Music Notes for Visually Impaired

Prints (0)


Scroll down to the bottom for a summary of all this and print settings :)

Hello! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Erik Johnson and I am a Freshman (9th grade) student at Vernon Hills High School in the Chicagoland Area. I have always had an interest in 3D printing and electronics ever since I was just a kid. I have been playing the Trumpet since 5th grade, and just started with the French Horn.

What is it exactly?

This project consists of 4 different designs (for now. I plan to add more in the future when I have more time after school is out of session) The designs are different notes used for composition of music in orchestras, bands, and choirs. These notes represent a different amount of a measure you play a certain tone in the music. All of the notes have braille lettering incorporated into them. The braille lettering is incorporated in a way that it doesn't disrupt the actual shape of the note. The first one is an eighth note, it looks like it is two small quarter notes connected by a line. In music, you play this for an eighth of a measure, depending upon what your time signature is. The second design is a quarter note, it looks like a lowercase "b" that's filled in. In music, you play this note for a quarter of a measure, depending upon what your time signature is. The third design is a half note. The half note looks like a lowercase "d". In music composition and reading, this means that you play for, you guessed it, a half of a measure. The last design is a whole note. It looks like an italicized "o" You play this note for the full length of a measure. 

How did I come up with the idea?

About a month ago, I was sitting in band and somehow we got on the topic about how you can't feel music, and I didn't really think much of that phrase until I saw this contest and then it hit me. People that have impaired vision can't really read music. From there, I did a bit of research and saw that there are ways for blind people to read music, but it takes a lot of practice and it's almost a completely different language than english braille. I wanted to keep children in elementary schools in mind for this, so I couldn't have it too difficult to read, and couldn't use the braille music language because they probably don't know it yet. 

How did I design it?

I decided to start out with the most basic notes in music composition so that teachers of young children could incorporate these designs into their music class curriculum. I did a bit of research and found the free online design program, Tinkercad. I chose this software because it isn't as much of a software as it is a website. I needed it to be compatible with my school Chromebook, so I could work on these designs at school and elsewhere. I then went to the website and started messing around with it. They give you a pretty nice tutorial when you first load it up and it helped me get started. I scanned in photos of notes my band teacher had, cleaned up the image a bit in photoshop, and then converted it into a SVG file. Once I had these SVG files, I imported them right into Tinkercad and was able to extrude them up like you would any object in the software. I started with the quarter note, made it a size I thought would be suitable to hold in the hands, and printed it on my cheap 3D printer kit I have. I gave it to a couple of friends, blindfolded them and asked them what they thought of it. I took their suggestions and made it into a final size and put the braille words on it. The braille lettering is using the standards set in the refrence sheet at the contest page. 

What's the use?

These models are designed to be used in a school or educational environment that wants to teach people who don't know much about music. These can be implemented into classroom curriculums and even just used for playing around with. You can print out multiple of these, play a simple music sample, and have students make the rhythm out of the notes. 


I am leaving the designs as open-source so that teachers and students can go ahead and tweak the design to their liking with the easy website Tinkercad, or even export it into their CAD software of choice. 

- Eighth Note:

- Quarter Note:

- Half Note:

- Whole Note:


These designs are different music notes with braille lettering on them. They are very easy to print and if you would like to tinker with the design, the links to the Tinkercad designs are above.

Print Settings

  • Quality/Layer Height: 0.15mm or smaller
  • Perimeters: Doesn't matter
  • Infill: I used 20%, but any should work
  • Supports: None!
  • Scaling: 100% to keep braille text at it's necessary size
  • Build Adhesion: Whatever works best for your build plate/ printer (I used skirt with gaff tape on the heated plate

Feel free to mess around with settings and post what works for you in the comments! 

Thank you for taking the time to look at my design! 

I know that this is a simple design. I wanted to keep the design simple enough for anybody to go in and edit the design and make it to their specifications. I also wanted to make it extremely easy to print. It is simple by design.

Also, I plan to add more designs for notes, time signatures, and tempos. Please comment down below if you would like to see anything specific, and I will do my best to try and make it happen!

Ignore the stringing marks on my prints, those are from my printer itself, and are not in the model.

Link to video:

Design Files

File Size

644 KB
384 KB
1.74 MB
783 KB


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