Friday, August 23, 2013

Raspberry Pi (POD) Print On Demand
Book Making with Duck Tape

It has been my secret desire to be a book maker. I always look with jealousy the video of a book maker machine. Those cost about $4500. Obviously, it's not something I can afford on personal basis. How about a professional basis? Unless I have a thriving business for Print-On-Demand, I can't justify it.

Well, I have a laser printer, a Raspberry Pi that is connected to it, a big stapler, and of course, a big roll of Duck Tape. I'm ready to roll, baby!

The first thing to do, of course, is to print the document. Here I'm printing MagPi magazines, because I missed the window of Kickstarter for printed copies. I'm printing them on one side because I'm anticipating writing notes on the other side. 

The laser printer doesn't print duplex. It does have a duplex printing system by printing odd pages first, then you're supposed to feed the paper back into the tray and print the other side. It doesn't work that well, because the paper print well on first run, but will have misfeed on the second run.

The printer also defaults to A4, for some reason, so I did a command to scale it down to 96%.

lp -o scaling=96 filename

For some reason, xpdf does a segmentation fault every time it tried to print. Oh, well. Also, TheMagPi #8 has some kind of problem. I keep getting SpliX error. In the end, I used a Windows box to print it.

Did I mention I have a big stapler? Look at those printed pages! I'm using 26 lbs laser printer paper, not the cheap multi-purpose paper. Those are rather hefty! I was going to just print the relevant articles, but it turns out there's a lot more interesting articles than skip articles. In the end, it's faster to just print them all out.

Yup, the big stapler comes in handy! The staples is designed to staple 120 sheets of paper. Not a problem with this one! Three magazine in one go!

And to keep things neat: the Duck tape. After I have done this, it occurred to me that I should have printer the cover in cardstock paper. Well, I forgot I have some. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

Laser printer are cheap nowadays. In fact, some of the cheap ones are duplex, now. I have a Brother inkjet printer that is duplex printing. Very neat! 

The Raspberry Pi does the job as POD printer well, as you can see. Say $250 for a laser printer, $50 for various knick-knacks, $50 for a complete Raspberry Pi, and you can have your very own POD system for less than $350. The drawback is that you have to bind the book manually, but for something that cost about 10% of the professional model, I think that's a great deal.

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