...=18&HID=188064)
                        that will cut porcelain tiles. I have not used it; it requires a 5/32 collet - "exclusive" afaik to Bosch' Rotozip line.

                        Go to www.taunton.com/thetauntonpress/forums.asp, click on the Breaktimes icon and search on cutting porcelain tile. Topic has generated a lot of traffic at times.

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                        • #13
                          Lots of good info there, Dunc - thanks. There's some nice videos at the Rotozip site. I've use mine only for cutting hole in drywall to run cat5 cable but they seem to be capable of a lot more (with plenty of practice).

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                          • #14
                            Addendum to "how pros do it"

                            Some pros make diagonal cuts - others don't - as well (from backside) before tapping on the face surface to break out the cutout. While the "no-diagonals" group is successful I guess any additional weakening can't hurt.

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