Ancient Greek inspired patterned 3D tiles

3D printing is by now almost as common as 2D printing, with 3D printers being affordable enough that people can have one at home. Even 4D printing is a thing already. While making up extra dimensions by going 5D will not happen any time soon, dimensions in between can be printed, like 2.5D printing. Introducing what by nitpickers could be called 2.75D printing, a group of students from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus have printed their own patterned 3D tiles.

The tiles are inspired by the long history of decorated tiles of Cyprus, dating back to ancient Greek times. The project, supervised by Michail Georgiou, had second year students design their own patterned tiles in 2D. With the help of the programme Rhinoceros 3D/panelling tools, they turned them into patterns with relief, which look like landscapes.

The project introduced students to 3D printing and made them understand the complexity of creating a 3D model. The method was trial-and-error, and the students sometimes had to adjust their design several times to get the desired effect.

Technically, this project uses a 2D surface with strong relief, which is more in line with 2.5D printing than 3D printing that requires the object to be actually 3D. The tiles are 125 mm x 125 mm width and 25 mm max in height, making them a little higher than when printed in 2.5D, of which 10 mm is the limit. The students designed the tiles in such a way that the objects did not require any support, except a power raft at the bottom.

The decorated tiles were printed with Z-morph 3D printers, taking an average of nine hours to print each tile with 1.75 mm plastic extruder and white ABS. The result were eighteen unique ‘landscape’ tiles with various geometrical shapes, sharp edges, lobed waves, rough surfaces, and organic formations. The tiles serve a decorative purpose only, but so did the patterns designed by the ancient Greeks, so the old masters can be proud.

Photos: / University of Nicosia


  1. Giovanni Lugas says:

    Even decorative objects need to stay clean.