The Terrifying Pencil-Based Dot Matrix Printer

This DIY printer, by the aptly named “Terrormink,” uses a process where it literally beats a picture into a piece of paper with a pencil…

Jeremy S. Cook
2 years ago

This DIY printer, by the aptly named “Terrormink,” uses a process where it literally beats a picture into a piece of paper with a pencil. The device is built out of upcycled components from a scanner, hard drive and CD-ROM drive, along with some Meccano parts. An Arduino Duemilanove and three motor driver boards are used for control.

Terrormink’s printer setup employed the CloudCompare software package to convert the image into a raster, then export it as a text file with X,Y,Z, and color values. Z is ignored for this application, and any color value other than white indicates to the machine that it’s time to violently smash the pencil lead down onto the paper with its former hard drive read head assembly print assembly. Rather than sending the entire ASCII file at one time, the file is streamed to the Arduino via HyperTerminal.

As seen in the video below, the resulting print resolution looks quite good, portraying a scene there of two people apparently having a carefree stroll in the grass. Offsetting this is the process, where not only is the tapping fast and furious, but the movement process produces a noise that is quite otherworldly when observed up close.

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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