Project: #instaprinter Polaroid Photo Sharing

An easy one for starters today: #instaprinter is utilizing the Polaroid GL10 photo-printer and the Instagram-API to create classical Polaroid-style hardcopies of all Instagram-pictures using a certain hashtag. Great for collecting printed memories of an event like our #camp404! :)

The Printer: The GL10 uses Zink photo-paper 4x3inch wide, which is perfectly re-creating that classical Polaroid look-and-feel. On the downside, the GL10 is only accessible with special client-software (no normal printer driver available!). There’s is also bluetooth connectivity, which makes printing from an Android Smartphone or a Mac/Windows-PC really easy. Oh, and the photo-paper is quite pricy, at EUR 0.60 a sheet.

The Connection: Lack of printer-drivers and a working bluetooth dongle rendered the original plan to use a RaspberryPi Linux-machine for printing obsolete. Therefor, I’ve been using my Mac to send files to the printer through Bluetooth (this should work on Linux as well, I guess).

The API: The Instagram-API is used to poll for pictures including a certain hashtag (“#camp404”) once every minute. We could’ve used Instagrams realtime-subscriptions, but since I have no public IP on our camp-network this would’ve been too difficult. Also, the printer takes <1min to do one print, so realtime isn’t exactly the goal 🙂

The Code: The PHP-code fetches images from Instagram, stores them locally and adds a Polaroid-like white margin, caption, name and and profile-photo of the creator. To do the actual printing, I actually had to use AppleScript to automatically send new files to the printer via Bluetooth 🙂

on run argv
   tell application "Bluetooth File Exchange"
      send file POSIX path of item 1 of argv as string
        to device "98-4e-97-00-5d-34"
   end tell (* Bluetooth File Exchange *)
end run

Source: https://github.com/michaelkamleitner/camp404-instaprint

Want to try it out? Just post an Instagram with the hashtag #camp404 – if everything works, it should be printed at our camp within moments 🙂

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About Author

Michael Kamleitner

Michael Kamleitner is CEO & Product Manager at Swat.io, a Social Media Management solution that’s helping companies to improve their customer support & content management on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. Swat.io is currently used by companies such as 3Österreich, Hitradio Ö3, ÖBB, Focus Online and Burda Intermedia. Follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook or on Google+!

Comments

  1. By James on

    Hey Michael, This is great. In fact I have been trying to set up an instaprinter myself for a few weeks. I’m up to the stage that I can see the images from instagram locally in a folder on my computer, i’m just having trouble with the script that will push them to my polaroid GL10. The computer connects to the printer, but then just times out while sending the image. Do you have any advice or know where I can download something for automater?

  2. By ruth holland on

    Hi Michael,

    How would I make this work with a USB connected printer?

    I’ve played around a little but I think I’ve just made a mess.

    Thanks,
    Ruth

  3. By Roderick on

    hi Michael.

    is there a way to constantly feed the printer with polaroids instead of loading it manually?
    we want to continuously print without people filling the printer..

    best,

    Roderick

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