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Picture of Alexa Printer | Upcycled Receipt Printer

I am a fan of recycling old tech and making it useful again. A while ago, I had acquired an old, cheap thermal receipt printer, and I wanted a useful way to re-purpose it. Then, over the holidays, I was gifted an Amazon Echo Dot, and one of the features I used most was adding groceries to my shopping list. So I thought it'd be cool to combine the two and use the receipt printer as an IOT printer for Alexa (or Google Home, or Siri, etc). Let's see what it'll take to do make this idea a reality.

Step 1: Setting Up The Raspberry Pi Zero W

Picture of Setting Up The Raspberry Pi Zero W

The first step is to get the old receipt printer printing again. I chose to use the Raspberry Pi Zero W as the controller because of it's cheap price and small size. It's actually small enough to fit inside the receipt printer case itself, so there's no external connections! The Pi Zero W also has built in Wifi so everything is basically integrated into it's small size.

To get the Pi up and running, we need to download the Raspbian OS and burn it to a microSD card using a program such as Etcher. Insert it into the Pi along with an HDMI cable, keyboard, mouse, and then power.

When the Pi boots up and you're at the desktop interface, you can connect to your wireless by clicking on the wireless icon in the upper right and selecting the name of your wireless connection. Then if you right click on that same wireless icon, you can go to the network settings and set a static IP address so that we can easily connect to it over the network. Finally, you want to click on the main menu and select the "Raspbian Configuration Editor" and under the "Interfaces" tab, make sure SSH is enabled. Then save it and reboot your Pi.