Introduction: How to Make a Braille Recorder (music)!

Following these steps, you will have your own Braille recorder!

This Instructables will teach you how to design and 3-D print a recorder with braille numbering.

You will need a tinkered account, so go to and register for a free account.

Okay, lets get started with design!

You will also need to download this recorder template before we can begin our design.

Link to download .stl file here:

*You will be using an already established recorder design that I will link to in order to download. If you want to design your own recorder from scratch, this Instructables is not for you.

Step 1: Step 1: Familiarize Yourself With Tinkercad

Make sure you understand your workspace before you can begin working.

The lefthand side of the screen is meant for interacting with the 3-D object itself. The righthand side is meant for shapes to add to the object. Since we are only adding the braile numbers to the design, we will only focus on using the half sphere shape (refer to the picture with the half sphere).

After you feel comfortable with the software, we can head to the second step.

Step 2: Step 2: Importing Your Design

Now that you feel comfortable with your design, you can now begin to import our downloaded design.

Go ahead and click on the import button on the top right corner of the workspace.

You will then be shown an option to "choose a file." Click on that blue button and find your downloaded .stl file. If you missed it, the link to download our recorder template can be found here:

After finding your file, import it and look over the settings provided. You are free to change the dimensions of the design, but for the sake of this tutorial, we will leave all the settings the way they appear.

Click import and our downloaded recorder template should appear on your workspace.

Step 3: Step 3: Identify Where to Place Your Braille Dots.

After looking over the design of the template it is now time to add the individual braille numberings.

For our design we are going to number our holes from 1-3.

From the top to bottom, the holes in the front are going to be numbered 1, 2, and 3 respectively.

Those numbers represent the notes from the recorder.

For reference, attached is the braille alphabet and numeral system. We will use this to create our braille numbers.

Step 4: Step 4: Start Placing Your Braille Dots.

Now that you have your design set and you have that reference sheet ready with you, we can now begin to place the shapes to create braille numbering.

Head over to our first hole on the top portion (located adjacent the windway of the recorder). Zoom in with the software and begin drag the half sphere shapes towards the first hole.

You want the half sphere to be 1mm in length and 0.30mm in width.

You also want to make sure the shape goes beneath the main recorder body. This allows the braille to pop out of the recorder so people can feel it.

Remember to leave all shapes at a 0 degree angle. Any other angle will prevent it from staying flat and having rough edges. Having the shape at a 0 degree angle allows the braille to pop out and have texture.

Repeat this step for holes 2 and 3.

Step 5: Step 5: Save and Download Your Design.

After you have finally finished your design, you are now ready to print. This is the step prior to actually printing the recorder.

BUT before we can export your design, you need to export your work (just in case).

To do that we are going to the right hand corner of the workspace and press the export button.

After pressing the export button, click on the desired file you want to print out. Since we are going to 3-D print, we should focus on the two options that allow us to 3-D print, .obj and .stl files.

You can choose whichever, but for the case of this tutorial, we are choosing the .stl file.

After clicking the .stl file, the file will begin to download to your computer.

Step 6: Step 6: Printing Your New Design

Now you have your .stl file (or equivalent to 3-D print).

If you have easy access to a 3-D printer, then the rest of the process should be simple for you and you can begin printing your design.

If you do not have your own 3-D printer, or have access through one from a 3rd party, like in my case, then the process can be a bit challenging.

In my case, I will be using my school, the University of Florida. They have their own 3-D printer at the Marston Science Library that students at the university can use. If you are also a student of the University of Florida, then you can go online at and submit your request to print out your design. They ask for some information about your design (is it for a class, color, etc.). After that, you will receive a quote on your design, starting at $3.00. This design will cost you $3.00 to print out.

If you are a student at UF, you also have the option of checking out a 3-D printer to use yourself. While it is an option, it recommends that there is a flat surface present with your design. Since this design doesn't have a flat surface to print off of, we cannot use this option for the optimal result we want. If you would like to create more 3-D prints on your own in the future, this certainly is a great option for you to start!

If you do not have immediate access to a 3-D printer, try looking at your area if there are businesses that allow you to rent or use a 3-D printer, or go online and find a company that can do it for you!

Step 7: Step 7: Using Your New Recorder!

You found a 3-D printer and have printed your new design.

Congratulation! You now own a recorder with Braille language on it.

Depending on how your 3-D printer printed out your design, the braille stands out and you can feel the individual dots.

You may or may not be able to produce actual sound...

Only you can find that out.

Now go and enjoy your newly designed 3-D printed braille recorder!