The Penrose. Heath Canobie and Sarah Rowley

The objective of Project 3 is to introduce students to the SUBTRACTIVE 3D numeric fabrication processes,
using a 3-axis CNC MILLING machine. We will create patterned 3D tiles in Rhino

The Penrose Pattern: A good example of the Penrose Pattern can be seen in Storey Hall.

1. First task was to study techniques:

Packing– As close together as possible.

Cracking– Finding the centre and then repeatedly dividing.

Blending– Two or more geometries

Tiling– Finding the centre and drawing a perpendicular line.

2. The second task was to create our own design. We chose to work with the blending technique.


-In Rhino create 3 curved lines using the Control Point Curve tool.

The first two lines are to be drawn: Top to Bottom

The third line is to be drawn: Bottom to Top

(Typing ‘flip’ command you can change the directional path of the curved line.

Eg originally ‘top to bottom’ becomes ‘bottom to top’)

-Download the Blending script –

from the ‘tech toolkit and tutorials’ on

-Click View Plain

-Copy the Text

-Paste into Notepad

-On the drop down menu select ‘all files’

-Save the file as a .rvb file. We saved ours as blend3d.rvb

Back in Rhino

-Type the command ‘LoadScript’

-Select the saved Script

-Press Load

-Press Enter twice

-Specify Density – eg. 35

We where happy with this shape so we decided to create 2D views to work from.

-We did this by typing the command ‘make2d’ and selecting current view.

We then imported the tiles that Jess gave us and found that the tile was larger than our shape.

We scaled our 2D shape up to fit the tile.

We then split the Penrose tiles up to concentrate on each design. We traced around the outside of the tile to
get a better visual to work with.


We chose a section of our 2D shape to project onto the tile. We realised that in a section of this the lines where to
close together for the CNC milling machine to read.

So before projecting we had to go in and manually ‘trim’ some of the lines.

-To project the 2D lines onto the tile we typed command ‘PROJECT’.

-Selected the lines we wanted to project, and then pressed ‘enter’.

-Then selected what we wanted to project on (the tile) and pressed ‘enter’.

 -We repeated this step for our second tile.

-Once we had projected our designs onto the Penrose tile we exploded it by typing ‘explode’ command.
-Then we deleted all the vertical lines, joined it back together and saved so it was ready to take to Andrew.

With Andrew we decided on a Horizontal Roughing Cut and Parallel Finish at 20% step over.
The Engraving is at a 3mm depth with a 3mm CNC drill for the Jelutong stock Penrose Tile.

For the Foam Penrose Tile we decided on a 3 Axis Parallel Cut with a 3mm depth at 1.5mm step down.


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