Bit Splotches: Dot Matrix Printing with Python
By Thomas Winningham

Earlier this year, in the spring of 2018, I bought a printer made in the late 80's in the parking lot of a Rax Roast Beef restaurant for $20. This started a nostalgic journey assisted by NumPy matrix slices and a can of WD-40. This talk will cover how I used Python to overcome three decades of history to get it printing again.

Sunday 3:15 p.m.–4 p.m. in Hays Cape

  • Brief history of consumer printing in the late 80's
    • Dot Matrix
    • Epson "Compatible" and not
    • Parallel and Serial Interfaces
    • Rejuvenating ribbons with WD-40
  • Interfacing with the device over USB
  • Trying (and failing) with available printer drivers
  • Being lucky and having the manual for the printer
  • NetPBM (a textual bit representation of images)
  • Dithering with GIMP, ImageMagick, and Pillow
  • Mapping printer pins to NumPy matrices
  • Python integration with CUPS using Tea4CUPS
  • Custom fonts using NumPy and the Read-Font library (ported to Python 3)
  • Demo and Examples

Thomas Winningham

Thomas is an expert generalist currently in data science at Nationwide. Besides Python, he also works with Clojure, Java, JavaScript, shell scripting, SQL, Spark, and many other technologies.