BrailleRap STEAM CNC

Modifications to the CNC for replicating BrailleRap

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Braille Rap is a platform to generate G-code for printing Braille ( Braille Rap CNC at S.T.E.A.M. Fabrikarium ( is about hacking/ modifying a CNC Router to print braille on various materials (paper, plastic, metal sheets, etc) using the Braille Rap platform.
  • 1 × Drilling Machine Nail Length: 45 mm, Diameter: 3 mm
  • 1 × Bench Drill machine
  • 1 × MDF sheet 300 mm X 300 mm
  • 5 × Braille printing sheets 180 GSM drawing paper sheets of dimensions 250 mm X 250 mm
  • 2 × Used but untampered RedBull Cans

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  • Modifying the CNC for embossing Braille characters

    Forum Shah02/12/2018 at 11:54 0 comments

    We needed to fit a braille nail at the spindle head that will make impressions of the braille characters on the material below.

    For the same, we chose a drilling nail as it best fitted the diameter of the CNC nozzle. We optimized the nail length, nail tip breadth and sharpness by cutting and grinding on a Bench Grinder to ensure the diameter of the braille dot is suitable to the international standards. 

    The needle was then attached at the bottom of the CNC spindle, ready to be used for embossing Braille characters.

  • Making the CNC work

    Forum Shah02/12/2018 at 11:39 0 comments

    Our initial steps for the project were to understand the configurations of the existing CNC router and the ensure it's functioning.

    For the same, we connected the Arduino UNO board with the CNC shield, made all the correct wire connections to ensure synchronized working of the motors driving the router on the X, Y, and Z axes.

    We then sources a suitable GRBL controller that will help us upload the Gcode and operate the CNC. 

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  • 1
    Step-by-Step Instructions

    1. Access and make an existing CNC Router work by making all the appropriate connections of Arduino UNO, CNC Shield with the CNC router machine and laptop; and controlling the CNC operations using a universal GRBL controller.

  • 2
    Step 2

    2. Modify the spindle of the CNC router with a nail that will be used to make braille character impressions on different materials like paper, plastic, etc.

    This includes,

    - sourcing a nail of suitable size and diameter that fits at the bottom end of the CNC router spindle.

    - cutting the nail to appropriate length using a metal cutter, and making its tip blunt using a Bench grinder for grinding and buffing.

    - Attaching the needle to the end of the CNC router spindle.

    We used a drilling machine nail of diameter 3 mm and cut it to a length of 45 mm.

  • 3
    Step 3

    3. Fix the material on which you wish to print braille on an MDF wood sheet with a tape and place it under the nail.

    We’ve used a 180 GSM drawing paper of dimensions 200 X 200 mm.

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