My dad is not what you would call a „Digital Native“.  Although web applications and e-mails are part of his work life too, they are not his favorite. So he stays with phone calls instead of e-mails. Which is totally ok for him. But most of the time this isn’t the case on both sides. So my dad gets e-mails but often misses them. He just did not regularly check them.

So I thought he needs a little reminder. And as he gets so little e-mails, why not directly print them or at least a reduced version of them ? So I build an e-mail printer from an old Raspberry Pi model A and a little thermal printer. It regularly checks my dads mails for him. As soon there is a new e-mail it downloads the mail, parses the text and directly prints the text. Attachments will not be handled. You just see a list of the files attached.

If you want to build your own E-Mail printer, I prepared a simple how to guide here: https://blog.sebastian-martens.de/technology/how-to-build-your-own-e-mail-printer/. You’ll use a python library which allows you to do simple printing of text and images with the adafruit thermal printer.

I also used this python lib and wrote me a little php wrapper, which does the e-mail handling, saves everything into a file and starts the python printing process. You’ll find a download of the scripts below.

To be a nice stand alone tool I put the Pi and the printer into one little box. As the thermal printer and the Pi both work with 5V and 1.2A I also could use the same power adapter. Nice to know: You do not need to use the mini-USB port to power your Raspberry. If you just put 5V on the 5V-GPIO pins and the ground of one of the ground pins, this will perfectly work too.

RaspberryPiMailPrinter

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