Category Archives: Uncategorized

Raspberry Pi + Thermal Printer


I’m looking at doing some experimentation with thermal printing, using the same type of device that prints point-of-sale receipts. I found the Adafruit tutorials to be a little incomplete, so here’s how I got my printer up and running.

  1. Download the full version of Raspbian Jessie (Lite will not work).
  2. Open the terminal and type   tar xzvf /path/to/your/file/ (the file is too big to unzip by double-clicking in OSX).
  3. Use ApplePi-Baker to transfer the .img to an SD card (I couldn’t get the official terminal method to work).
  4. Boot up the Pi and follow these instructions.
  5. Connect the printer to a 5V power source. I could only get it to work with a 10A supply, which is rated far above the 2A that the Adafruit tutorial calls for. You can test the printer by holding down the button near the power LED and then turning on the power.
  6. Wire up the printer data lines to the Pi’s GPIO pins. If you use a Pi rev1 like I did, you want pins 6, 8, and 10. Note that the RX and TX lines cross between the Pi and the printer.
  7. If you get a permissions error at the end of the Adafruit tutorial, open the terminal and type  sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin pi (source).
  8. Finish up with these steps for network printing (optional).


Testing Internet Speeds

AT&T tells me you can’t trust sites that test your internet speed. When I had a tech out for repairs today, I was able to ask him for live stats to compare to a few web services. This one matched the AT&T test almost exactly.


My colleague Greg Corness at Columbia College just turned me on to Defamiliarization, or the presentation of common things in an unfamiliar way. This leads to reevaluation of assumptions, and describes my research really well. Here’s a recent article dealing with the topic through the design of the kitchen.

3D Printing Panel and Roundtable Discussion @ New Media Caucus / CAA 2014


I took this opportunity to present examples of my work from the last ten years.  I used to be suspicious of 3D printing, but now I can’t get enough!  Find more info at the NMC website.  Photo (of Tom Burtonwood and various panelists) courtesy of Rachel Clarke.