Braille for ADA signage

Fresh to glowforge and a small sign shop owner here… we typically outsource our braille signage, but I’m wondering if anyone has had any experience adding braille beads/raster balls to plaques using the GF. Seems like I should be able to engrave a small hole(just need to find the depth) and then insert the braille beads.

Has anyone done this and have any advice or suggested settings? I’ll be sure to monitor this post and update with what we find out through our experiments.

Thanks!

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YES

you can do braille easily using the engrave settings

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AFAIK no one here has done that specific thing, but I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t. Folks have definitely engraved out material leaving the braille behind.

In your case I’s suggest that you get a diameter measurement on the beads and then create a filled circle at that size, and then may at that size minus .005" - .007" - see if there’s a noticeable difference in being able to glue the beads in.

Also, depending on how much the bead needs to protrude (if less than 50%) you could cut a circle just smaller than the bead’s diameter and engrave a hole around it, and then sandwich the beads between that and a flat piece of material. It would certainly make a more secure display than 100% depending on glue.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

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braille-alphabet-overview

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Typically you do braille beads with a special drill bit. I’d say the way to go here is to cut through holes to match your beads, so all you need to do is a kerf adjusted cut that matches the bead diameter. The cut profile of the laser hole would probably help you out here, providing a “funnel” shape that the beads can lock right into.

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I found this helpful when I was looking into Braille signs:

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While that’s helpful in a VERY basic sense. Braille on signs uses a lot of compound words - it doesn’t spell everything out.

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i know, but I wanted to show the braille and how it would translate to a GF

Jonathan

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Update: The plaques we were adding braille to are 1/8" aluminum on 1/4" pvc so we were having issues getting the GF to even break the surface of the aluminum. So we decided to just use the laser to lightly etch the dots on and then drilled them on a press and then added the beads. Havent had time to try it on just plain acrylic, but I’m assuming we will just need to find out the proper depth for it.

Braille-Sphere-Dimensions



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The Glowforge cannot engrave any metal.

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I’ve done metals before, all depends on your settings. I’ve done plenty of knives. Just can’t go deep enough for what we need here.

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I would love to see examples of knives you have engraved because everything I have read states that CO2 lasers with 45 watt tubes cannot engrave metal. They can mark metal with things such as Cermark but engrave, nope. The only reason I am pressing this point is because lots of new users read the forum and I think it is important that it includes accurate information. I am not trying to be argumentative. The Glowforge marks anodized aluminum but engrave means burn away material, and I just don’t think this is something the Glowforge is capable of.

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No 40w C02 laser can cut into metals. Maybe, just maybe, if you did 0 speed and 100% power on tin/aluminum foil you might break through.

Marking metals though, it’s great for! Both with and without marking agents folks have done all sorts of stuff to change the colour of the surface material :slight_smile:

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Maybe it’s not engraving and just marking, but here’s a sample of what we did with a knife. It is slightly recessed using 275 speed and 100 power(full power got a bit sloppy). Didn’t use any marking agents for this one.

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Yup - and nicely done! Very crisp :smiley:

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For more details on metals with the glowforge, refer to #11 here:

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That looks great!

Yes, I believe it technically etch as opposed to engraving but I think we all know what you mean :slight_smile:

I’m guessing the blade has a titanium coat? Have you tried black titanium coated?

Yes, we tried a few with black coating and the clean silver graphics really pop with the contrast. The hardest part is balancing the blade to keep the etching area as flat as possible. We were also able to raise the speed a bit because the black coating is usually pretty thin.

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Thats good to know lol. I hear they turn out really cool with the black! I just have not tried the blades yet.

What did y’all end up doing to balance? I do often do the wooden handle of cheese knifes. I use magnets for just the part of the blade (I put a block under the wooden part) and that helps it balance.