Dymo Rides Again With This Dot-Matrix Label Embosser

For a five-year-old future Hackaday scribe, there could be no greater day than that on which a Dymo label maker appeared in the house. With its spinny daisy-wheel to choose a character and its squeezy handle to emboss the letter into the plastic tape, there would follow a period of going nuts kerchunking out misspelled labels and slapping them on everything. Plus the things look like space guns, so there would have been a lot of pew-pewing too.

This Dymo dot-matrix label maker bears no resemblance to our long-lost label blaster, but it’s pretty cool in its own right. The product of collaborators [Felix Fisgus] and [Timo Johannes] and undertaken as a project for their digital media program, the only thing the labeler has in common with the Dymos of old is the tape. Where the manual labelers press the characters into the tape with a punch and die, their project uses a dot-matrix approach. Messages are composed on an old PS/2 keyboard through an Arduino and a 16×2 LCD display, and punched onto the tape a dot at a time. The punch is a large darning needle riding on the remains of an old CD drive and driven by a solenoid. When it comes time to cut the label, servo driven scissors do the job. It’s a noisy, crazy, Rube Goldberg affair, and we love it. Check it out in action in the video below.

We applaud [Felix] and [Timo] for carrying the torch of embossed label making. It’s a shame that we’ve turned to soulless thermal printers to handle most of our labeling needs; then again, we’ve seen some pretty neat hacks for those too.

21 thoughts on “Dymo Rides Again With This Dot-Matrix Label Embosser

    1. I don’t think this contraption was made to be perfect. Perhaps more of an artwork project… making noises when typing on the keyboard. The thing that really make me like this were the wiggly eyes, nice touch. Good to see old labeling tech being revived in a fun and functional manor.
      Fun project.

  1. Now that’s a label maker!
    None of this quiet little printing on the thermostat tape.
    This is a loud thwacking and industrial buzzing label maker. Nothing matches the satisfaction of the embossed labels. So satisfying that you get to press them down again after the predetermined {glue adhesion/spring-loaded curvature of the plastic tape} time.

  2. Dymo has a habit of discontinuing some great products. They have a superb business card reader/scanner called the CardScan that works fantastically, sorting all of the data in the correct order, no matter what the order is on the original card or the fancy font that may be used. The lettering can even be in color and/or embossed, metallic, white-on-black, one side or two sides, whatever. And, you can add data that is not even on the card, or change data that should be updated. Unfortunately, they are discontinuing it at the end of this year (a little over two months from now) after which they will no longer support it. Replacement? Nope.

    1. The last time I received a business card was…. mmm…. well I don’t remember.
      The last time I gave a business card was…. I didn’t even bother printing cards anymore.
      This is something that would scrap even the best ever product.

      1. no matter what, there will be CardScan® scanners available new and used for at least the next 20 years. that alone is a good reason for Dymo to cease making them. shoot, i’ve had a few and have had a new one (unused, old stock) for the last 4 years. maybe in 10 years from now i’ll use it or sell it.

  3. What’s with this ‘old’ crap? Author tries to make Dymo Embosser sound obsolete or no longer made. Booo! Like the machine though. Think it should be louder and use aluminum or soft steel tape. Maybe a series of 16 trip hammers with massive flywheel.

    1. Well, sadly Dymo tape seems to be a dying breed :/ Here prices shot up to 4 to 5 € a roll in the last years for the original Dymo tape. Luckily unbranded tape works like a charm as well.

      It´s plenty loud in person, that room where we recorded the documentation has wooden flooring, and we were able to feel the impacts of the Solenoid carried through the table to the floor. So really, plenty loud ;)

      Thanks for the feedback :)

      1. Yikes. Should be closer to 3pack of 9.8 feet long for that €. Dymo emboss tape- not knock off. I tend to stick with Dymo for consistency of product. Nothing dying just something wrong with pricing across the pond. About $1.50-2.00 usd per standard 3/8”x9.8′ roll here. 12′ too if u look enough. Dymo and a few resellers are going for 3.50$ roll internet pricing.
        Aww. C’mon. You know u want it louder. Thx for the build. Enjoyed.

    1. Well, It should be possible, as we have reached a vertical resolution of eight points, and (after some wikipedia-ing) braille seems to have a maximum of 6 points of vertical resolution. Maybe the 9mm size of the tape might be the biggest problem, I just don’t know if that is big enough to feel. But you can easily feel the bumps, they are definitely embossed enough.

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