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how to Embosse pictures on metal or any other surface?

Now this si very crazy but I am looking for a way to do something different. I am affiliated with an organization which would work for developing sense of Arts in teh visually challenged / blind students. My upcoming project is to let them take photograph from a camera handed over to them. The problem lies where I cna not think of a simpler way to make them feel what they have taken as a snap shot. My idea is to get the photos printed and transfer them on surfaces as they are and emboss them somehow so that the blind students can feel the raised surfaces and feed in their memory what is purely their photography.
I can emboss it on metal but I am anticipating that doing that by hand would be a lot of work because there will be many students. Is tehr ea way I can do that quickly? An easy way to transfer the print on any surface and get them embossed ... something. Any clue? Please see the following link:

If I can get this made, or anything near to it. It would be awesome.

10 Replies

jtobako (author)2010-02-22

Use black and white film, then use one of the photo-resist polymers to make a 3D stamp that they can feel.

Scientist Within (author)jtobako2010-02-23

do u have online refrences for that?

jtobako (author)Scientist Within2010-02-23


just from a quick look around...

RavingMadStudios (author)2010-02-22

Well, you could:
a) use the digital picture file as input (after conversion) for a CNC mill or router, and engrave the pictures into metal or plastic,
or you could:
b) manipulate the images into high-contrast B&W, and then use the toner transfer process as a mask to chemically etch or electroform the image onto a copper plate.

I'm sure there are plenty of other ways, too.

I'd go for your CNC mill method, its not as fast as etching, but it would be easier for someone who is visually impaired to inspect and setup.


Not to mention the lack of dangerous chemicals. Of course, toner-transfer etching is much cheaper to set up than a CNC rig, so there's that.
I was also thinking that maybe gray values in a photo could be used as a depth indication, kind of like a topo map, and then the photos could be printed up on a 3-D printer (or "rapid prototyper" for the purists).

Yes, you can get CAM/CNC software like Mach 3 which turns brightness into depths for you automagically.


I'm thinking that's probably the way to go, then.

I think I am too non technical for this. Is there a step by step instruction available online? And If I may tell, its self financed so anything that economical will do.

Of my two suggestions, the toner-transfer etch is by far the more economical. Click on the link in my original response for several full instructables about etching a PCB using the toner transfer process. The only difference is that you would be using a sheet of copper instead of a circuit board, and you should etch longer because the copper is thicker. You can also use jtobako's suggestion of a photoresisttechniqueinstead of iron-on toner to etch a copper plate, but the supplies are a bit more expensive.

All in all, I think jtobako's photopolymer stamp idea is probably best for your needs and resources. Here's a link to a pretty good online tutorial for that process.