Build your own instant camera with a Raspberry Pi and a thermal printer

May 17, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Build your own instant camera with a Raspberry Pi and a thermal printer

May 17, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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raspi_instant_camera

The Raspberry Pi is amazing.  Instant cameras are also amazing.  So, it makes sense that somebody would eventually combine them, creating a Raspberry Pi powered instant camera, which is exactly what Adafruit have done.

Ok, so you’re not going to be getting lab quality prints from this, and the Impossible Project might be more your style these days, but this is still a fun and interesting little project.

https://vine.co/v/iQbiAxKnwFP

The parts list is a relatively small one, and will work with any Raspberry Pi that has a camera connector (which is basically any of them except the original Pi Zero – thanks Traian).

As well as this, you’ll need a 2GB or larger microSD card, any model of Raspberry Pi camera board, a thermal receipt printer, thermal paper rolls, a battery holder, a Perma Proto HAT for connecting the power and shutter button, a couple of momentary push buttons and the latest version of Raspbian Jessie Lite.

There are some caveats with thermal printer compatibility and different versions of the Raspberry Pi, as Adafruit warn, so make sure to check into this before you buy.

pi3_ttl_thermal_printer_warning

Total cost for everything comes in at a little under $100, but you could possibly get it all for less if you shop around.

There’s no need to buy a separate enclosure, as everything packs inside the box in which the thermal printer ships.

camera_all-packed

While it’s not the typically virtually-no-cost throwaway project we’ve come to expect with devices like the Raspberry Pi, it’s one that should still be a lot of fun to build and play with.

It’s not like you wouldn’t be able to find other uses for the components if you ever get bored of it.

You can see the complete guide and instructions over on the Adafruit website.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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7 responses to “Build your own instant camera with a Raspberry Pi and a thermal printer”

  1. Kevin Auld Avatar
    Kevin Auld

    Finally someone uses a Pi for something other than building a weather station.

  2. Traian Pop Avatar
    Traian Pop

    You should update your article, since as of this week, Raspberry Pi Zero also has a camera connector: https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/zero-grows-camera-connector/

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Awesome, good to know, thanks! :)

  3. Kaspars Lācis Avatar
    Kaspars Lācis

    Jānis Ērglis

  4. Gina Taylor Avatar
    Gina Taylor

    Andrew Taylor

    1. Gina Taylor Avatar
      Gina Taylor

      You need to make me this!

  5. Mazzi Peled Avatar
    Mazzi Peled

    Erez Peled