Use of a PIAF machine to produce tactile graphics for science

Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) will often find it necessary to produce a tactile graphic for a student when one is not available in the text.  The PIAF (Pictures in a Flash) is a very useful tool for creating tactile graphics quickly from a print copy.

The image is of a tactile graphic produced by Jim Clark and adapted from the FOSS Magnetism and Electricity kit. 

Materials needed

  • PIAF machine
  • Swell paper
  • Xerox machine
  • Print copy of the image


  1. Download the image
  2. Fit the image to a standard size piece of paper, 8.5"X11"
  3. Xerox the image onto swell paper (This paper is called Puff paper in Canada.)
  4. Run the swell paper through the PIAF machine. (In Canada, this machine is known as a Puffer.)
  5. The printed image becomes a tactile graphic in seconds.

PIAF machine collage

Read more about: Science Adaptations, Science, STEM