World’s first flexible 3D printed book that integrates Braille, words, and illustrations
There is no better project to honor Mundial Sight Day than ‘Silence’ than the first tactile and flexible 3D printed book. ‘Silencio’, which means Silence in English language, is the final year project of graphic designer Jennifer Martín-Lorente. Inside the book, you can find the collection of poems that Néstor Toribio Ruiz wrote by way of micro-stories. Stories that relate feelings and sensory experiences, in many synesthetic occasions. In order to make it accessible to everyone, the book integrates the Braille system, lettering, and illustrations in relief. In short, a book to be read with the senses.
The process of creating the book ‘Silence’
Usually, a Braille book is quite expensive. Therefore, the biggest benefit of ‘Silence’ is that it is an open-source model. This means that anyone with an FDM 3D printer can download the file and print it from home, making it even more accessible to everyone. However, authors of the project say that it can be a complex 3D printing process, as it is a very flat object. Clearly, we must take a series of parameters into account when 3D printing. The extrusion temperature should be between 230ºC and 240ºC, and the retractions should be as fast and distant as possible. The designer did dozens of tests with different laminators, but in the end, she ended up making the printing profiles and generating the gcodes with the Cura version 15.04.6 laminator.
The importance of the material used to print ‘Silence’
The material is a key part of the project! Given that ‘Silence’ is a book designed to be touched, both its texts and its illustrations in relief to give accessibility to blind people, it was essential to making the book pleasant to the touch. In the research phase, Jennifer did the first tests with PLA, but the stiffness of the filament was not adequate to be read by touch. Among the different materials, Jennifer Martin-Lorente opted for the Filaflex filament, from the manufacturer Recreus. The flexible filament Filaflex is a very versatile material with which to imitate the flexibility of a page and not lose definition when capturing the text and the other elements that make up the book. In this way, Filaflex offers a comfortable and pleasant experience when fingerprinting the Braille and illustrations.
Jennifer comments: “3D printing offers total autonomy when it comes to product design”. In that sense, flexible Filaflex filament is an innovative material with unique qualities for creating projects in any design sector. Other advantages of this material is that it is very resistant, easy to fold, can be washed and does not wrinkle, making it a perfect option for this project.
To date, the ‘Silence’ book archive has already achieved more than 2,000 downloads. If you want to see it in person, you can go to the PRINT 3D exhibition at CosmoCaixa Barcelona, where it will be exposed to the public until September 2021. You can find more information on the Tactile book official website.
Undoubtedly, 3D printing is a successful technology in many sectors, being able to make great innovations with it, as is the case with this solidarity project. What do you think of the Tactile 3D printed book ‘Silence’’? Leave your comments on the section below.