braille printing using stereocopier

RAYNER Peter peter.rayner at
Fri Jul 23 04:40:25 UTC 2004

A little trick for a dire emergency ... although I'd like to know how
to get the final steps in the recipe below to work.

I was giving  a seminar this morning and forgot to print my notes
before I left home.  I don't have a braille printer at work.  What to
do?  Suicide, go home (1.5 hours) , wing it ... 
Normally it's just: 
create file "text" containing notes then
nfbtrans  text >/dev/lp0
I *do* have a stereocopier  at work for graphics so wondered if I
could produce braille on paper then raise it with the stereocopier.
It almost worked.
nfbtrans text > brlfile
no problem there.
Then the task is to print brlfile using  a2ps and the braille font.   
First need to install the braille font for a2ps
1) copy Braille.afm to the afm subdirectory of a2ps, in my case (RH7.3
... don't laugh :-)
2) In this directory run
3) copy the actual font definition  to the   fonts subdirectory 
cp /usr/share/a2ps/fonts/Braille.pfa

Next we need a prologue.  These live in the ps subdirectory.
cd ../ps
Following the advice of the info man page I modified an existing file,
changing only one line in
< %Face: Plain Courier bfs
> %Face: Plain Braille-Nemeth bfs

Then a command like 
a2ps  --prologue braille --no-header  -f 24. -1 -P file brlfile
almost works.
It produces
Only the font sizes didn't work and I can't seem to get the -f option
to take effect.  
Eventually, 10 minutes before the seminar, I gave up and asked a
colleague  to do magic with the photocopier.  Anyone have a solution
to this?
Anyway, $2/page so not something you'd do very often but a useful
trick in an emergency and good for a few pages a year.

I think I've sent details of the braille font before.  If someone
gneeds it and can't find it, get back to me.  

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