Print Pal: Dye Sub Printing Solution for iPads

Print Pal

Print Pal is a Raspberry Pi based device developed exclusively by Foto Master to provide more extensive and reliable methods of printing from your iPad to your dye-sublimation printer.

The Challenge: Printing via a Dye-Sub Printer from an iPad App in a Stable and Reliable Way

Before we touch the solutions that are currently available, let’s understand what “AirPrint” is. In 2010, customers complained to Apple about the lack of the ability to print from the iPad/iPhone. Therefore, Apple developed a new protocol called “AirPrint”. This protocol allowed iPads to print directly to printers that support AirPrint without any drivers.

Note: Dye Sub Printers are not capable of built-in AirPrint and require a mediator in order to print.

Available Solutions

In this industry, you will be able to find in a few different solutions:

  1. Wireless Printing via PC with monitoring software and a couple of software running
  2. Wired Printing via PC with monitoring software and a couple of software running
  3. Wireless Printing via Raspberry Pi and AirPrint in which a software is installed to support AirPrint protocol.

To begin, let’s touch on Option #1 and Option #2. Both solutions require you to:

  • Have a PC/Mac (Expensive)
  • Have the printer drivers installed on the PC/Mac
  • Install software to sync files between the iPad and the PC/Mac
  • Have a monitoring software on the PC/Mac called “Print Server” to monitor and print the photos

The above solutions are expensive, complicated and have many points of failure and debugging during an event.

Now let’s look at Option #3: Wireless Printing via Raspberry Pi and AirPrint

There are some wireless printing solutions that use a small and less expensive single computer (Raspberry Pi-based). These solutions support AirPrint so that every iPad Software that supports AirPrint will be able to utilize these solutions.

The problems with these solutions are:

  • Wireless printing is not always as reliable as a wired printing – you will want to go the wired route.
  • Some solutions don’t offer a connection to the internet while printing (this means no SMS/Email within the same workflow).
  • Some apps that utilize AirPrint have a pop-up window for printing that doesn’t coordinate with the application’s UI.

So finally, here we are! What is this new and exciting thing we call “Print Pal” and why is it different?

The Foto Master Solution

What we did with the “Foto Master Print Pal” is we started with the 3rd solution and developed a mediator that knows how to print via AirPrint protocol wirelessly. We then came up with an idea to add a Wired Printing solution, which is not based on AirPrint Protocol but rather it is based on the fact that the iPad software can communicate with the Foto Master Print Pal.

The fact that we are the developers of the software and also the developers of the Print Pal allow us to offer this communication that has never existed. We then expanded this solution to also work Wirelessly and offer three (3) types of printing:

  1. Wireless via Foto Master Protocol
  2. Wired via Foto Master Protocol
  3. Wirelessly via AirPrint Protocol

We recommend using Foto Master Protocol via Print Pal so you can enjoy the options of printing either wirelessly and/or with a wired solution.

We also added an amazing solution that allows our Print Pal to connect to a network and provide the iPad with access to the internet, no matter which solution you choose from the above-mentioned options (so now you can print and send SMS/MMS/Emails).

This solution is a game-changer in the industry!

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