Swellpaper (also called microcapsule, puff or fuser paper) is a heat sensitive paper and contains chemical ingredients that swell up to form a raised texture. Whereas braille embossers will use lines made up of individual braille dots, designs printed on swellpaper have more fluid, continuous lines that retain more detail.
Once the design has been printed with an inkjet printer, the paper has to be heated in a special oven in order to produce the braille texts and tactile images. In this process, any areas on the paper with black ink will swell to form the relief.
Laser printers are not recommended for swellpaper as the high-temperature environment can cause the paper to swell inside the printer, resulting in a serious paper jam.
Optimise braille dot diameter
Swell-paper produced by various companies (such as Tangible Magic Paper, ZyTex, Flexi-Paper and Matsumoto) are all suitable for tactile graphics. Each brand has slightly different properties in terms of the required temperature and duration of heating. It takes some experience to find the optimal settings for the particular paper that you are using, so make sure do some thorough tests to find out which combination of temperature and heating time works best.
Depending on the oven temperature, the braille dots might raise either too much or not sufficiently, making them no longer distinguishable as individual braille dots. To compensate for this effect, the diameter of the dots can be adjusted by choosing ‘Text label presentation: on print’ from the Settings menu and increasing or decreasing the size of braille dots.
Printing text combining visual font with braille
The normal font (visual characters) of braille labels can be printed in a lighter colour. To avoid the text being raised when heated in the oven, make sure to select a colour other than black in ‘Text label presentation: on print’ as the ‘Text colour on print’. For example, a green or blue works well for visual readability.