Wireless technology is perhaps the best improvement for home printing in years. Less cables, flexibility in printer placement – it’s profitable. Unless you have an older printer.
While new printers are affordable, you may have used enough of your last printer that it’s not worth the expense. In addition, your old printer may have a special feature that may be too expensive to replace.
Solution? Make your old printer wireless. There are many solutions available, but one popular choice is to use the Raspberry Pi as a wireless print server.
Benefits of wireless printing
If you haven’t already enjoyed the benefits of wireless printing, this is definitely the place to start. But why bother with wireless printing?
- The printer is no longer connected to the computer
- Any device can print to it (laptop, smartphone or tablet)
- No more endless cables
- The wireless functionality of the current wireless printer is defective
The purpose of wireless printing is indeed to make printing flexible – an ideal project for the Raspberry Pi. The beauty of this solution is that it runs on Windows, macOS, and other Linux computers.
Preparing for wireless printing with Raspberry Pi
To set up a wireless printer on an old, built-in device, you need a Raspberry Pi with built-in Wi-Fi.
Wireless connections are:
With older devices, make sure you have connected the wireless USB Donglin to your Raspberry Pi and connected the device to the network. Pi should be running the latest version Raspbian installed on SD card.
You will also need:
- USB printer (a parallel printer connected to a parallel USB adapter can work)
- Printer power supply and USB cable
- Wireless license information
Start and update your Raspberry Pi for printing
Start by combining everything. Your printer must be connected to the Raspberry Pi and turned on. Use Raspberry Pi with either the keyboard and monitor or remote connection using SSH, VNC or RDP
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To update, open the terminal and enter:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
This will check for software updates and upgrades as needed. Follow the instructions on the screen until this is complete.
Configuring Raspberry Pi as a print server with a cup
Once the device is connected and installed, you must first make sure that the USB printer is recognized.
Open a command prompt (either directly on the Raspberry Pi or over SSH) and type:
A list of connected USB devices appears. Check it and identify your printer.
You will then need to install the open source file sharing software Samba. This can be done by typing a command.
sudo apt install samba
Follow all on-screen instructions. Next, it’s time to install CUPS, the common Unix printing system (Note that you must first install Samba).
sudo apt install cups
CUPS provides drivers for your printer. Many manufacturers offer Linux drivers, but if they are not available, use this.
You are now ready to add the default user to the printer administrator group.
sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin pi
By default, CUPS does not allow access from another device. To fix this, configure CUPS to accept connections from, for example, your computer’s browser and restart the service:
sudo cupsctl --remote-any sudo /etc/init.d/cups restart
Adding a printer
Next, you need to set up your printer with the Raspberry Pi. Switch to the Raspberry Pi desktop, launch your browser and go 127.0.0.1:631 and switch administration tab. Alternatively, browser directly 127.0.0.1:631/admin/
care about Add a new one enter the printer, enter your Raspbian credentials when prompted, and select the printer from the list. To move to the next screen, select the correct device from the list.
Next, confirm the information and enter a name, then check Share this printer and click Continue.
Depending on the device manufacturer, loading the next page may take some time because the device driver names are being downloaded. Select the correct printer driver (which should be selected by default) and continue.
Alternatively, click Select another make / manufacturer and select Raw. This means that the device you are printing is processing the driver.
click on Add a printer, then Set the default settings. Moments later, the printer is ready to begin receiving jobs. Click to make sure it works maintenance and select Print a test page.
Connect to a Raspberry Pi print server
When all is done, you need to make sure access to your Raspberry Pi is enabled. For MacOS, this is the default, but for Windows, some additional configuration is required. Once this is done, you can start printing.
Edit the samba configuration file /etc/samba/smb.conf. There are two ways to do this:
- Open the file on the desktop and make changes in a text editor
- Use sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf to edit the file in the terminal
The following should add:
# CUPS printing. See also the cupsaddsmb(8) manpage in the # cupsys-client package. printing = cups printcap name = cups [printers] comment = All Printers browseable = no path = /var/spool/samba printable = yes guest ok = yes read only = yes create mask = 0700 # Windows clients look for this share name as a source of downloadable # printer drivers [print$] comment = Printer Drivers path = /usr/share/cups/drivers browseable = yes read only = yes guest ok = no workgroup = your_workgroup_name wins support = yes
You will need to enter the Windows workgroup name to replace workgroup_name – this is usually the case Workgroup):
Press Ctrl + X Save and exit, then restart samba:
sudo systemctl restart smbd
Start printing from Windows and macOS
Samba takes a few seconds to restart. You can now go to your computer and add a new printer. First check that the Raspberry Pi is visible by opening Windows Explorer> Network.
go to Control Panel> Hardware and Sound> Devices and Printers> Advanced Printer Settings and wait for the system to scan.
A faster option is to expand your Raspberry Pi entry in the online view of Windows Explorer. Right-click the printer and select Connect, select your Windows printer driver and start printing.
In the meantime, Mac users can add a new printer as usual.
Any administration of the print server that needs to be performed can be done by opening http: //[RPI.IP.ADDRESS.HERE]: 631. This displays the CUPS printer administrator network interface on any network device.
You made a DIY print server with the Raspberry Pi
If you have made progress so far, the Raspberry Pi-powered print server should be running. You have just brought a non-wireless printer online that allows you to print wirelessly to it from any device.
This is just one of many awesome projects that you can build on a Raspberry Pi computer
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