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Thread: Something Cool for ADA Sign Makers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Something Cool for ADA Sign Makers

    Last weekend our System Administrator Aaron Koehl created a script for Corel Draw that provides a button on the tool bar for inserting Grade II Braille.

    Aaron's script provides an input box to type in the necessary text and then creates Grade II Braille directly in the drawing. It is very slick and has already saved me a lot of time over the last couple of days on a project I am working on at CNU.

    The braille interpreter program is public domain software but it is old and needs to be updated. Aaron mentioned that he could rewrite the interpreter and make some improvements. If there is anyone interested and would be willing to shuck Aaron a few bucks for his work when it is finished we might be able to persuade him to write the new program and distribute it here at The Creek.

    Anyone interested?

    .

  2. #2
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    I'm interested

    Keith, sounds interesting.

    Just so I understand properly, I type a word in an input box in Corel Draw, it then appears as braille in the drawing, and I can laser engrave that? If that the case then I am definitley interested. What's Grade 2 braille?

    How much do you think we need to chip in?
    Last edited by Pat Kearney; 12-18-2007 at 11:15 PM. Reason: Typo
    Pat
    JOMA Engraving, Epilog Helix 35 Watt, Corel X3

  3. #3
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    Jul 2005
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    Sammamish, WA
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    I'm in for sure.



    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Kearney View Post
    Keith, sounds interesting.

    Just so I understand properly, I type a word in an input box in Corel Draw, it then appears as braille in the drawing, and I can laser engrave that? If that the case then I am definitley interested. What's Grade 2 braille?

    How much do you think we need to chip in?
    Pat,

    You get a button on your Corel Tool Bar that opens an input window. Type in the text or number you need and click the generate button, thats all it takes. Grade II Braille is required on all ADA signs by the Federal Government. It is a bit cryptic compared to Grade I Braille because there are abbreviations for things like ing and tion.

    Aaron's script automatically formats the braille as 24 point and centers it in the drawing. Aaron has offered to edit his script so that Braille that is selected will be edited in the box automatically rather than having to delete the entry. If no braille is selected then a new entry is created. This would make it a bit easier to edit signs when you use a template which is how I make them at CNU. I am working on 118 door signs for our new library right now, the script saved me hours over the last couple of days and reduces errors.

    The old DOS program that Scott found on the Net worked but it was slow and required me to cut and paste then convert the entry to artistic text then to braille then edit the point size. Lots of steps have been eliminated and the possibility of making errors other than spelling are gone forever

    How much? I guess it depends on how many people are interested in the new program. We can spread the cost out among a large group is should be very reasonable. I will send Aaron an email and see if he has a number in mind.
    .
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 12-19-2007 at 7:21 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Longview, WA
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    43

    More interest

    Hi Guys, This sounds like a great tool and I would throw a few dollars in the pot.

    Mike Ross

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Jose, Ca soon to be Mariposa, CA "Gateway to Yosemite"
    Posts
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    I haven't needed yet, but if I ever do ..........................

    I'd be interested.

    Ron in San Jose
    [/SIGPIC] Epilog Mini 24 - 45 watt, 3 Melco Amaya's with DesignShop, Roland PC-600 Printer/Plotter, Roland Camm-1 and 1050 plotter and a 6 color 4 station screen printing press. CorelDraw X3,X4 and X5 plus PhotoGrav 3.0

  7. #7
    Yup, I'm interested, providing it's not 3 of us forking up all the cost.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  8. #8
    I have never needed to use such a thing, but would pitch in a bit to have the option if I needed it.
    Trotec Speedy 300 45W
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    ShopBot PRSAlpha48
    Techno LC4848
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  9. #9
    I'm with Ed. I don't have a current need, but I see myself moving more into signage. Can I make braille with my laser?
    Scott Challoner
    30W LaserPro Spirit (Need more power)
    30W Wisely Fiber Galvo

  10. #10
    Yes Scott, you can. Easier in some materials than others. Corian appears to be very easy, while acrylics are more challenging. It's not the easiest thing you'll do (or the most fun), but it's certainly something you can do. I do them in Rowmark materials. You'll earn your money on those days, gluing and inserting every single ball.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Hayes, Virginia
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    Aaron came by my shop this evening and edited his script to add the features I needed, basically the ability to click on existing braille and edit it directly. Works even better than before

    I told him about this thread so he will be posting something here soon.

    .

  12. #12
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    Oct 2006
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    Punta Gorda, Florida
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    Is the braille that is produced with this 'to be' program what could be used in public places like hospitals and such type of buildings? (Sorry if this is a dumb question but I dont do braille now) If it can I would be in for it since I make a few signs for the hospital I work for every month.
    EPILOG LEGEND 32 60 WATT, CORELDRAWX5, PhotoGraV2.11, strip heater, PUNTA GORDA, FLORIDA

  13. #13
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    James,

    Yes, this method of producing braille meets the federal guidelines for ADA signs. I use a laser engraver to make the braille holes in my door signs and get a perfect friction fit so I don't have to mess with glue. This is possible when you use Corian or plastic for your substrate and acrylic braille balls. The coefficient of expansion of the two materials being so close allows the no glue technique. If you were using wood as a substrate and acrylic braille balls you would need an adhesive.

    I have engraved over 80 door signs at CNU in the last few days using Aaron's Corel Draw script and I have forty more to complete by tomorrow. I have been able to engrave all of the door signs using just one template editing it for each individual sign because I can edit the template faster than the engraver can produce them (an average 8 minute engraving time and about 3 minutes for cleaning with a brush afterwards). Now that I have a fast and accurate means of editing the braille I don't need to save hundreds of sign drawings, just the template for each building. I can start the engraver, edit the template for the next sign and brush the last blank that was engraved and be ready to replace the sign blank before the laser is finished. When all of the plaques are engraved I cut the letters from 1/16" thick plastic and start gluing in the letters and installing the braille balls. My system is based on volume or production runs and gets the time per door sign down to just minutes per sign which includes producing the plaques on my router. At $45.00 each daily production runs of 20 to 40 door signs are possible so it is profitable work . Material costs are less than $7.00 per sign.

    I have been working for months shaving minutes and seconds here and there trying to get my time as low as possible per sign. I have refined my technique several times reducing the time per sign to 50% of the time required when I first started. I think I can get the time even lower by changing a few more steps and by routing the hanger keyholes on the ShopBot. I have been machining the keyhole hangers on my bench drill/mill on the door signs I have made so far. If I had a youngster to glue the letters and insert the braille balls I'm sure I could double my production rate and reduce my cost per sign even further.

    Aaron's script is a painless solution to a tough task that I have to do almost every day. Saving me a couple of minutes per sign will produce big savings this year alone.

    Aaron is willing to provide just the script which would be very affordable and it works perfectly. The free braille interpreter from NIB, although it is old hasn't been a problem for me.

    .
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 12-26-2007 at 11:07 AM.

  14. #14
    Keith - I've only had one request to do a sign with Braile in it on Romark Plastic. I know she will be coming back, they were just inquiring - so I will need it eventually.

    I know there are more opportunities in the local area so I'd offer it as an by line in a couple ads to get the word out that now a local guy can do it as well...

    I'm in on the chip-in...
    Steve Beckham

    Epilog Mini 24 with 45 Watt, Ricoh GX 7000 Sublimation, Corel X3, Corel X4 and PhotoGrav, Recently replaced the two 'used' SWF machines with brand new Barudans.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Hayes, Virginia
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    Stephen,

    The last time I looked at my local phone book there were hundreds of sign shops in my area but very few offered ADA signs so the competition drops considerably when you offer ADA work.

    The goal is getting the word out that you are able to provide superior ADA signs, an alternative to the same old industrial looking acrylic signs that we have all grown used to seeing in public buildings. You can contact your local building contractors to let them know you are willing to provide a superior product for the same price they are paying for traditional ADA signs. Drop off a couple of samples to show them your product quality and in a short period of time you will have more work than you can imagine. Nothing better than a steady stream of profitable work to improve the bottom line.

    I don't advertise, I respond to "Requests for Bids" these days and two jobs per year is all it takes to make me happy. Its true I work for CNU full time now but two commercial sign jobs is very close to my annual salary as a state employee and is only about 3 months work part time. I have invested serious capital in my shop and equipment over the years so it isn't as though you can just get your shovel out and fill your bank account. There is some hard work involved as well but the payback is very quick and the profit margin is the best I have ever seen. I wish someone would have told me years ago that this kind of work was so profitable and so plentiful.

    I have also stopped engraving for the public altogether, haven't engraved a photograph in so long I doubt I could provide the service if I had to

    .
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 12-27-2007 at 10:24 AM.

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