"Printing" to Fax machines

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"Printing" to Fax machines

Postby jongscx » February 22nd, 2014, 8:09 am

I've been thinking of how to make a portable document printer. Now, I know they exist, but they're really expensive and iffy at best. Mostly, it seems because they want to fit into a brief-case-able form factor... like REALLY small and portable. I'm looking at just movable, maybe back-pack-able, or two-trips-to-the-car-able... but mostly relatively cheap.

Sooo, I look at these fax machines at Office Max, the old-style analog ones without USB ports. They run about $20, use a toner-transfer Film (so if it's jostled about, it doesn't shift like laser toner), and they're about the size of a loaf of bread. (Metric Loaf-equivalent= maybe like 15cm x 15cm x 40cm?) Again, the problem though is they don't have a USB Port; but, we also have $10 USB "fax" modems.

So, is it possible to just mash these things together? Use Windows Fax to "send" a document through the USB modem, across some type of "crossover" phone cable, and into the Fax machine, effectively "Printing" your document? This is, of course, without the benefit of an "actual" phone circuit.
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Re: "Printing" to Fax machines

Postby st2000 » February 22nd, 2014, 10:26 am

If you google "telephone line simulator" you will find a bunch of boxes that range from about $50 to hundreds of dollars. But that might put your budget and portability requirements in jeopardy. Clearly supporting the overhead of a real POTS line are unnecessary for your application. But the simplicity that affords you is tempting.
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Re: "Printing" to Fax machines

Postby Osgeld » February 23rd, 2014, 12:05 pm

I dont even think you need that just some trickery with the modems. I used to connect all sorts of stuff together by lifting handsets and running cross the house to bang a key
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Re: "Printing" to Fax machines

Postby k-ww » February 23rd, 2014, 1:40 pm

Perhaps you are lookng in the wrong direction? - I have in my basement both a battery operated thermal printer that acts like a laserjet, and a deskjet 340 [around $30 on ebay - the deskjet is color and 12"x6"x3.75", and has a rechargable battery ] the 340 should fit all your requirements, and be smaller/lighter also. The thermal printer is abut half that in the smaller dimensions and has a built in rechargable battery.
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Re: "Printing" to Fax machines

Postby jongscx » February 23rd, 2014, 2:16 pm

@K-WW: The Thermal printer, is like a receipt printer that uses special paper, right? I was hoping to use normal printer paper. As for the Deskjet, I was initially against inkjet printers because of ink prices (how they periodically "clean" themselves by squirting ink into an internal sponge), but these cartridges are actually affordable. I will check these out, thanks for the tip. Ultimately, I am looking for a cheap, small Laser printer, which is the pipe-dream I was hacking towards.
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Re: "Printing" to Fax machines

Postby k-ww » February 23rd, 2014, 2:47 pm

HP Laserjet 1100 is not bad. I've a few of them from garage sale, etc - also on ebay around $30.

Easy to refill the toner, but learn to empty the used toner section also.

The funky one has a paper feed problem so I feed it one sheet at a time - otherwise, an intresting take apart puzzle to replace the paper feed roller.
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