We have two printers in our house, an old Brother laser printer and a newer HP color laser printer. The newer printer has built in wifi and we can print via wifi directly or through the home wifi network. I did have a Raspberry Pi print server set up and working with my old Pi (model B version 1) and could print via wifi on it. I recently purchased a Raspberry Pi Zero and wanted to set it up as a print server. Install the following packages:
sudo apt-get install cups
and then configure user pi
sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin pi
[Note– It is recommended that you change the default password of pi to something more secure or replace the pi user with another user name with a strong password as I did for better security]
I have a Brother HL-2140 and you can get the Linux drivers from Brother
However, it turns out they don’t work on the Raspberry Pi as it uses an ARM chip to run it’s flavor of Linux and not an i386 based Linux, so you’ll need to use HP’s HPIJS driver – PPDs for compatible PCL-5e-based non-HP laser printers
You can select your printer in this case the Brother HL-2140 and it will generate a PPD file, but it won’t on it’s own as you’ll need to install the follow packages.
sudo apt-get install hpijs-ppds printer-driver-hpijs
You’ll need to add the driver via the browser. Go to localhost:631 or whatever the IP address is on your network to access the CUPS web interface. Connect the printer via USB to the Pi. Speaking of USB, I recommend getting a Zero4U 4 port USB hub which piggybacks onto the Raspberry Pi Zero in this case v1.3. Make sure which Zero version you have to get the right hub.
I also purchased a case, a wifi dongle, and a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable. I had a USB keyboard, USB mouse, and monitor with HDMI to connect to the Pi Zero Once you have the Pi Zero configured and connected with a wifi dongle and the IP address you’ve assigned it.
My next step is to get a short USB cable and a way to secure the print server to the printer, probably a velcro strip or something.
How much did it cost? The Zero costs $5, but I needed a power supply ($8), wifi dongle ($12), and SD Card ($10). I paid about $18USD for the Zero4U USB hub, plastic case and shipping from the Czech Republic. I’m not counting the other accessories I bought (mini-HDMI to HDMI cable) or needed (USB cable), but just for the making the print server itself it cost about $53. I’m going to leave out the countless hours of frustration getting it to work because I couldn’t get CUPS to work on the Zero to print. It would talk the printer. I could see it try to do something but nothing would happen. It wasn’t until I got the hpijs packages installed that I was able to get it to print. I’d set up CUPS before on laptops. When I started this project wireless print servers were a little more expensive, but I just found one on Amazon for $40. So I didn’t save any money, and I wasted a lot of time getting it to work. So if you just need a wireless print server for an old laser printer, then just buy one, but if you are into Raspberry Pis then this is what I did.