Introduction: Paper Man: a Machine Created by Arduino and NFC.

Picture of Paper Man: a Machine Created by Arduino and NFC.

Paper Man is a machine comprised of Arduino, NFC Shield, thermal printer and a papercraft shell—Iron Man.

Thanks to the NFC Shield, you can directly sent messages from your mobile to the paper man, and the paper man will spit it out by printing with the thermal printer.

The following video shows you the details of how Paper Man works.

Step 1: Preparation

Picture of Preparation

At the very beginning, let’s prepare the following Micro components and devices:


2.NFC Shield

3.Thermal Printer with Serial port(or Embedded Thermal Printer)

4.Iron Man papercraft

5. Polymer Lithium Ion Battery

6.Android Phone with NFC support, like Galaxy Nexus.

All components you can find here.

Step 2: Make a Papercraft Shell

Picture of Make a Papercraft Shell

Now, we need a papercraft model. We chose an Iron Man model which can be downloaded from Of course, you can choose other papercraft shell that you like.

After downloading the Iron Man, we need to print it out. We chose A2 size paper, which makes the shell size perfect for placing Seeeduino and NFC Shield. Next, let’s cut the paper and assemble them together. Now, let’s see what it looks like.

Step 3: Connecting All Components

Picture of Connecting All Components

First of all, we need to solder the power in jack and serial port thermal into printer controller board. This is necessary if you want package all components into Iron Man.

And then, connected the NFC Shield to Seeeduino.

The last thing is connected Seeeduino to thermal printer controller.

When you done this step, the next thing is to test it. So, go to the next step.

Step 4: Test NFC & Android

Picture of Test NFC & Android

NFC is short for Near Field Communication which is widely used in Android system. In this Paper Man project,. We use Seeeduino module and NFC Shield to communicate with Android phone. Both the Android App and Arduino source code can be downloaded fromGithub . In addition, you need to download the NFC Shield Library here.

Before testing, we need to install the android app on the phone and arduino sketch to the Seeeduino board:

First, we need to program the seeeduino, install the NFC Shield library on the Arduino IDE to :…\Arduino IDE\arduino\libraries. Then, open the file named NFC_printer.ino in Arduino IDE, and upload the code to Seeeduino board (Please refer here for the details of uploading).

Sencod, we need to install the android apk on the mobile.

And then, we assemble the hardwares.plug the NFC Shield onto Seeeduino. And connect Seeeduino to the thermal printer via the UART note that the thermal printer needs a power resource, for my thermal printer, a 5V power resource is ok.

After installing the hardware and software, we can have a try if these hareware and software woks. Open the android app :…, (make sure that you have open the NFC functions first)input a string”hello word” and move your phone near to the antenna of the NFC Shiled. The thermal printer will print what you have input on the mobile.

Step 5: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

After testing the Android App and Arduino code, we can assemble the modules and the Iron Man together.

Some details deserve to be noted on in the assembling::

1) The thermal printer output port must be directed at the mouth of Iron Man. Otherwise, paper tape can’t be spited out from the Iron Man’s mouth.

2) Make sure Seeeduino is placed in the center of Iron Man. Or the gravity will make the posture of Iron Man weird.

3). make sure that the atenna of NFC shield is easy to get for the mobile.

After the work finishes, your Paper man works! Enjoy!


BartD15 (author)2017-09-15

Very late response. This instructable gave me an idea for a project.

Do you have any idea if it is possible to print text from an nfc tag instead of a phone?

fasionmo (author)2014-06-11

想請問是否有提供I2C的library QQ

fasionmo (author)2014-06-11

想請問是否有提供I2C的library QQ

fasionmo (author)2014-06-11

想請問是否有提供I2C的library QQ

semico (author)2013-12-17

Is Chinese characters ok for it?

Seeed Studio (author)semico2013-12-18


vigoss (author)Seeed Studio2014-06-06

can't you just speak English....

semico (author)Seeed Studio2014-01-09


faizanshahid made it! (author)2014-05-07

i have some issues.

first which arduino board we should select for uploading the code to SEEEDUINO v3.0

second when i have done all as mentioned it does not catch signals through mobile to print data...

please help out...............

pleone (author)2013-11-20

Did you solder the jumpers on the nfc shield ?

Seeed Studio (author)pleone2013-11-20


siegel2014 (author)2013-09-02

Hi Just wondering would a cash register work for a thermal printer for this build . If not what would work and where could you get one?

alexprox (author)2013-08-12

where I can buy Micro Thermal Printer

elizabethD (author)2013-08-12

I'm hoping the next version of Paper Man will print out the text messages in Morse Code.

chaitanya.vedak (author)2013-08-12

this is neat..
can it also be used for other Word / text Apps like Whatsapp, office documents creator apps, etc.. Also can it be configured to print out images, etc.. even if it is in b&w..
thanks in Advance,

Picturerazzi (author)2013-08-11

Awesome!!! :)

Pignanelli (author)2013-08-11

Great idea and implementation! A word of caution: Some thermal papers are coated with BPA, a chemical considered to be an endocrine disruptor.

n1cod3mus (author)2013-08-08


Ganoderma (author)2013-08-07

Nice instructable!
Now only to get an Arduino and NFC compatible phone...

About This Instructable




Bio: Howdy, we are application engineers in Seeedstudio. Sharing projects with maker community is awesome. Hope you like it XD
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