LightWrite Pipe / Bar / Truss Printer

Just spent some time I should have been doing something else messing about with a Thermal receipt printer.  It has been hanging around the workshop for a long time since its previous life in a robot costume….

It came to me in the middle of the night that one of the morning boring prep jobs it to mark out trusses with units, or mark  a temp prep truss up so that a bar loom can be made. Using a cloth measuring tape, and white gaff to mark the units.  The info is already in LightWrite, so why not print it out.

I wrote a little app in Processing that takes a feed from LightWrite with these fields

Unit# Channel Distance From C Position Dimmer Instrument Type & Accessory & Wattage DMX Mode User 18 Colour Gobo Circuit Name Circuit#

It then just presents you with a list of positions to print. The printer can be calibrated with a little calibration routine so that distances are accurate.

Cue tonnes of paper on  the floor testing different methods.

Out spits a long old receipt with the units centre marks marked, with all the other info so you can make a loom, plug it up, colour it etc.

After a few goes I realised I would need a printer that could take bigger rolls.  I bought one on Amazon for £29.99 inc postage, and it can take 40m rolls. The rolls cost about £2 or less.  Not the greatest for the environment, but it beats all that wasted tape and scratching of heads.

Sadly the printer driver didn’t work with my Mac so I had to bodge a RasberryPi inside it.  Work in progress!

Just printed out my first show.



One Reply to “LightWrite Pipe / Bar / Truss Printer”

  1. Dan.,

    Just stumbled onto your site and I am blown away by your projects and ideas. I too have been using an inkjet receipt printer to print out my hang tapes. But mine prints from vectorworks. But the Bankjet printer I am using is limited to Windows 7.

    I am seriously interested in your “STATE” DMX tester , it looks like the perfect size and capabilities.

    I have been working with a US based product developer to bring my ideas to market, but it looks like we are interested in a lot of the same ideas and projects.

    I’d love to chat an exchange some ideas!! I am a Production Electrician on Broadway, if you are working in the west end I am sure we know quite a few of the same people!

    Kevin Barry
    Associate Production Electrician
    “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812”

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