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Your thoughts on an inkjet hack

I've been mulling around a cheap (as in free) way to make a 3d printer, or laser engraver. I'm looking for flaws in this plan: 1)Find an inkjet printer thrown away because new ink would cost almost as much as a new printer. 2)Mod the paper feed motor assembly so that the it moves the top half of the printer along a rail instead of moving paper. 3)Short out the pins to ink colors other than black to give a false "full ink" value. 4)Attach a power transistor to a cutting laser circuit, and the black ink pins. The idea is that if I sent a black and white image to the printer, this could perforate or even cut a suitable material. I already have a few areas I'm concerned with, but I'd like a second or third opinion on possible trouble areas.

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LasVegas9 years ago
Most modern printers (Epson, HP, etc.) communicate with a chip on the ink, rather than simple jumpers. While the concept is good, the control circuitry would have to be completely recreated or much older and less intelligent LP type printers used.
royalestel (author)  LasVegas9 years ago
Ah, crap. Let's see, buy a full ink cartridge and plug it? Man. What does the LP stand for? Do you mean an older thermal-type printer instead of an inkjet?
LP refers to older printers that used the standard Line Printer commands rather than custom drivers.
>scratches head< Maybe an old dot-matrix printer? They used a ribbon, and the one I used to have (just after the last ice age) would happily run without the ribbon in place at all, never mind with an ink-less ribbon. >more scratching< If you could somehow link your laser to the output that controls a single hammer of the printer? But that would entail writing/rewriting software so that it advanced the substrate at 1/8 the rate of the paper... >light bulb!< Use an old flat-bed plotter! You're not after shading areas, you're after cutting lines. You'd even have a bigger power supply for your laser - remove the electromagnet that presses the pen down and connect the power to your laser that you mount as a direct swap for the pen. Going over the same area several times would make the cuts deeper. As a first project, try cutting pieces of a dark wood and etching matching holes into a large piece of light wood to make a decorative inlay.
Even using an inkjet, one would have to rewrite the code to use a single jet of the 9 to 32 possible jets. I like the idea of a flatbed plotter and have seen it done both with laser and a blade for cutting latex.
It may be hard to get an old plotter:

http://www.tonh.net/museum/plotter.jpg
royalestel (author)  Kiteman9 years ago
Found one on ebay for $100. Nachmahma suggested I scrounge around architecture firms. Will try that.
Cool. Keep us updated
NachoMahma9 years ago
. Unless you just have to use an ink-jet, I think Kiteman has the right idea. Check with local architecture or engineering firms to see if they have an old unit stuffed in a closet.
royalestel (author)  NachoMahma9 years ago
You know, I just so happen to live in a town with an overabundance of architecture firms. I'll ask around.
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