This is a four line, twenty-eight cell braille slate that follows the 8-Dot Braille system.
Braille is a code used to represent the written word with patterns of raised dots. Traditional braille consists of six dots per cell, but six dots can only represent 64 unique patterns. Braille overcomes this limitation by letting two or more cells represent a single character. Preceding the symbol for a letter, for example, with a dot six makes that letter capital.
It is often desirable, especially in scientific or computer fields, to be able to represent a full character set, like ASCII in a one-to-one correspondence. That is where the 8-dot cell becomes important. With 8 dots to represent a character, you can make 256 unique patterns.
American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. lives and breathes braille and hopes this tool you can print yourself proves useful for education and life.
If you have any suggestions about the design or questions about usage or printing, please leave comments for us and we would love to read them.
Overview and Background
A slate, along with a stylus, is the closest thing a blind person has to a pencil to write without mechanical or electronic devices. With appropriately heavy stock paper, the slate and stylus let you create permanent documentation or labeling.
While the slate and stylus, along with the braille code itself, represents a momentous time in history for the blind, because, for the first time, they could write and read what they wrote, it remains critical to this day.
Today, there are a number of ways to create braille, including typewriter-like devices, embossers, and electronic braille displays, but it is still important to be able to write portably, conveniently, and inexpensively, just like with the appeal of a pencil for sighted people.
Lesson Plan and Activity
While 6-dot slates abound, it is difficult to find an 8-dot slate. These two files, one for each half of the slate, let you print one yourself.
Once you print both halves, join them together at the hinge. The hinge is on the left, and the slate opens from the right.
This slate accommodates 8.5X11 inch paper and has room to produce 28 characters on four lines. The pins in the bottom half of the slate help line the paper, so when you finish with the first four lines, you can move the slate down for the next four.
On the first four lines, align the paper so it abuts the top two pins. When you close the slate, the bottom two pins punch the paper, so you can use those two holes for the top two pins when you move the slate down for the next four lines.
The slate features a division bar for orientation between lines two and three, and it includes marker dots every five characters between lines one and two and between lines three and four.
When printing this slate, use the SLS process, and select either durable white nylon or glass filled nylon. Both are durable materials with great impact strength, medium flexibility, and high resistance to environmental factors.
You may also select the parts to go through media tumbling. When media tumbled - Parts go through the standard de-powdering process and are then media tumbled for several hours, the parts will have reduced grow lines and sharp edges may be softened by the tumbling process. The parts are left with an eggshell finish.
The slate comes in two parts which you, as the user, can connect at the hinge. The hinge goes on the left, and the part with the holes is the top half of the slate.