with extremely high precision and definition.
However, small engraved
features (e.g., braille dots)
aren't as easy to feel (e.g., with fingertips) as relieved
If we scale things up enough, even engraved features become readable,
but that wastes valuable real estate on the tile.
Unlike 3D printers
, which use the STL
most laser engravers rely on raster scanning of image formats (e.g., JPEG
Using an image manipulation tool such as ImageMagick
we should be able to generate any needed raster format.
However, vector images give the engraver's support software a better starting point.
For example, the software can change the stroke size on a line segment.
Currently, I'm using SketchUp
(a 3D modeling tool)
to trace and annotate floor plans for a two-tower, multi-story complex (GDC) at UT Austin.
I export the information in PDF
which Adobe Illustrator
can import, edit, and send to the engraver.
I'm currently using multiple PDF files to distinguish different kinds of content.
This makes it much
easier to manipulate in Illustrator.
After experimenting (briefly) with birch plywood,
I settled on thin (e.g., 1/16", 3/32") acrylic plastic.
For an extended discussion of these issues, see Matter
There are many ways to depict a geographic feature such as building or road.
Here are a few basic ideas which could be used singly or in combination:
- use exterior lines for boundaries
- use interior lines for texture
- raise or lower the entire feature
In the current project, I am only raising the features
(e.g., lines, braille cells) by means of relief engraving.
These pages describe the process of generating a tile.
These pages discuss ancillary issues:
While waiting for my GlowForge
unit to arrive,
I have been taking courses and using engravers at TechShop
Aside from learning a lot and making good progress on the project,
working with industrial-grade tools (e.g., Epilog's Fusion and Helix models)
is making me a better judge of laser engravers.
This wiki page is maintained by Rich Morin
an independent consultant specializing in software design, development, and documentation.
Please feel free to email
comments, inquiries, suggestions, etc!