A “Magic” DIY printer to send my wife cute messages with Arduino/ESP8266/MQTT #Arduino #MQTT #ESP8266

Make Fun Stuff used a thermal printer (and a feather) to make a device that lets them send notes to their wife from anywhere, using an ESP8266, an Arduino Nano, and MQTT. The feather is moved by a pair of servo motors to make it look like the notes are being written by a “magic” quill like you’d see in Harry Potter (kinda).

I started this project two days before my anniversary with my wife. At the time it looked like I was going to have to head back to the office soon after a year or so of working from home. She’d just started her first writing job and would be working from home indefinitely, and she’d been saying she’ll miss having me around all day. With that in mind, I decided to make her something that can sit on her desk and print out cute messages that I can send her. And, since her new job is as a writer, instead of just printing out the notes I could make it look like a little quill is magically writing the messages Harry-Potter style. I call it: “Ye Olde Fax Machine”.

An ESP8266 microcontroller is subscribed to an MQTT topic, using Mosquitto as the message broker. When it receives a message it processes the text and sends it to an Adafruit thermal printer, which prints it on a roll of thermal paper. The ESP also sends a signal to an Arduino Nano that controls two mini servo motors. These are attached to a feather that moves back and forth and jitters to imitate a quill writing, to add a little bit more fun.

See the video below via YouTube


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