Blocky selfie printer

Pipsta Printer for Raspberry Pi


The Pipsta printer is a small thermal printer that allows you to print such things as labels, tickets, bar codes and QR codes directly from a Raspberry Pi. We’ve recently had the chance to build one up and try it out to see what it can do.

The Pipsta printer works with various models of Raspberry Pi; including the model A+, B+ and Pi 2. It comes in kit form, with the various bits you need to build up the printer, plus a couple of rolls of thermal paper to get you started.

http://cpc.farnell.com/pipsta/pipsta/thermal-printer-for-raspberry/dp/SC13957

We were really impressed with the thoroughness of the online documentation, which went into full detail of how the bits go together; making the build experience quite a pleasant one.

Pipsta build instructions

It did get a little fiddly in places; you know, the thing where you’ve got bits of Perspex balancing against each other while you’re trying to hold 2 cables in place and stop one of the cables getting jammed between other bits while you’re trying to connect a wire to a pin, whilst inserting cable A into socket X and cable B into socket Y, etc., etc. However, once it’s all put together it’s a really nice looking piece of tech., that works really well.

Pipsta Printer

Pipsta Printer

Pipsta Printer

Pipsta Printer

The documentation for setting up the software is equally thorough, and walks you through all the steps required to get the Raspbian operating system installed, how to install all the additional software libraries required by the printer, and links to instructions on how to get hold of example programs to allow you to print in various formats.

Pipsta software setup

There are example programs (all written in Python) for printing text, graphics, QR codes, banners, and others. Additionally, there’s even a utility to allow you to print directly from an Android device using NFC.

https://bitbucket.org/ablesystems/pipsta/downloads

The download area also provides a utility to allow you to upgrade the printer firmware.

Having completed the setup of our Pipsta printer, we clearly needed a good way to show it off to it’s full potential; so what better way than to use it to print off Minecraft blocky selfies in our very own Minecraft blocky selfie photo booth. For details of this, check out our blog post:-

http://www.makerspace-uk.co.uk/minecraft-blocky-selfies/

Blocky selfie printer

Blocky selfie printer

The updated code for printing our Minecraft blocky selfies can be found at:-

https://github.com/makerspaceuk/RaspberryPi/blob/master/Minecraft/BlockySelfiePrint.py