Instructables
Picture of Harvesting parts from a Laser Printer
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FREE!

A lovely word isn't it. 

Free is the prefix to so many exciting idioms; Free Speech, Free Money, Free Lunch, and Free Love, are but just a few. However nothing quite sparks the imagination, or sets the heart racing quite like the thought of Free Parts!

Sometimes opportunity knocks, and chance delivers something wonderful and free. This time the chance of opportunity brought me an Epsom C1100 Colour Laser Printer!
 
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Step 1: Tools

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To take a printer apart you will need the following;

  • A Screwdriver, or two.
  • Needle-nose pliers.
  • Side-Cutters.
  • A Cardboard Box, or similar, for the big bits.
  • The lid from an Aerosol can, or similar, for the small bits.
  • A bin, for the unwanted bits.
  • A bit of rag to clean off the toner.

There are two things you should know about the Laser Printer; One, it prints, so it has toner inside which can get everywhere, and two, it has a laser in it, which can render your eyes useless.

Don't disassemble the printer while it is connected to a power supply, or a Doctor might ask to start harvesting parts from you.

Step 2: In the beginning

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How to start?

Peel back the layers. The simplest method is to just unscrew any visible screws until you can't get any further, then spin the whole assembly around, and carry on attacking from another side. I began with the duplex unit at the back.

Toner Cartridges; bin them. Don't even touch one if you can help it. Should one of them open and dump toner everywhere it will be hours before you're done with the clean up.

You'll want two receptacles, one for the large parts like gears, motors & wires, and a second smaller pot for the screws, washers, clips & bearings. Everything else, like plastics and scrap metal will go in the bin.

Step 3: Motoring on

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There will be lots of wires held on with clips. Don't tug and break things off, doing so will only reduce the usable items you get from the strip down.

Take your time, your collection boxes will slowly fill with goodies.

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SilverJimny (author) 1 year ago
Thanks to everyone for your comments, ideas & suggestions. I did originally say I would award one 3 Month Free Pro Membership, but I have had such an overwhelming repose that I have picked out two!

The first comment to catch my attention was Peter.Steele's Opto-electronic bug zapper.

Opto-electronic bug zapper.

You'll have to supply a small microphone, but use one of the motors to do a conical-scan to search for high-frequency wings. Use the laser to center-punch the insects. Use the remaining motors, gears, etc., to drive the whole assembly. Cut and fold parts for housings out of the sheet metal. Actually, cut wheels out of the metal as well and have the whole thing drive around and hunt the insects down...

Superb idea, and one that stood out from the rest. There's a 3 Month Free Pro Membership waiting for you to zap up.

Next was an idea so far outside the box, that they were sticking things to the walls!

Your endearing opening ensnared me into seeing your project's photos unfold, and I saw it all the way through. What to do with all these fantastic harvested parts?  The answer is to me quite obvious: why not make a piece of art, a mosaic wall relief in plaster in plaster or cement? Maybe even some table tops, then cover with glass. Or:
Just like the sidwalk outside Gorman's Chinese theatre with its stars, you can do some neat embedding, only don't do it to lay down, but stand it uP: maybe even make an entire wall! Indoor or outdoor.  You can also do some gluegunning indoors on the wall all along the woodwork around all doorways in one room. Present the idea to a nearby restaurant or café, and let them pay you for the work to embellish their establishment. Take you maybe one day and they'd be amazed, including guests!

Art, man! That's my best idea for you.

linny there is a 3 Month Free Pro Membership waiting to be hot-glued to your profile.

Opto-electronic bug zapper.

You'll have to supply a small microphone, but use one of the motors to do a conical-scan to search for high-frequency wings. Use the laser to center-punch the insects. Use the remaining motors, gears, etc., to drive the whole assembly. Cut and fold parts for housings out of the sheet metal. Actually, cut wheels out of the metal as well and have the whole thing drive around and hunt the insects down...
SilverJimny (author)  Peter.Steele1 year ago
Frickin' laser beams indeed. I like it.
LOL. BTW, Great instructable Jimmy. But not just laser printers, all printers and computer or other electronic/mechanical equipment. Even tho the laser asseblies are low power, they should be used with caution. "Warning Avoid exposure to beam", where is the beam at any given time, who knows for sre, it is invisible.
linny1 year ago
Your endearing opening ensnared me into seeing your project's photos unfold, and I saw it all the way through. What to do with all these fantastic harvested parts?  The answer is to me quite obvious: why not make a piece of art, a mosaic wall relief in plaster in plaster or cement? Maybe even some table tops, then cover with glass. Or:
Just like the sidwalk outside Gorman's Chinese theatre with its stars, you can do some neat embedding, only don't do it to lay down, but stand it uP: maybe even make an entire wall! Indoor or outdoor.  You can also do some gluegunning indoors on the wall all along the woodwork around all doorways in one room. Present the idea to a nearby restaurant or café, and let them pay you for the work to embellish their establishment. Take you maybe one day and they'd be amazed, including guests!

Art, man! That's my best idea for you.
SilverJimny (author)  linny1 year ago
Brilliant Idea!
Thanks. I really ought to get my own ideas 'out there' - er, I mean here! and not just lurk and comment. I several projects I've pulled off, some I've documented with photos & videos. Say, is it tricky to upload instructables here? I oughta give it a whirl.
SilverJimny (author)  linny1 year ago
Its very easy, take your time doing them. I usually write as I make, the last instructable I did took two months as I wrote it as I built. A bit at a time.
GeoK2 months ago

The two at the bottom are thermal cutoff switches. They cut the power at a certain temperature for safety then reset once cool. They are usually marked with their trip temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit depending on where they were manufactured. Sometimes the rating it manufacturer coded as well to confuse layman...

nitewing7610 months ago

Last year I made a 15" x 16" x 6" CNC from salvaged printer parts. All I had to purchase was the MDF, $15 for misc hardware, and $50 worth of electronics that attach to the Arduino Mega.

I'd be interested in seeing that.

carlos66ba1 year ago
Heck! Other than the outer shell, this is IDENTICAL to a Dell 3100cn (which I just took apart).
SilverJimny (author)  carlos66ba1 year ago
That doesn't surprise me as there were quite a few motors which are made by Dell inside it.
SDX421 year ago
Strangely I can't post it as a comment to my previous post. Sorry for filling the comment section.
I hooked it up to an Arduino. The seMitec F16 (that's its name) on A0 with a 33k resistor in between. The following function should give sort of usable results. (Value in Celsius).

float tC() {
return -1.72647*analogRead(A0) + 903.41;
}

PS: I meant "Regression Analysis" ;)
SilverJimny (author)  SDX421 year ago
Its ok, I appreciate your work. Thanks.

Am I right to think you have stripped down the same printer?
Yes you are right. I stripped it down quite a while ago and stumbled upon your Instructable when I did research the components.

The posted function is btw not correct. I tested it @150°C and it was very much off. I expect it not be linear then.
SilverJimny (author)  SDX421 year ago
Keep me posted on anything else you find out.

I've been digging around for information on the laser diode. I've bought a driver, lens, and a module to house it. The wavelength is estimated to be 720-840nm, with an approximate power of 300mw. I've bought a driver, lens and a module to house it.

I'll have an instructable to post in the future showing what I have done with it all.
Thanks for the specs on the laser. Most of the components have been reused in other projects here as well. The stepper, the big brushless fellow and some of the IR-interrupters drive a CNC mill, the solenoids have learned to play drums and the heater has found use in a plastic injection molding machine.
I know exactly what I'd do, but the programming is beyond my current skill level. If I said what I was going to do, someone else would actually do it and probably win the contest! LOL!
SDX421 year ago
The seMitec is a non-contact temperature sensor. A spec-sheet with a few information can be found here as pdf.

Connectors are as follows:
black: ground
white: 5V?
blue: ref

I can, however, not really make sense of the measurements i get from it. I wouldn't call them random, there is some sort of system behind it, but a recursion analysis didn't bring anything usable. Eg: both -17°C and 35°C resulted in 2.47V on ref. It's strange.
Do you have any results?
SDX421 year ago
Regarding the 127K45770:
In order to gain access to the circuit board for reverse engineering, you'll have to remove three rather hidden screws inside the motor.
For that, remove the gearbox, remove the clamp on the axle of the motor (it's small and took me some time to discover). Now you can remove the axle of the motor using a small hammer (be gentle). Now you can see three screws. Remove those and you have the bare circuit board in your hands and you can see how things are connected together.

The circuit is based on the LB11923V chip. With it's datasheet, the labels for the connectors on the other side of the board should make sense. Happy hacking!
SilverJimny (author)  SDX421 year ago
Thanks for the info!
SDX421 year ago
Here's an update and some results on the 127K45770. The motor stops when it can't give the speed you want from it (due to too high loads), or when it overheats (>150°C). You'll then have to start it again from the Start/Stop pin.

The pins are as follows (top to bottom):

Connector 1:
24V
GND

Connector 2:
GND
5V
Start/Stop - Put this guy high in order to run. You'll however have to put it low (and high again) when the motor stops.
FG - feedback on the FG amplifier. Leave it if you don't need it.
LD - Speed lock detection. Goes low when the motor speed is within the speed lock
range (±6.25%) Leave it if you don't need it.
CLK - pulse it in order to control the speed. I couldn't get it above 2k with 12V and no load.
GAIN: gives feedback on speed.

If you want to control direction, you'll have to heat up your soldering iron and add a connector to the pin 4 of the LB11923V.
SDX421 year ago
The component on the last two pictures is a switch. Utilizing a bimetal, it goes off when a certain temperature is exceeded, 160°C (i think) in this case. It is used to control the heating element.
markey19791 year ago
in the second row, the picture on the right with the wire wound circular parts looks to be possibly an antenna. My hp lj5500 uses some kind of NFC or RFID to communicate with a chip installed on each toner cartridge that tells the printer the cartridge page count.

I am not trying to flame here, but your instructable talks about throwing a lot of stuff away. I also do not know where you are in the world, but here in the USA, Staples gives you $4 US in rewards for each used toner cartridge you bring in to the store. This reduces the amount of waste that winds up in the landfill.

Also most plastics are recyclable too.....
schadduck1 year ago
why not a laser cutter/ engraver? maybe you could build a lathe that uses the laser to do the cutting, a cnc machine, even a 3D printer?
D006DR1 year ago
I love this instructable. Being one of those "Lost boys" when it comes to break up electronic devices. I've been busy all my live looking inside stuff. At the moment I use some parts from an old fax machine I once dismantled 10 years ago for my home automation project. So make a better world an reuse the parts! At the moment I have an old HP Color Laserjet 2840 (year 2007) ready to break up into pieces.

I like the many tips for using any kind of buckets and boxes. I do the same. In a lot of cases I keep the circuit board in one piece and do not solder the desolder the components, only at the moment I want to use them. For me it is well-organized in that way. Most of the time I remember the circuit boarsd better than the individual parts.

I know this printer has a webserver and first I try to save the processor board still working and look if I can get access to it.
SilverJimny (author)  D006DR1 year ago
Best of luck with the webserver!

I've still boxes full of parts too, I need to find a storage solution & fast!
Gelfling61 year ago
In answer to Junker123, that beam is only active if the printer is working. (insert chuckle, as I'm sure he is too.) I've scavenged parts from all kinds of things, printers (laser, dot, ink-jet, daisy-wheel (Did I just date myself with that one?) ) copiers, old computers, appliances with timers.. All kinds of things you can scavenged for parts. We used to call this a Junk Box back before computers, where we'd keep spare parts for various projects. One thing I just salvaged from a HP Color laser printer, was 10 nFET transistors, which were part of the HV board. I now have enough to make 5 completely isolated level shifters (along with 10x 10K-Ohm resistors, also salvaged) for various electronic projects that have different voltages. (i.e. 3.3V <--> 5V, did Someone say Raspberry Pi?) Everyone now, is so hardwired into either throwing away broken electronics, or giving the electronics to be recycled, but never even think about the working components.
I have some rods from old printers and They maybe an alloy but not high stainless as they will corrode and are highly attracted to magnets could be high carbon stainless . in thinking about what they could be used for I think they might be shaped with a forge and anvil into useful wood carving tools.

uncle frogy
You will need to spend a long, long time at a bench grinder in order to get anything at all useful for cutting anything.
ain't part of the fun in making things making things not just saving time and money?

uncle frogy
ain't part of the fun in making things making things not just saving time and money?

uncle frogy
willichan1 year ago
Idea 1:
Make a coffee table with all of the gears arranged under a glass or acrylic top.

Idea 2: (This is what I actually have done)
Donate parts, especially the motors, but gears and wires also, to your local high school FIRST robotics team. My son is on his schools team, and he is always asking me for motors.
SilverJimny (author)  willichan1 year ago
Good idea for the table, especially as Instructables have a Furniture contest on :)
Jimmeh301 year ago
top to bottom.... 1: NFI, 2: Dew sensor, 3:inductors/electro magnets, for what purpose again... NFI, 4: looks like a plug and a plug to me, 5: an interface, probably drives something, look up the chip number at national semiconductor or motorola or somewhere, 6: photo diode for detecting the end of scan point and probably laser intensity and 7: look like thermal fuses to me (self resetting)

GO nutbag on printers, they have a varittable treasure trove of free bitz, better yet, go down to your local photocopier repair shop, chances are they've got DOZENS of unit's under the building that they don't want to pay to dump. Heavier steppers, clutches and PSU's, steel and cast gears, some have small gauge chains and sprockets plus a shite load of sensors, hall switches, and more mircro switches than one can point a sick at.

But rather than throw out the toner, mix it with some light oil like "singer oil" and hey presto... ferro fluid :)

Nice to see other's salvaging perfectly good parts and using them for things rather than dumping them in a big fk off hole because a new one is cheaper than the toner cartridge. ;)
I thought toner was a mix of carbon black and "wee, tiny" styrene particles . . . ?
Ferrofluid = cool!
Toner with magnetic particles vs just styrene and carbon will depend upon the manufacturer. A magnetic imaging drum is a good clue that the toner is also magnetic, or just test the toner itself with a weak magnet. A strong magnet will be difficult to clean.

Last, a word of caution when you are near toner- wear a mask and gloves. Toner is pretty much non-toxic according to MSDS (Materials Science Data Sheets) but it is a very fine powder and annoying.
You're spot on with your "word of caution". We're seeing increasing rates of lung disease among office workers who spend significant amounts of time in close proximity to photocopy machines.
that's from the ozone produced to charge the drum. should have ozone filters but they don't get changed and lets the gas through.
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