Taras doesn't just print with type, we design, cut and cast type too. Although that journey has just begun, we aim to be a type foundry that is true to the original meaning of the word - melting hot metal to make new type. The experience of casting and cutting physical type presents different limitations than digital typography. Handling physical type informs different practices and encourages design thinking that draws on the breadth of print culture, as well as the calligraphic and manuscript cultures which have been more dominant in Arabic typography historically.
These are Monotype composition matrices, which would be made from punches like those above. The matrix case has space for up to 255 characters, but in the case of Arabic, some characters are larger than one grid space because of vowel markings, diacritical marks or simply an extended ascender or descender.
This video shows the Monotype caster at Paekakariki press in action, casting some of the first hot-metal Arabic type produced in decades probably.
This image shows some of the first Arabic sorts cast on the Monotype caster. Note that many of these incorporate 2 or even 3 letters into one sort (known as a glyph in digital typography). This is necessary to reflect Arabic typographical conventions accurately, although it makes hand setting type much more time consuming!