Braille Signs

There are a number of signs that require the addition of Braille translations on them. These Braille translations need to follow very specific guidelines for how they are made, where they are placed, and even how far apart each dot is to each other. These guidelines also tell you what exact shape these dots should be and what size these need to be in order to be considered compliant.

With these many rules, sign makers have been trying their best to follow each one to-a-T. For instance, rules that say the dots on these Braille translations need to be in a domed shape means that old methods of creating these translations will no longer suffice. This means that, in order for a sign’s Braille translation to pass muster, these need to have the domed form that is required by the government.

One of the most popular methods used to create these Braille translations is called rastering. This method involves the use of small beads that have the rounded/domed shape that is required by the ADA for these translations. This method involves the drilling of holes into the sign where the translation is to be found, and then these beads are inserted into each hole to form the compliant Braille dots needed for these signs.

The use of the Raster technique for creating Braille translations is probably the most accurate and most compliant of all methods. It is, however, a technique that requires that acquisition of a license in order for a manufacturer to use this system. Since this is a patented and trademarked method for Braille signage creation, you cannot use this without permission from the patent holder.

Another method that is equally as popular, and is a modification of the old method, is routed out Braille. This method requires the use of a rotary engraving machine that routs out the dots for the translation. Since old methods leave you with a flat dot, a special dome shaped tool for cutting these dots out needs to be used with this. Such a cutter can be purchased for rotary engravers by sign manufacturers from those who manufacture such engraving machines.

There are a few other methods that were used in the past for the creation of these signs, such as the sand blasting method and the photopolymer process. While these were able to create the tactile images and text needed for these ADA signs, the Braille translations that were made using these methods resulted in round but flat surfaced dots. This makes these methods unsuitable for the creation of Braille signage nowadays.

Another popular method used for creating these signs in the past is laser engraving. Sadly, this method also produces the same kind of Braille as the others, with a well rounded shape but with a flat surface. This won’t comply with the ADA rule regarding Braille translations needing domed surfaces.

In the end, your choices fall down to the two more popular ones mentioned earlier – raster and routing. While one is considered better than the other, the need for a license for its use usually hinders some manufacturers. Either way, both can produce the Braille translations that are needed for these signs and both are compliant due to the domed dots that they produce.

Share on Facebook