Saturday, November 15, 2014

Chromebox Printing to Non-Cloud Printer

My Windows PC died recently leaving me to experiment once again with a Chromebox. I really like this no-maintenance PC, but you have to be saavy to work around some of the limitations. Ironic.

I have a Brother HL-2270 wireless network printer at home and, since my Windows PC is dead, Google Cloud Print can no longer find this printer. There was a Google Cloud Print service running on that PC forwarding print jobs from the Internet to my Brother printer.

The printer itself is wireless, but does not have the firmware to support Google Cloud Print independently. Bummer. If only Chromebox supported printing to a printer on a local network instead of only being able to print via Google Cloud Print.

So learning this sad fact, I was thinking I would need a new printer that would support cloud printing. I started a typical round of online research, forum posts, and such.

I think have pieced together a workaround that isn't too inconvenient that I would rather just buy a new printer. The workaround uses my Android phone and an app called Hammermill Print. I think the purpose of the app is to give you cool printing features on your phone in exchange for Hammermill Paper ads. In this case, that's OK. The app is extremely functional!

The Hammermill Paper app WILL print to a printer on a local network without using Google Cloud Print.

The app did not detect my printer on the network but I went to the manual configure option, and entered the IP address of my printer (I got that from my router settings list of connected devices).

Once I entered the IP address, the app detected a printer and prompted me to select the manufacturer and model so it could download the right drivers. The Brother HL-2270 was not on the list of supported printers. So I selected the HL-1270 instead. I think those printers are pretty similar: black and white, laser, and network capable.

I then named the printer in the The Hammermill App and was ready to go from the main menu to a list of apps on my phone that I can print from. One on the list was Dropbox!

So here is my relatively painless workaround in a couple steps.

  1. On the Chromebox: Print my document to PDF and save it to a PRINT folder I created in Dropbox.
  2. Android Phone: Open the Hammermill App, select Dropbox, and open the PDF inside my PRINT folder. Then send to print. 


BTW: These steps should work equally well on a Chromebook.