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USB Device that acts like a Printer

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UsamaAmjad

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Our client uses some third party softwares and devices for their internal work. They print 600 pages per shift and now they wanted to eliminate paper usage without changing their existing systems.

There are LaserJet printers that are connected with Desktop PCs and Thermal printers that are connected with some small handheld devices which read data from third party cloud server.



Wanted Solution: I was wondering if we cloud make some kind of programmed wifi enabled USB Device (lets say ESP8266) that acts like a printer for PCs and Handheld devices. When this device is connected it should be detected as Printer and what it does is simply accepts prints and send it to our cloud server.

I know how to deal with all the cloud communications. What I just wanted to know is that how to make my device detected as Printer and access the file? Do I need to burn some kind of printer drivers in it or what?

**EDIT: I know there are many print to pdf apps even windows 10 have builtin option. But we do not have any rights to change anything on these devices. We can only change printers. **
 
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dknguyen

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For the PC where you can add printers, it sounds like maybe a PDF printer might be a good place to start. It is a virtual printer that appears as a normal printer to the PC that you can just select normally and when you click print, a save file dialogue comes up instead. There are many free ones.

The same thing might work on the other side but would require some way to make that virtual PDF printer appear as a printer over a physical USB port. I don't know what that would take. Something open-source floating around for Linux might help you with this.
 
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alec_t

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There are various "print to pdf" apps available. Windows 10 has a native one.
 

UsamaAmjad

New Member
Y
For the PC where you can add printers, it sounds like maybe a PDF printer might be a good place to start. It is a virtual printer that appears as a normal printer to the PC that you can just select normally and when you click print, a save file dialogue comes up instead. There are many free ones.

The same thing might work on the other side but would require some way to make that virtual PDF printer appear as a printer over a physical USB port. I don't know what that would take. Something open-source floating around for Linux might help you with this.
Yes theres pdf option while printing but we cannot use it because we cannot use this system for our server communications and storage device detection is also disabled.
 

UsamaAmjad

New Member
There are various "print to pdf" apps available. Windows 10 has a native one.
Yes you are right but we cannot use it because after saving pdf file in this system we cant copy it to other storage device because it is disabled nor we can use internet on this system.
 

unclejed613

Well-Known Member
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we cannot use this system for our server communications and storage device detection is also disabled.
we cant copy it to other storage device because it is disabled nor we can use internet on this system.
it looks like you need to include the system admin in the loop here, because this network sounds like it's locked down pretty tight, and you aren't going to get much done without the sysadmin.
 

ronsimpson

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it's locked down pretty tight
My bet is you cannot add a printer. The "print to cloud" thing must look just like the old "printer".

I think your "system admin" does know you are trying to do this. Or he/she was fired years ago and things really can not change.
 

UsamaAmjad

New Member
My bet is you cannot add a printer. The "print to cloud" thing must look just like the old "printer".

I think your "system admin" does know you are trying to do this. Or he/she was fired years ago and things really can not change.
There's no system admin atm in this factory :D Its not my own project it is outsourced to our company.
We are in the research phase and looking for possibilities to build our own solution (maybe we can use this) otherwise there are some commercial devices like this
 

gophert

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Most Helpful Member
There's no system admin atm in this factory :D Its not my own project it is outsourced to our company.
We are in the research phase and looking for possibilities to build our own solution (maybe we can use this) otherwise there are some commercial devices like this
I recommend buying a commercial virtual printer - any homemade device or undocumented/poorly-documented Technical trick will drive your coworkers crazy when they come to service it in a few years.
 

dougy83

Well-Known Member
Possibly one of those USB-Centronics printer adapters (https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/273000170110) could be used to get the protocol to something simpler? Then interface that to your wifi microcontroller. You'd have to test that the adapter cable can be used to emulate your printer though.
 
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