Braille Embossers

basic-d embosser from enabling technologyA Braille embosser is a printer, actually an impact printer, that renders text as Braille. Using special translation software, a print document can be embossed with relative ease, making Braille production much more efficient and cost-effective.

Blind users tend to call other printers “ink printers”, to distinguish them from their Braille counterparts. This is often the case regardless of the type of printer being discussed.

Large (and fast) industrial Braille embossers can cost many tens of thousands of dollars. Smaller (and slower) Braille embossers are more common and can be found in some libraries, universities, and specialist education centres, as well as being privately owned by some blind individuals. Particularly with some lower-priced embossers, it is sometimes necessary to mount the embosser on its own table, as otherwise the vibrations can damage the computer by eventually causing microchips and other components to come loose from the circuit boards.

Braille embossers usually need special Braille paper which is thicker and more expensive than normal paper. Some high-end embossers are capable of printing on normal paper. Embossers can be either one-sided or two-sided. Duplex embossing requires lining up the dots so they do not overlap (called “interpoint” because the points on the other side are placed in between the points on the first side).

Once one copy of a document has been produced, printing further copies is often quicker by means of a device called a “thermoform”, which produces copies on soft plastic. However the resulting Braille is not as easily readable as Braille that has been freshly embossed, in much the same way that a poor-quality photocopy is not as readable as the original. Hence large publishers do not generally use thermoforms. (Source: Wikipedia External link)