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Mepits

Wireless printers offer a lot of flexibility in choosing where you place your printer and where you want to work. While they are becoming very popular it is not possible for everyone to have the luxury of a brand new wireless printer. Fortunately you can turn your printer into one with the help of Raspberry Pi. We will make use of the CUPS printing system and Avahi or Samba in doing.

CUPS:

CUPS is a printing system originally developed by Michael Sweet for Unix-like operating systems under the GNU General Public License(GPL) and now owned by Apple Inc. It uses the Internet Printing Protocol(IPP) that allows it to run locally over the internet.

Like all systems that run on the internet CUPS has client and server components. If you have a printer connected to your computer you need CUPS server to use it but for using a shared computer you only need the client. To make your printer available to a Windows machine you can install samba   cups

In CUPS all print jobs are first sent to a scheduler. These jobs are forwarded to a filter system which does the necessary conversion of formats. A backend then sends this data to a printer or a network.

Avahi:

Avahi is a free software licensed under GPL that helps in advertising network services. It automates network generation using the zeroconf technology and is very useful in sharing resources over a network; in our case, a printer.

Samba:

Samba is a cross-platform suite that ensures interoperability among Windows and Unix-like computers by providing services for clients using the SMB/CIFS protocol. In our case it lets us share our wireless printer with a Windows machine.

Steps for turn any printer into  wireless printer using Raspberry Pi:

Step1 :- Ensure that you have internet connectivity and update the packages on your Raspberry Pi.

Commands :-

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

Step2 :- Install the packages necessary for setting up a CUPS printing system.

Command :-

sudo apt-get install avahi-daemon avahi-discover libnss-mdns cups cups-pdf python-cups

Step3 :- Add your username on Raspberry Pi to the CUPS server.

Command :-

sudo usermod -aG lpadmin pi

Step4 :- Check if CUPS and Avahi are properly installed.

Commands :-

sudo /etc/init.d/cups start

sudo /etc/init.d/avahi-daemon start

Step 5 :- Configure CUPS

After ensuring everything is fine we shall set the port which is to be listened to. Open the cupsd.conf file and put a hash-tag in the beginning of the line that reads "Listen localhost:631" to comment it out. Add a new line that reads "Port 631". Another change to be made is to add * directive before <Location /> that follows the comment "# Restrict access to the server..." so as to let CUPS be used with any hostname. Finally add the lines "Order allow,deny" and "Allow @Local" after each comment that contains "Restrict access to". Save the new configuration file and restart cups.

Commands :-

sudo nano /etc/cups/cupsd.conf

sudo /etc/init.d/cups restart

cups

Step 6 :- Enabling sharing of printer

Find the IP address of your Pi using ifconfig command and run it along with the port number to enter the CUPS web interface. Ignore any warnings and enter the "Admin" tab and enable sharing of printers.

Step 7 :- Setting up the local printer

The local printer can be easily set up by connecting it to a USB port and making use of the CUPS web interface. Fill in the required information and enable sharing of the printer. The web interface will then ask for drivers and settings. Enter them appropriately and take a print out of a test page.

Step 8:- Setting up Avahi (For Apple devices)

Create a directory airprint inside the /opt directory and move to that directory. Make use of wget to download a Python file that will help us generate the services required for wireless printing. take ownership of the file using chmod. Finally generate the services by placing the script in the avahi services folder. In case any error messages are displayed follow step 9.

Commands :-

cd ../../opt

sudo mkdir airprint

cd airprint

sudo wget -O airprint-generate.py --no-check-certificate https://raw.github.com/tjfontaine/airprint-generate/master/airprint-generate.py

sudo chmod 755 airprint-generate.py

sudo ./airprint-generate.py -d /etc/avahi/services

Step 9 :- Fixing errors

Go to /usr/share/cups/mime and create a file airprint.types. The content of the file shall be as given below.

#

# "$Id: $"

#

# AirPrint type

image/urf urf string(0,UNIRAST)

#

# End of "$Id: $".

#

Create another file airprint.convs with contents as given below.

#

# "$Id: $"

#

# AirPrint

# Updated list with minimal set 25 Sept

image/urf application/pdf 100 pdftoraster

#

# End of "$Id: $".

#

Restart CUPS and then repeat step 8. Reboot the Pi and start testing.

Commands :-

sudo nano airprint.types

sudo nano airprint.convs

sudo service cups restart

Step 10 :- Installing samba (For devices running Windows)

Install samba using apt-get and check the samba configuration file in the /etc/samba directory. It must contain the following lines. The file is pretty long. Make use of 'ctrl+w'in nano to search for the lines.

# 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

Reboot and start testing.

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