3D Printing Braille – Vertically

True to what the Diagram Center suggested about 3D printing braille, in order to get smooth dots you need to print the braille vertically.

There are several braille fonts available on Thingiverse that make customizing nameplates easier than trying to place individual domes on a rectangular prism digitally.

Debbie printed a braille plate for Goodnight Moon and the 3D designer used cylinders instead of domes/half spheres for the braille dots. What resulted were some sharp edges and sometimes unsecured braille dots. For the braille reader, reading the braille was an uncomfortable experience. In order to make sense of the braille, the reader would need to gently scrub the braille dot/cylinders to make out what the text read.

As part of the Chilliwack team’s project, we went in search of a 3D file that would print vertically. I found 2 files. The first one was one that Gail and Mary found. It was a double-sided library card.

Notice that the digital file pictured above doesn’t have a brim for first layer adhesion. The card itself is a narrow strip and proved difficult to print without a ton of glue on the plate. So with my basic OpenSCAD skills, I added one. I also edited the OpenSCAD file so that the line of braille would only appear on one side of the card and in a single line centred for the purposes of using it as a room number nameplate.


The brim helps to anchor the print onto the glass plate as it prints so that there’s better first layer adhesion. The brim can be snapped off after printing. It’s good to have sandpaper on hand because the snapped brim may leave sharp edges at the base of the card.

(To learn more about the differences between brims, rafts and skirts in 3D printing check out this article from Simplify3D:

Here is the SCAD file for the single-sided single line centred with raft file. In order to open and manipulate this file, you will need to download and install OpenSCAD:

SCAD file: Nameplate sign single line centered with raft
NOTE: This file’s braille font is larger than standard braille…looks more like jumbo braille.

I found a different file on Thingiverse that was similar to the library card file.

The braille in this file was closer to the standard braille size and several braille readers preferred this size compared to the library card braille font. This file came with it’s own raft supports which was a bonus. However the index corner on this file was on the wrong corner. It appears in the upper left corner of the plaque and not the upper right. I had a difficult time adjusting the OpenSCAD file code so instead I made all the corners square.

Here is the SCAD file for the plaque with no index corner.

SCAD: no corner braille sign plate corner final

Printing this file takes about an hour to complete. The braille on this file was preferred by the 6 braille readers I polled. This is the file that the students in Chilliwack will be using as they create the braille signage in their school.


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