I had two bits of unused hardware knocking around – a Raspberry Pi that used to run my Go Free Range weather printer (the thermal printer broke – another story), and an old Samsung ML-1510 black and white laser printer that was pretty useless to me as you can’t get up-to-date Mac OS X drivers for it. The laser printer only cost me about £40 when new, but I hate seeing things go to waste.
I wondered if it was possible to glue them together – turn the Raspberry Pi into a print server that I could leave on all the time plugged into the laser printer. And, dear reader, it is possible. And incredibly easy. Using this guide: http://www.bartbania.com/index.php/cups-raspberry-printer/ I had it working in about 30 minutes.
The only thing I’d add is that you should update your Pi by typing
sudo apt-get update
at the command line before installing CUPS. But other than that, it worked like a dream. I couldn’t see a link called ‘Do Adminstration Tasks’, but when I went to the web page for managing the print server on my laptop and tried to change the settings to share my new / old laser printer to the network, I was challenged for a password, and provided the user name and password for my Raspberry Pi login. I added the printer by turning it on, and plugging its USB socket into the Pi’s remaining free socket and clicking on the ‘add printer’ button on the web page. I searched for Samsung and found the ML-1510 in the list – a relief after lots of OS X driver hell for this printer. (The Pi’s other USB socket has a wifi dongle in it. This is a ‘headless’ Pi with no screen, keyboard or mouse, and I control it at the command line by using SSH from another computer).
So now, on an Apple Laptop, if I go to print, I see my Samsung printer listed ‘@raspberrypi’. I fired up Word and printed a ‘Hello World!’
A useless laser printer and unloved Pi are now doing useful work once more, and I’m hoping we can print our essays out a bit more crisply and more cheaply than on our ink jet printer. We can print from our iMac, our iPhones, laptops and even from our old iPad (although not, at the moment, from an Android tablet). Not a bad result for half an hour’s tinkering.
As for my thermal printer… well, that’s another story…
Perhaps I can write a script to print the BBC Weather page every morning at 6am…
I just remembered why I bought the laser printer in the first place – I wanted to get into Print Gocco print making. And then they stopped making Print Goccos. Why? Why why why why? The Chinese can put a probe on the moon, but the Japanese can’t make Goccos any more? Oh what days we live in…