The thermal printer that was sold for use with the Mattel Aquarius or VIC-20 / Commodore 64 is an Alphacom VP42.
VIC 20 AlphaCom Printer Aquarius printer

This uses thermal paper, 4⅜″ wide. Original paper for these printers is very hard to find. Thermal paper however is still being used in cash-registers, but the 4⅜″ format is not very common. So I wonder if anybody ever found a replacement?

  • 1
    staples.com/… Staples has it. 4 3/8". A little pricey but you get 50 rolls for $104.99 USD. That's 50 rolls of 127' (38.7 meters). Over 1,900 meters. Should last a while. :-)
    – cbmeeks
    May 19, 2017 at 12:12
  • Maybe I should have indicated I'm in Europe. I indeed found that link at Staples but have not been able to find these on this side of the ocean.. May 19, 2017 at 13:20
  • If you actually want 4 3/8" you might need to ship from the US. A google search for 4 3/8" thermal showed a number of places that sell it - you just need to poke at them till you find one who is willing to ship to Europe. May 20, 2017 at 20:39
  • 1
    Search for "Mitsubishi Paper KP65HM-CE". This is 110mm, and might actually work. Sony has similar Paper for their video printers.
    – tofro
    May 20, 2017 at 22:10
  • If you ever want to sell those printers, let me know. :-)
    – cbmeeks
    May 22, 2017 at 12:43

2 Answers 2


Fax machines used to use thermal paper by the pallet, and it is still commonly available wherever office supplies are sold (including amazon). While this will be wider (not, as the problem is with the cash register rolls, narrower) than what these vintage printers need, this problem can be fixed with a guide and a sharp knife (and in the worst case re-rolling the paper onto the core of an original roll if there are issues with core diameter...).

  • You're better off looking at office-supply stores than Amazon. Office Depot and Staples both have multiple options for 4-3/8" thermal paper rolls.
    – Mark
    May 19, 2017 at 10:56
  • Maybe the Alphacom printers actually used a standard for portable faxes? May 19, 2017 at 10:59
  • This indeed crossed my mind. I was just not sure if it would work since the Aquarius manual says 'special thermal paper'. Which could be simply clever marketing. But therefore I wondered if anybody ever tried thermal Fax paper in these printers. May 19, 2017 at 13:24
  • One site selling another alphacom thermal printer model literally says it is delivered including some fax paper :) May 19, 2017 at 17:13
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    @CeesMeijer it's ((special, thermal) paper), not (special (thermal paper)). It's special as compared to regular paper paper.
    – hobbs
    May 25, 2017 at 8:33

4 3/8 inches is 111.125 mm.

A Google search for the Swedish term termopapper (thermal paper) 110mm gives me at least four hits on the first page alone for online stores that sell such paper. While none of those four appear at a glance to state whether it's in stock or not, it's clearly possible to procure. They even appear to offer different core diameters, so it shouldn't be too hard to find one that will fit.

That would be the same type of paper as is used e.g. for cash registers (at least one of those sites offer "not sales receipt" card terminal rolls alongside), and I can see no good reason why it wouldn't work in a printer designed for thermal paper. At worst the print quality may suffer slightly, like how inkjet printers need specially coated paper for best quality results (but will work with almost anything resembling paper of appropriate weight/thickness), but using generic thermal paper shouldn't cause any hardware damage and should certainly allow you to use the printer.

In general, I would expect any decent office supply store to either have it in stock, or at least be able to order it for you easily enough. Just don't mention that it's for a retrocomputer printer, or it will likely get a lot more difficult. Office supply store salespeople are used to dealing with customers who know exactly what they need, so just asking for rolls of 110 mm wide thermal paper should be enough.

  • Tried the same with the Dutch term 'thermisch papier' but it's not that easy over here. 110 mm is not used much, and most rolls that do have this width are actually labels. But I agree that it is very likely that standard fax paper will work. I will definitely post the results here after I tried it. May 20, 2017 at 20:57

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