Networked Printer

After having the home printer on a chair for a few weeks, unused and somewhat in the way, I figured it was time to find it a more permanent home somewhere in the house. Now, I had already figured that the Raspberry Pi 4 I own would be perfect for printing server duties, since it’s low power and it is always on. The challenge was the space. There really isn’t much space available for it anywhere else in the house, so the only place left would be in the bottom shelf of my desk, assuming I could either find a better place to store a few forgotten things that were there, or get rid of them.

The other thing that I was afraid of was that it’d be complicated to set up on Linux, whether it be due to driver issues or something else; or that it wouldn’t be compatible with every other machine in the house except mine. I don’t necessarily mind fiddly set ups, but since this is meant to service the entire house I figured it should be easy to use.

As it turns out, it was easy (though I recommend using google for an actual tutorial, if that’s what you need):

  1. Connect the printer to the Pi via USB
  2. Ensure the printer is powered (noted here because I forgot!)
  3. Install cups from the distribution’s repositories
  4. Add my user to the printer mangament group
  5. Go to web management user interace’s administration section
  6. Add printer, following the onscreen instructions
  7. Ensure printer sharing is enabled (there is a checkbox)
  8. Try printing from your phone and discover it’s essentially already configured and ready to print

The last point is the one that caught me off-guard. The last I had heard about printing from Android was because Google ‘s Cloud Print was getting sunset and I figured that I could probably still print, but it’d involve setting some things up first. What I did not expect was for it to just show up on the list of available printers without me doing anything. Hooray!

The new home of my printer. It has a insulation left-over to hold the paper up.

Of course, these kinds of small projects need a wrinkle in them. For some reason my parent’s couldn’t see or use the printer despite having the phones being the same model. While I suspect it might have been related to some networking issue, the issue went away shortly after. I think it might resurface, but for now, I’m just happy. There is only one person who needs to try this and ensure it works, which is my sister, but I suspect it’s going to work rather well there too.