Inexpensive label makers are like an organization enthusiast’s dream come true. For just $25, you can have a tool that gives the ability to label every item in your home. Label your storage bins, your tools, and your pets to your heart’s content! They’re very satisfying to use, but that doesn’t mean that satisfaction can’t be kicked up a notch, as proven by the DIY dymFT pixel printer.
DymFT was built over the course of a week by Timo Johannes and Felix F. using scavenged parts they had laying around. Those include a PS/2 keyboard and pieces from a CD-ROM drive, an old printer, and power supply. Some new parts, like a Teensy 3.2 and a couple of stepper drivers, were also used. All of those parts were mashed together into what can charitably be described as a cyberpunk aesthetic.
The real beauty of DymFT, however, is in how it operates. The user types out the label text on the vintage keyboard, and the message appears on a 16×2 character LCD display. When the user presses the “Print” button the keyboard, the pixels on the display are converted into a map for the label. The DymFT then feeds through 9mm Dymo embossing label tap, and uses a solenoid-actuated needle to punch out the message. It’s absurdly noisy, but that’s the charm of the build. If you think a regular label maker is cathartic, the DymFT would introduce you to true nirvana.