Woodworking for the blind


Digital talking Tools

This is a companion article for the talking tool conference call of June 2016. call recording This article will cover: *1. some of the different devices and where they can be purchased. However, This is in no way a complete list. *2. Using a Raspberry PI for speech output.

Materials Needed:

There are 3 things required to make this solution work. 1. The measuring tool. 2. A data box and proper cable. 3. A Raspberry PI computer.

Data Box:

First let's look at the data box. The box is about 2 inches by 3 inches. On one end there is a cable with a standard USB connector. The USB connector plugs into the Raspberry PI or a standard computer or any device with a USB host port such as a Braille Note. On the other end is a 10 pin male shrouded connector. (Shrouded means it has a notch so the cable will only plug in one way). This is for the cable from the tool. On the top there is a single push button. This button is pressed to tell the tool to send data. The data box is in it's self a small computer. It converts the electrical signals into standard characters . So the PI or a computer sees it as a standard input device, such as a keyboard. Only one data box is required and cost $69.00.

Raspberry PI:

A Raspberry PI is a small $35 computer that runs the Linux operating system. For this solution we used the latest PI 3 model B Note: The $5 Raspberry PI 0 will not work. How it works is beyond the scope of this article. However, if you would like to read more about it, here is some links to more information. Raspberry PI Foundation Physical Board Description

While a bare PI may cost $35 you really need a kit. The kit will include the PI3 board, a micro SD card, an A/C adapter, A data cable and case. There are many places to buy a kit, but the one we used is at the bottom of this article. The PI will not just work straight out of the box. See: Setup the Raspberry PI for full setup instructions.

Now if you buy the kit and mail me just the SD card I will configure it for you and send it back.

IGaging Measuring Tools:

There are many tools and brands that will work with this solution. They include calipers, micrometers, digital read outs and many others. For this article I have included just 3 from IGaging. We used IGaging for their low cost and quality. As of this writing June 18, 2016 the best place to buy the tools and data box is from The Craftsman Gallery The Data Box and cables are not currently listed on the site. Follow the link and talk to Louis Step and he will make sure you get the right box and cable. Contact Craftsman Gallery Important Note: Not all digital devices will work or even have an output port. Only the ones listed here we are sure of. The things to look for with other tools is an output port and the SPC protocol.

  1. 3rd generation angle cube Angle Cube $34.95

  2. 6 inch Caliper: $39.95 Note a 12 inch is also available. ** As of this writing there is no part number for the data box on his web site. Call him and ask him to add it to your order. Data Box and cables $69.00 Amazon.com IGaging 6inch digital read out(DRO) $64.95

--end of product list *** Note: On the conference call we mentioned a height gage. We do not recommend this product and think it will be discontinued.

Raspberry PI

Amazon.com Raspberry PI Starter Kit $69.95

Raspberry SD card

To use a Raspberry PI computer as a speech box it needs some setup and configuration. I will write how to do this in another article sometime. It requires some computer skills and knowledge of Linux. In the mean time you can just send me your micro SD card. I will configure it and send it right back to you. Please call me and give me a heads up that it will be coming. Mail it to: Darrel Vickers 1527 East 6th Street Washington, MO 63090

End of article