1st 3D Printed Prototypes

A project log for Electromechanical Refreshable Braille Module

Lowering the cost of Refreshable Braille Cells by using Electromagnetic Cam Actuators & 3D Printing

vijayVijay 05/28/2023 at 07:280 Comments

Hey there, Hackaday community! I wanted to share an exciting update on my ongoing project focused on 3D printing small Braille parts. Today, I want to discuss the significance of resolution when it comes to creating high-quality Braille tactile components.

One of the most critical factors in creating functional Braille parts is achieving a high level of detail and precision. In the case of 3D printing, resolution plays a pivotal role in determining the readability and usability of Braille tactile elements.

To begin, let's dive into what resolution means in the context of 3D printing. Resolution refers to the level of detail that can be captured and reproduced in a printed object. It is typically measured in terms of layer height or the minimum feature size that the printer can accurately produce.

When it comes to the required Braille parts, which rely on tiny tactile dots, cams, and an enclosure with small wall thickness, achieving a high resolution is essential. The components need to be precisely formed and accurately positioned to ensure legibility and functionality. Increasing the resolution can create more defined dots with sharper edges and smoother surfaces, resulting in enhanced touch sensitivity.

The smallest wall thicknesses needed for a functional prototype were 0.4mm. After exploring and evaluating a wide range of options for 3D printing, I settled on SLA technology with the 3D Systems Figure 4, which offered the best resolution among all the printers tested. I chose to print with the PR4 resin, they gave the best results for toughness and yet a touch of flexibility that was needed for some of the snap-fit components. 

The parts came out great, but it was quite a struggle to assemble the parts together. Got me to understand the design changes that would be needed to make this easier to assemble, without needing to be a watchmaker.

Design for Assembly and Manufacturability will be a big part of the design changes going forward.

I'll continue my exploration in this project, experimenting with different printers, materials, and techniques to further enhance the resolution quality and assembly of 3D printed Braille parts. Stay tuned for more updates! Feel free to share your thoughts, suggestions, or any experiences you've had with micro-scale 3D printing projects. Let's collaborate and make a difference together!