Substitution for thermal paper for HP printers


HP thermal paper for printers like 82143A or those used in HP-97 ist hard to find and expensive
- at least in Germany ;-(

What I recommend to save money and time: take a roll of thermal fax paper (very cheap compared to HP paper!)
and cut off a piece with the correct size to fit into your favorite thermal printer. For the cutting job, use
a fast running circular saw, equipped with (sorry, I don't know the correct english word) "cememted carbide"
or "stellite" blades (in Germany this is called "hard metal"). You don't have such a thing at hand? Doesn't
matter, ask the next carpenter or joiner! It should be a quite new or freshly sharpened blade to prevent ripping
off the paper. And the roll has to be well fixed.

The fax paper works fine (well, you get black printing instead of blue...) but there are two small problems: the
fax paper gets a black coloring at the cutting edge (abt. 1/16" or 1.5 mm) caused by the cutting heat.
And it is a little thicker than the original HP paper, so your printer has to work "a little harder"
(I experienced that effect with an HP-97 printer only, it sounds more "strained").

OK, let me know what you think about my suggestion...



I don't have a circular saw with a carbide blade. :-(

A few months ago, someone suggested using NCR 2.25-inch thermal printer paper as a substitute for the HP thermal paper. It's sold at Staples in packs of 6 rolls for about $10, and it works great.




thanks for your reply.

as I said, you don't need to own such a saw yourself... Joiners and carpenters have those at hand normally.

But I have to admit that your suggestion is much more "comfortable" than mine. I know Staples to have subsidiaries in Germany but what I don't know (yet) is if they sell the NCR rolls you mention here... Any rolls I found to date were either much to small or too large.

Well, doesn't matter... I'll go visiting the next Staples store today!



I've been using the NCR paper as well. One thing that I have noticed is that it isn't quite as stable as the HP paper, but it is perfectly suitable for everyday use.


The NCR paper is very common in the US. It is used in virtually all gasoline pumps that have a built in receipt printer and on most credit card receipt printers in stores. It is sold in eithe packs of 3 or 9 rolls. I just bought a 9 roll packs for 9 bucks at Office Depot... it has been on sale for around 7 dollars at times.


HP warns that it is important the end of the roll not be glued to the core, as this will put a great strain on the printer's motor.

By the way, as you mentioned the 9100A/B in another thread - is there any paper available in Europe suitable for use in the 9120 printer? It is not thermal, but "electrosensitive" - whatever that means! Radio Shack's first printer sold to use with the TRS-80 (model 1) used a paper with a metallic looking surface, I think it was coated with aluminum powder, the print head contacted the paper with metal electrodes and the printed spots looked kind of charred. The 9120 printing is more "subdued" than that but I think the printing mechanism is similar, charged electrodes in contact with the paper surface and a broad metal bar making a common return path.


I do not have a 9120 printer - though I've seen one already ;-) - I don't know the correct width of the paper you need for it. Try the following link: and look for part no. 41-0400-386. It is described as electrosensitive paper 4 inch x 200 ft. Maybe it fits into the 9120 (with a little sawing...?). We used this stuff earlier for our older Unisys equipment; I don't know if it is still available.

If you try the paper, would you let me know if it works?



Another source for electrosensitive paper may be manufacturers of medical tech equipment. I found the following link: As it is a PDF-Doc, you need the Acrobat Reader.

Try to look for "electrosensitive paper" using a search engine like Google. It displays tons of results.



Thanks for the leads! I have a few feet of the original paper in the printer. First I will have to replace the rubber platen, it has turned gummy (more like runny) and make sure it still works with the original paper. I repaired the printer electronics when I first got it (mid-80's), I forget exactly what was wrong but I think it was just a power supply capacitor. I'll post any progress I make on the electrosensitive paper.


I'm not familiar with the 82143A, but if it takes the same paper as the 82240A/B, I can confirm that NCR brand thermal paper works fine. Another brand that works well is "Perfect print"; I'm not sure which store I bought it at, but it was one of the office supply chains. The rolls were an oversize diameter: 2.75 inch instead of 2 inch, but it's easy enough to rewind it onto an empty core. the cost was US$4.89 for 3 2.25 inch by 155 foot rolls. A brand that I've used that didn't work out so well is "AMPAD"; the printing was a rather difficult to read purple, and the contrast control needed to be set to its highest.


I beleive the "Perfect Print" paper is sold at Sav-On Office Supplies. They also sell a 1.5 inch wide paper that works in the 19C and HP10. Most stores don't stock it but they can usually get it in a day or so.

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