It’s no secret that thermal receipt printers can print much more than receipts, but this Raspberry Pi project, created by a maker known as -PJFry- on Reddit, has taken the idea to a new extreme. With the help of a Raspberry Pi Zero, they’ve coded an application to print huge, poster-sized images one strip at a time on their thermal printer.
Inspiration for this project came from similar online projects where users print large-scale images using regular printers or thermal printers like the one used in this project. In this case, however, -PJFry- coded the project application from scratch to work on the Pi Zero. It works by taking an image and breaking it into pieces that fit across the width of the receipt printer and printing it one strip at a time. Then, these strips can be lined up to create a full-sized image.
It is the only microelectronics project we can find that -PJFry- has shared, but it’s clear they have a great understanding of our favorite SBC to craft something this creative from scratch. According to -PJFry-, the project wasn’t created for efficiency but more for fun as a proof of concept. The result is exciting and provides an artistic take on the Raspberry Pi’s potential.
In the project thread, -PJFry- explains that a general thermal printer was chosen to drive this project but insists that any other thermal printer should do for anyone looking to make their version of the project. Additionally, -PJFry- chose to use a Raspberry Pi Zero; however, there is no reason this wouldn’t work for another model like a 3B+ or Pi 4.
Controlling the thermal printer required using a Python library known as python-escpos, available on GitHub. -PJFry- developed the code for the giant image printing application but, as of writing, is not publically available. Although, you can find similar creations around the internet for inspiration which is how this one was created.
If you want to recreate this Raspberry Pi project or get a closer look at how it goes together, check out the original project thread shared on Reddit. Be sure to follow -PJFry- for future projects and any updates on this one.
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Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.