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Thread: Making ADA Signs

  1. #1
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    Making ADA Signs

    I've started this thread so we can all discuss the different options and techniques commonly used to fabricate ADA signs. There are so many materials available and so many different options it can be difficult deciding which to use for any given project. I understand that often a customer has existing signs and they want new signs made to match, in these cases you really have no choice but to use the existing design and materials.

    I make every effort to convince a customer to allow me to convert their signs in a building to the style I build rather than making a few new signs to match their existing design. The Corian signs I normally offer are radically different than any other style and I have found that it hasn't been difficult to market a complete new set of Corian signs in most cases.

    My current marketing strategy is not just to make a sample sign but to design and fabricate an actual ADA door sign that includes the customers logo and color scheme. I mail the signs to their Architects Office or Purchasing Office with a letter describing the benefits of my design over my competition. I make sure and engrave my company information on the back of the sign, that way my contact information is never separated from the sign itself. If the potential customer doesn't need signs right now they most likely will in the future.

    So everyone may benefit from this discussion please feel free to post your pictures, files or whatever you have concerning this topic. Discuss your designs and techniques plus the materials you use. Questions are certainly welcome, we will all learn something as this thread continues to grow.

    I have attached three files, the first is a Corel Draw X3 drawing that has icons for Men, Women and a wheelchair graphic. Nothing special about these icons just thought that they might help someone who is just getting started. The two pictures are typical of the type of signs I make for CNU.

    This is the link to the company I purchase braille balls from, they offer several colors and ship in small bottles that contain 11,000 balls.
    http://www.brailleballs.com/order.asp
    .
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 11-23-2008 at 8:48 AM.

  2. #2
    I just noticed this on the site where you get your ballz. What do they mean? Isn't braille as public domain as our regular alphabet?

    ***NOTE***If Small Balls are used in the Edgerton method of Braille, a license is required.
    And in a side question, Why do they require Braille on drive through ATM machines?


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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angus Hines View Post
    I just noticed this on the site where you get your ballz. What do they mean? Isn't braille as public domain as our regular alphabet?

    And in a side question, Why do they require Braille on drive through ATM machines?
    Braille is public domain, but Edgerton had a patent on their method for inserting the balls into signs, using a vacuum pickup and insertion tool.

    As for the braille on ATM machines, have you never seen a blind driver? I think I saw one on the way home this morning.

    Seriously, the ATM machines are made for drive thru and walk up, to go in banks, stores and malls, so they are all made the same with braille regardless of where installed.



    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

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  4. #4
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    Braille Font

    Your signs look great!! Where did you get the braille font? I don't happen to have one in my arsenal of fonts.

    Also, what part of your signs do you use the laser with and how are the signs attached?

    What are your estimated selling price per sign?

    Sorry for so many questions..
    Last edited by Lonny Meeks; 11-24-2008 at 9:43 AM.
    Lonny

    Epilog Legend 36EXT 60W - Corel Draw X3 - Photograv 3

  5. #5
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    Lonny,

    There are plenty of places on the Net where you can download free Braille fonts. I have attached one for your convienience.

    My Corian signs are first cut out on a ShopBot CNC router. The contor line around the plaque is machined on the router 1/8" deep with a 60 degree V-Bit. Then the sign blank is cut out with a 1/4" diameter spiral bit. When I started making door signs I cut them on my band saw. If you don't own a CNC router find someone in your local area and outsource your sign blank work to them.

    Once the blanks are cut I route the edge on a router table with a roman ogee bit then I machine two keyholes on the back of the plaque for hanging. At this point if there is painting to do I mask the plaque with tape and paint the contour line, when the paint dries I use a random orbital sander to remove any paint on the surface. This step is done after engraving if there is a logo that has to be painted.

    The blank is then laser engraved, the tactile text and Braille are engraved right at 0.031" deep. I laser cut the letters and numbers from 1/16" thick Rowmark ADA substrate plastic and glue them to the plaque with CA glue.

    The price is reflective of the area that you live like any other product. In my area ADA door signs are in the 45 to 85 dollars per sign range depending on volume. My total material cost is just under $7.00 per sign. Although Corian is a more expensive substrate than other materials you find more frequently my man-hours per plaque is reduced due to the technique I use so I find Corian to be the least expensive in my case and far superior to acrylic door signs. I think the assembly procedure is easier as well, at least it seems that way to me. Another plus for Corian signs is how easy it is to engrave a customers logo into their signs, even logos with very fine detail are easy to do and often they make the sale. Routing the keyholes is possible because Corian is 1/2" thick and in areas that signs are prone to be removed by unauthorized people I use construction adhesive between the mounting screws and they can't be removed.

    So...a building contract with 300 ADA door signs can be in the price range of 13,500 to 25,500 dollars. ADA work is also an area that has the least competition and your chances of winning contracts are much improved over other types of sign work.

    .
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 11-25-2008 at 6:03 AM.

  6. #6
    IS this font the class 2 braille??? or is it just basic braille? I have heard there's a difference, one meets ADA code and the others don't??


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  7. #7
    Grade 2 is not a "font" so to speak, it's more of a language. Grade one is like typing each letter out, one by one, grade 2 is where contractions of common sounds and phrases are put together.

    You cannot type in text and then just change the font to Braille. It doesn't work like that. You have to convert the text to the characters that will make up the grade 2 fonts. You have to do that with a program, or either you'll be spending hours converting it all over manually.
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  8. #8
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    Angus,

    Scott is dead on concerning Grade II Braille. It isn't as difficult as you might think though, there is a program that is about 20 bucks that includes a Braille Interpreter but it is a bit clunky to use.

    If you can convince our System Administrator Aaron Koehl to make his Corel Draw Braille script available the task is a snap. Aaron can use a public domain interpreter, free font and his script and all you have to do is type what you want and you have grade 2 Braille from the menu in Corel Draw.

    I have asked Aaron several times to make it available...you may have better luck especially if you guys gang up on him

    .

  9. #9
    OK I get it now one is just letters and the other is more like 'signing to the deaf'. Instead of using each letter you simply use expressions and simple motions.

    Also, I just PM'D the Doctor hope he joins in here and shares.


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  10. #10
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    I had the same question Angus. I found this website that breaks down the letter combos and explains the grades - www.omniglot.com/writing/braille.htm. Also, thanks to Keith, if you do a Google search on Rowmark ADA substrate plastic, they provide some excellent info along with a couple of websites.
    Lonny

    Epilog Legend 36EXT 60W - Corel Draw X3 - Photograv 3

  11. #11
    Thanks Lonny I'll check those out.


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  12. #12
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    For those of you who are having problems figuring out how to implement grade 2 Braille and are hesitant to consider ADA work because it is confusing I totally understand how you feel. I went through the same thing a couple of years ago and it took me awhile to learn how to use Braille in my door sign designs. Early on my technique was horrible and time consuming so our System Administrator Aaron Koehl created a Corel Draw script that streamlined the process, in fact his script made Braille as easy as using any other font.

    All you need is a Braille font, an interpreter to convert the braille font to grade 2 braille and Aaron's script that puts a Braille button on the Corel Draw menu bar and calls the interpreter whenever you need to insert grade 2 braille.

    Visit this thread for more information.

    Aaron has finally agreed to make his braille script available in the next couple of days.
    .
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 11-27-2008 at 9:16 AM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Outten View Post

    This is the link to the company I purchase braille balls from, they offer several colors and ship in small bottles that contain 11,000 balls.
    http://www.brailleballs.com/order.asp

    .
    Keith,

    Can you explain what Braille Balls are and how they are used?

    Bill

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    They are pesky little buggers that dance around on their own in a plastic bad from the static electricity.

    When you next pass a newer braille sign, feel the braille and look closely. It's the ball that is inserted into the hole to make the raised dot the blind person uses to feel text. Most are acrylic though some are metal.

    Keith's source, and McMaster Carr, sell them without having to get the license from the Raster (TM) people.



    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

  15. #15
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    And today..I looked at some plans for a new school and the ADA signage was indicated as CAST POLYESTER RESIN-1/4" thick. Of course it indicated typical ADA tactile letters and braille. I was wondering if anyone was familiar with this material for signs and will my laser punch the holes for the braille in it. I am pretty sure the signage is in an allowance, so I am intending to send the architect and owner a sample of my solid surface signs and a letter similar to Keith. But, the question is about the polyester resin. Anyone?
    Last edited by Larry Bratton; 02-06-2009 at 10:07 PM.
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