View Full Version : Engraving Braille
09-18-2006, 09:36 PM
I have been instructed to engrave some new signs for around the school. Because the school must meet the Americans with Disabilities Act, all interior signage must have a Braille subtext. Has anyone here engraved in Braille that can give me some pointers? I found some Braille fonts but haven't tried anything else. I would assume to just do an area clear with a really small cutter.
Also, some of the signs are directional and have arrows. How do you make a Braille arrow?
09-19-2006, 12:51 AM
Why not glue/press/hammer in button head brass/alu/copper rivets?
Where do I begin,
Not all interior signs have to have braille. Braille signs must be followed with tactile or raised lettering 1/32", no shiney surfaces wth matte finish.
I would pick up a ADA book and look throught the sign sections. Permanent rooms, restroom signs are some examples of braille/tactile signs. They must be certain fonts and have grade II braille translation. Also not everything in a particular sign has to be tranlated in braille and tactile. In some states like CA only outside stairway doors have to be tactile and braille, interior stairways do not. Signs have to meet certain size requirements along with text and braille spacing. California has their own braille spacing.
Directory's do not have braille or tactile but must be a certain height and size to meet ADA standards.
There are a few ways of doing braille and with a CNC router you have only one real choice of 2. Raster Braille, you have to purchase a Lic from the maker who holds the patent and it's a couple grand ( I hold one). It's the simplest process IMO, you drill and insert a bead for each braille point.
You will need the following. Braille Translator software text to Grade II (Duxbury software), Sign software to take that translation and make it vector and to scale along with a proper braille font. Once you have the software you will need the hardware. Specialty bits and the lic. Those braille fonts you have probably arent' even any good because they do not have the proper spacing. Grade II translation is not translation letter per letter but more like writting shorthand for example "men" = m5 (braille translation)
Really there is alot to know and hard to explain all in one post. I do ADA and it's good money but a lot to learn.
My suggestion would be to sub it out or pass on it, unless you want to drop the money and time to get into it.
Not to discourage you but if you don't know what you doing and this is a new building the building inspector will be looking at these along with the fire chief who do a walk thru will give their final okay whether or not the building contractor will pass the final inspection. It might be you holding him and the building up. I would obtain a American Disabilities Act book for starters, do a google search also. Go from there. Good Luck, hope this helps!
09-19-2006, 11:22 AM
Why can't I manually program in the Braille? I was thinking an area clear with a small engraving cutter with the dots remaining would work and that is what our current signs are.
Also, are you saying that the main writing on the sign must be raised or can it be engraved as well?
Before I got the Lic for Rater Braille I tried that using a Braille doming bit mostly used for tactile surfaces but it sucked, it ended up knocking the braille off half the time after it rounded it. It would be easier but still difficult using a small engraver. Your Z would have to be so fine tuned and level.
A braille dome has to be .059 in diameter and .025 high. Area clearance is do hard and uneven.
Go check out http://www.access-board.gov for some basic laws and regulations.
Yes depending on what type of sign is it the body of text or room number must be raised 1/32" of an inch above the surface. Also pictograms must be raised too, and that depends on the type of sign. Lettering must have certain spacing and it's not default spacing on your computer. You have certain sign sizes and certain distances between raised lettering, borders and braille.
You need specialty software to begin doing this so look to spend about 4k at least.
09-19-2006, 12:36 PM
It would seem to me that if you had multiple signs of the same script, the easiest way would be to mill the sign in reverse, with the raised domes now being pockets. Then make a silicone mold and cast the sign in either plastic (cold cast bronze) or low temp metal.
We just completed two Retirement Villages interior packages which had ADA on most of it. The equipment to do the job right is a engraver with the brail font and an applicator gun. These cost too much for a once in a while job. So we take out signs down to one of the trophy shops and they finish this out.
We make more money that way.
09-22-2006, 01:58 AM
Eric, you are giving a lot of good information here, but some of your California info is not correct. In California, all exits must be mared with a Braille and tactile sign, and that includes all exit stairs, interior and exterior. There is a specific requirement for each type of exit. Also, there is no requirement for raised pictograms, since persons who are blind cannot usually tell what they are. The reference to pictograms in the raised section of the code refers to the fact that if a room is identified with a pictogram (such as a restroom or maybe a copy room or cafeteria) then the corresponding term must be included beneath the pictogram and it must be raised and include Braille.
To the question about an arrow, many people blind from an early age cannot tell what a raised arrow is, so it needs to be accompanied by wording and Braille. I would say "to the right" or "straight ahead" to translate an arrow.
Also, beware of thinking you can just type Braille in on your keyboard. I have seen entire motels done in nonsense using this method! The law requires Grade II Braille, which means that a type of shorthand is used. For instance, when writing "Men" in Braille, you would type m5. "Women" is wom5. Numbers are typed using a number sign and the letters a through j.
It's a terribly detailed and complex topic and to do it right takes a lot of thought and memorization of codes. I do have a book called "Signs and the ADA" which is used by many people. I am on both the ANSI Committee and the California State Building Standards Board Access Advisory Committee and have been involved in writing both the new ADA rules and the California codes since 1992.
I thought the interior of stairwells for example "No Roof Access, Stair B, 1 thru 4" doe not have to have tactile and braille. Because I got this info from you!
Hey guys, Sharon has a great book along with great support by her company. I have yet to get it but I know a few who have and she has even answered a few of my n00b questions over the phone. As I dab more into it, more than just restroom and exit signs I will defintelty be buying her book.
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