Think your Raspberry Pi is just a small computer good for retro gaming, video streaming and nothing else? Not properly! It’s the perfect project computer that you can use for many practical purposes, from stargazing to desktop replacement.

This means it’s perfect for print projects! Here are six ways to use your Raspberry Pi with a printer, from basic printing to running a 3D printer.

1. Basic Raspberry Pi Printing

You can print to your Raspberry Pi printer in the usual way. Assuming you’re using the Raspbian operating system (it shouldn’t be different if you installed Ubuntu MATE), start by making sure the printer and Raspberry Pi are on the same network.

Then open a terminal window and install the CUPS client software. Do not install the CUPS server software as this will turn your Raspberry Pi into a print server. Scroll down to the next section to learn a little more about it.

sudo apt update sudo apt install cups-client 

Follow the displayed instructions to install the client, then open the configuration file in the nano text editor.

 sudo nano /etc/cups/client.conf 

Here add the following line:

 ServerName [PRINTER.IP.ADDRESS.HERE] 

For example, if the printer’s IP address is 192.168.75.80, enter

 ServerName 192.168.75.80 

Save the file with Ctrl + X then exit. You will be able to print from LibreOffice and other applications.

2. AirPlay wireless printing

With a Wi-Fi dongle connected, or using a Raspberry Pi 3 or later (with built-in Wi-Fi), you can turn a wireless printer into a wireless printer.

What’s more, it can be configured to be AirPlay compatible, which means you can print to your old printer from your iPad!

Connect your printer to the network with Raspberry Pi

This is all thanks to the CUPS software installed this time as a server. Simply connect a USB printer to your Raspberry Pi and configure CUPS properly to install the driver and make the printer wireless. Our guide to building a wireless printer with your Raspberry Pi gives you all the necessary steps.

You shouldn’t leave it there, however. Want to print directly from your iOS or Android mobile device? Adding AirPrint support to the Raspberry Pi print server. Adding AirPrint support to the Raspberry Pi print server. Adding AirPrint support to the server makes this possible, and it’s even easier than setting up CUPS.

Oh, and you can also set it up to print from Android devices too!

3. Google Cloud Printing

Need to print something from your phone, tablet or laptop but are away from home? Google Cloud Print is a great solution for this, but it requires you to have a printer with the right hardware.

Luckily, there is a workaround that uses the Raspberry Pi. You will need a Google account, Chromium browser installed and set up with Google Cloud Print.

All you have to do is open Settings > Advanced settings and find Google Cloud Print . Click » Control devices cloud printing» and sign in to your Google account when prompted. Be sure to check the box Remain in the system, to make sure your printer remains available.

Click Add printer on the device you want to print from for cloud access. After that, you’ll be ready to print from anywhere, as long as you’re logged into the same Google account.

4. Connecting a thermal printer

Not only standard inkjet printers can be connected to the Raspberry Pi. Thermal printers that use special thermal paper can also be connected.

Thermal paper should not be unfamiliar to you. This heat-sensitive paper is commonly printed on ATM receipts, shop receipts, even temporary passes in government buildings. Basically, it is paper with embedded ink, which only appears when heated. The result is readable and can be used for barcodes, QR codes and even photos.

A compact and low power thermal printer may cost more than a budget inkjet printer, but you don’t have to buy ink! If you don’t already have a thermal printer, start with the Adafruit model used in the accompanying video.

Thermal printers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Label printers such as those made by Dymo are usually thermal printers. These are often found in offices, bought mainly to avoid unnecessary printing of a sheet of labels when only one is required.

5. 3D printing with Raspberry Pi

Want to put a Raspberry Pi on your mini production line? If you own a 3D printer (or plan to build one), then the Pi makes a great dedicated system for managing your 3D prints.

There are several projects available that can help you do this, but the most popular one is probably OctoPrint. This is available as a disk image for all Raspberry Pi models, from A to 3B+ as well as Zero and Zero W.

If you know how to install the Raspberry Pi operating system, it should be easy to set up and you can even use the Pi for most 3D printers.

Once launched, you can even print a new case for your Raspberry Pi. When you do, check out our list of 3D printer projects

6. Raspberry Pi Wedding Photo Booth

Planning a party or wedding reception and not sure about wedding stand fees? Simple: create your own!

Wedding photo booths are typically wooden structures that have a push-button camera and a photo printer connected inside. Often the wedding planner will include some fun props and backdrops to create a fun photo.

However, these booths are often hired, so setting up your own photo booth is a good way to save money.

All you need is a Raspberry Pi, a camera module and a suitable printer. For over budget scoring, a label printer or even a thermal printer must work. However, if you want people to remember your big day in high resolution, some portable photo printers can work with the Raspberry Pi.

For example, the LG Pocket Photo printer can receive Bluetooth photos from the Raspberry Pi and display them instantly.

How to print with Raspberry Pi, Recapped

The Raspberry Pi is so compact and flexible that it can do more than just send a document to your printer. We’ve covered six ways to print with the Pi:

  1. Basic local and wireless printing
  2. Create an AirPlay Print Server
  3. Set up Google Cloud Print
  4. Use a thermal printer
  5. Control your 3D printer
  6. Create a wedding photo booth

Looking for more projects? Check out our list of amazing ways to use your Raspberry Pi

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