I have a lot of various passions, and one of them is exotic printing gear.
As a teen I played a lot with electronic typewriters: I had access to two of them as computers quickly replaced them. I could play with the abandoned machines while grown up people would just use a computer and an Inkjet printer to get the real stuff done. Yes, inkjet, because I am not this old and just had the chance to stumble upon old typewriters stored in the attic for years.
They were funny: you could edit one line on the small LCD screen, and pressing the enter key would print the whole line loudly. The result looked the same as with a regular typewriter, but you could tell that it was an electronic one because the pressure applied to each character was uniform; there were no difference in letter opacity compared to a manual typewriter. On regular typewriters, you usually get angry at the machine jamming, fix it, and press a key very strong to prove your point: the result looked like a bold letter compared to the previous ones.
This hobby — with many others — has followed me during college when I bought a cheap USB receipt printer on Amazon with a bunch of paper rolls. Without Amazon I would have not be able to get this imported cheap printer so easily, as professional retailers would charge premium for an Epson thermal printer that was not affordable for someone just wanting to play with. The 30€ or so I payed for a cheap noname copy seemed fair in comparison. I used it to generate various reports as the cost per receipt was (and still is) way lower than printing an A4 sheet using my monochrome laser printer.
Since then, this printer has been connected on my desktop computer for some years and I tinker with it from time to time.
Another printer I acquired more recently, and which also uses the thermal printing technology, is a label printer from DYMO. It is labeled LabelWriter 450 (pun intended) and I picked it because it was compatible with the Linux platform. It works like a charm with CUPS and has helped me label a lot of boxes and stuff around in my attic. This printer also has been connected to my desktop computer for about a year.
As both printers are connected to the desktop, it means that whenever I would like to print a receipt for fun just because I can, or print a label for a shoebox that will store various items, I have to bring on the desktop on. This is quite a hassle, because I usually do most of the stuff using my laptop while reserving my main computer for playing videogames or compiling big stuff.
This is why I am decided to move both thermal printers to my home-assembled NAS computer that always stays on. I will then be able to share them on my local network and print from both the desktop and the laptop.
First step is to physically move them from the desktop to the NAS. As I took cable management quite seriously over the years, a few ziptie cuts away and I can move the printers to their new location, and plug them on both AC power and on the NAS using the now-too-long USB cables.
The two printers are well fitting side by side over the NAS and under the next level of the shelf. For the label printer, the labels can be grabbed quite easily. For the receipt printer however, the paper exit is more in the back and thus less accessible. My idea was to be able to see whatever has been printed without having to tear the paper, but this is now the only option as the receipt will quickly wrap behind the printer because of the upper shelf plate.
The very first label I printed on the LabelWriter was the reference and dimensions of the label roll I originally inserted into the machine, as I was always trying to figure out what where the label dimensions while tinkering with it. This label I sticked on the front of it is now obsolete, as I have changed the unfinished roll for a bigger label size one. However, I did not manage to remove the label properly as it has been applied about a year ago. I tried to pull it but it started to tear down. I am afraid to apply the label remover — that works great but smells like gasoline — as it may attack the printer's plastic along with the label glue, so I did not try this option (yet?).