Make:NYC Badge Contest entry from an old GameBoy printer

Picture of Make:NYC Badge Contest entry from an old GameBoy printer
Hello all, heres my second shot at an Instructable.. be kind..

So the local Make:NYC meeting had had a badge contest for its second meeting.. (link here), the gist of the competition is to make a wearable nametag/badge of some sort, of some materials, that could be reasonably accepted as a "badge"..

this Instructable is how I built mine for the contest.. pretty much everything that went into the badge was something I had around my workshop from previous projects, and obviously the design can be pushed to do more interesting things.

but I'll leave that up to you.

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Step 1: Get ahold of a gameboy printer and some paper!

Picture of Get ahold of a gameboy printer and some paper!
So while i had a printer sitting around in my junk toy box from a failed project a couple years ago, you probably don't you'll need to get one of these from ebay, chances are you can find one for about 10-15 bucks..

the real trick is getting the paper, while you can also find this on ebay, your looking for something that has never been opened, hasnt been exposed to light ect... as it turns out the fancy thermal printing paper the gameboy uses doesnt survive well with time.. and some colors of paper seem to last better then others, but almost every roll will give you *something*.

Step 2: Disassembly!

Picture of disassembly!

taking stuff apart as a kid was always my favorite part of electronics ownership.. this toy was no different...

the gameboy printer itself has 6 or 7 security screws that have to be removed to seperate the main board from the plastic.. you'll need to open the battery door to see the last couple screws..

now.. while you might have a better security bit set then i have, i couldnt get the damn bits to fit in the gameboy plastic screw area.. so i turned to my next favorite disassembly tool.. the drill press..

i popped in a bit that had a diameter that was somewhere between the screw-heads diameter, and the screw shafts diameter.. then just drill out the heads which should come away from the threaded shaft pretty easily..

booliminator11 months ago

Hi, I started playing with a game boy printer a few days ago trying to get it working with Arudino. I have the easy part done, making the head go back and forth, advancing the paper, and making sure the head is set back at the start again. I am afraid to start working on the print head part because I don't fully understand how it works. On the longer ribbon cable, in that wider pin at the very end ground and will powering the other 16 pins print at a location? Also, what is the voltage you used on the print head?

TechDante4 years ago
found my old printer the other day, but lost my camera, but this gives it a chance to shine again may i ask why you did not try and fit it back into the printer case
user1287 years ago
I found an old GB printer at a yard sale but it only had a few inches of paper. I of course checked ebay and at the time packs were selling for way too much. So, after a little experimentation I found out that regular old thermal paper will work. Just go to any office supply store and pick out a standard role for adding machines. The hard part is that you will have to shave off about a 1/4 inch, depending on width (a blade style paper cutter works well for this). While it won't have the adhesive backing, it will print and you'll have saved a couple bucks.
i work in an electronics store (they carry EVERYTHING!) and we use thermal paper in our debit machine. Whenever I buy something from a name brand type store (best buy, future shop etc.) I get a thermal paper receipt. If you can find any thermal paper, if it is too wide just take a really sharp knife and cut the entire roll down to the right width...
phar (author)  computerwiz_2227 years ago
its also probably worth mentioning that i found you can buy thermal printers and paper from mouser electronics... though most of the printers i saw have their own chargen rom, it should make thing easier to someone who wanted to whip up something like this.
leevonk7 years ago
awesome, I didn't even know make nyc existed (I guess they just started anyway), I'll show up for the next meeting
ironsmiter7 years ago
ok, I must decry the destruction of functional, antique computer hardware... But at the same time, OMFG! on-the spot Businesscard printing, and a nametag noone will EVER forget! You can sometimes still find that "fancy thermal printing paper" in the right sizes, at office supply stores. cash register machines, credit card recipt printers, and adding machines still use them sometimes. Might consider adding an H-shaped piece of plexi to the top? to help hold your printed tag in place. you can always tear off your first tag, after printing the second, thus avoiding having to "rethread" the paper under the plexi. ?
Darkshot7 years ago
so basicly..its a badge that prints?
phar (author)  Darkshot7 years ago
yep, it prints onto sticky badge paper, that itself could be the whole name tag... im not sure why but i get a big kick out of the absurdity.
Darkshot phar7 years ago
very cool then :)
Nice! A buddy of mine was at MAKE: NYC and told me about your badge printer. Thanks for posting it here.
badrang47 years ago
um, you lost me on printer........
whatsisface7 years ago
Wow, I have been waiting for a while now for some kind of hack involving the gameboy printer to come along, mine's been sat in a drawer with 4 spare rolls of paper for 3 years ;-)