Fabricable Tile Decors

Fabricable Tile Decors

ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH Asia 2017)

Weikai Chen Yuexin Ma Sylvain Lefebvre Shiqing Xin Jonàs Martínez Wenping Wang

Given a target surface and a set of user-specified tiles (top left), our method produces a dedicated packing of tiles that is optimized for fabrication (bottom left). The results are printed as independent flat patches (second column) with integrated hinges and snap-fit joints. The patches are folded and assembled into the final object (third column); in this case a functional handbag that can carry light objects.


Recent advances in 3D printing have made it easier to manufacture customized objects by ordinary users in an affordable manner, and therefore spurred high demand for more accessible methods for designing and fabricating 3D objects of various shapes and functionalities. In this paper we present a novel approach to model and fabricate surface-like objects composed of connected tiles, which can be used as objects in daily life, such as ornaments, covers, shades or handbags. Our method is designed to maximize the efficiency and ease of fabrication. Given a base surface and a set of tile elements as user input, our method generates a tight packing of connected tiles on the surface. We apply an efficient and tailored optimization scheme to pack the tiles on the base surface with fabrication constraints. Then, to facilitate the fabrication process, we use a novel method based on minimal spanning tree to decompose the set of connected tiles into several connected patches. Each patch is articulated and can be developed into a plane. This allows printing with an inexpensive FDM printing process without requiring any supporting structures, which are often troublesome to remove. Finally, the separately printed patches are reassembled to form the final physical object, a shell surface composed of connected user-specified tiles that take the shape of the input base surface. We demonstrate the utility of our method by modeling and fabricating a variety of objects, from simple decorative spheres to moderately complex surfaces, such as a handbag and a teddy bear. Several user controls are available, to distribute different type of tiles over the surface and locally change their scales and orientations.

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Copyright held by Owner/Author 2017. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in ACM TOG and can be accessed through External URL.


  title={Fabricable Tile Decors},
  author={Chen, Weikai and Ma, Yuexin and Lefebvre, Sylvain and Xin, Shiqing and Martínez, Jonàs and Wang, Wenping},
  journal={ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG)},