Introduction: Harvesting Parts From a Laser Printer

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!

Step 1: Tools

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.


Please help support my work here on Instructables and on Thingiverse

by using the following affiliate links when making purchases. Thanks :)

eBay.com | eBay.co.uk | eBay.fr | Amazon.co.uk

Step 2: In the Beginning

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

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.

Step 4: Frickin' Laser Beams

The deeper inside the printer you mine, the closer you come to the centre carousel. The carousel housed the four, cyan, yellow, magenta, and black, toner cartriges. As you would expect with years of use there is some spillage of the toner. Before tackling the carousel removed all other parts, including and most importantly, the laser assembly.

The laser assembly features a Class 3B Invisible Light Laser Diode and if you're not careful you could damage it. Luckily the laser diode is enclosed within the laser assembly along with several lenses and a spinning mirror.

Step 5: Colour Me Bad

Removing the carousel from the chassis.

This is where some scrap cloth is important. Place down a sheet of cloth and dismantled the carousel on it. Any loose toner should remain on the cloth which can be thrown away when finished with.

Step 6: The End....

.....of the beginning

The fuser unit was removed from the printer before I began the stripdown, along with the photo conductor unit. They are the final two components left in the strip down. Be careful with the photo condutcor, I took the side off and a pile of black toner came out. Thankfully the scrap cloth was there to catch it all.

Next, we'll take stock of what we have reclaimed.

Step 7: The Spoils

What has been recovered from the printer?

  • 17 Bars
  • Lots of Cables
  • A heating element
  • 10 Motors
  • 10 Opto Switches
  • 9 Micro Switches
  • 2 Solenoids
  • 2 Electric Clutches
  • 8 as yet unidentified parts
  • An orgy of gears
  • An entanglement of springs
  • A gathering of wire clips
  • A congregation of rollers
  • A circuit of bearings
  • A splash of random bits
  • And a revolution in screws

In the next step we'll take a closer look at the motors, and the other electro-mechanical parts. Hopefully we can find their accompanying datasheets.

Step 8: In Detail

Lets see what some of these parts are;

  • 127E83711 | 17PM-J203-G5VS - Stepper motor (link).

  • 127K45271 - There isn't many details about this, but it appears it's a Dell/Xerox general purpose motor.

  • 127K38602 | 127K45891 - Its a similar story with this motor, and the clutch.

  • 127K38560 | KH42JM2B176 - Stepper motor (pdf), the pdf isn't an exact match to the B176 model but I expect there will be some obvious similarities.

  • 127K38581 -  No details again beyond a mention of Dell, but  it is fitted with a gearbox.

  • 127K45770 | BH60AT10-02 - A huge motor & gearbox assembly. Once more details are low on the ground.

  • 121k32723 | TDS-KN07A-44 - Solenoid (link).

  • 121E92700 | TDS-F09A-12 - Solenoid (link).

  • 121K32310 | MCA-26E - Magnetic Clutch.

Step 9: Questionables

Most of these parts I know little about. If anyone has any information relating to these parts please let me know in the comments.

Thanks!

Step 10: What Now?

The final tally is both numerous and varied. The big question now is; What should I do with them all?


Suggestions in the comments please. The best idea wins 3 months Free Pro Membership on Instructables!

Judging ends midnight (GMT) on the 31st of January 2013. I am the judge, and my decision is final.

Comments

author
Peter.Steele (author)2013-01-20

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...

author
SamN2 (author)Peter.Steele2016-02-05

you would need a diode housing right?

author
SilverJimny (author)Peter.Steele2013-01-20

Frickin' laser beams indeed. I like it.

author
Junker123 (author)SilverJimny2013-01-20

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.

author
SilverJimny (author)2013-02-03
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.

author
linny (author)2013-01-20

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.

author
SilverJimny (author)linny2013-01-20

Brilliant Idea!

author
linny (author)SilverJimny2013-01-20

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.

author
SilverJimny (author)linny2013-01-20

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.

author
sujith john (author)2017-05-24

I see that you have to use driver for stepper motor. Do you think we can find one in this to re-use ?

author
bilca68 (author)2017-02-22

Great intractable.

The toner cartridge can be recycled. In Europe several charities collect them for this purpose and make money with them. Pack them in a plastic bag to prevent the toner going everywhere. Same goes for inkt cartridges.

author
darrenah (author)2016-02-06

Very Cool!

I believe the small PCB (in the 4th picture of the block) with the little white rectangular shaped device, marked "KPC-CG" by TDK appears to me to be a humidity/temperature sensor.

author
darrenah (author)2016-02-06

Very Cool!

I believe the small PCB (in the 4th picture of the block) with the little white rectangular shaped device, marked "KPC-CG" by TDK appears to me to be a humidity/temperature sensor.

author
DidikS4 (author)2016-01-10

Wow...

i was breakdown MFP HP C6280, but no motor stepper there.

author
Yonatan24 (author)2015-11-20

That looks like a huge printer, I think I've taken apart almost 50 printers in my lifetime!

The new printers nowadays barely have anything that you can salvage, only the old ones have "good stuff"

author
Jimmeh30 (author)2013-01-21

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. ;)

author
JakeJ20 (author)Jimmeh302015-11-02

I work at a copier repair/sales shop I can attest to that. We have dozens of copiers out back that we'll never use again and would gladly give to anyone willing to take them (we have done this many times). It's actually quite sad sometimes because we often have to just put them outside in the weather where no doubt ma y components are ruined. There is A LOT of cool HV and other specialty parts in modern copiers.

author
al_packer (author)Jimmeh302013-01-21

I thought toner was a mix of carbon black and "wee, tiny" styrene particles . . . ?

author
DIY-Guy (author)al_packer2013-01-23

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.

author
al_packer (author)DIY-Guy2013-01-23

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.

author
jrjohnwood (author)al_packer2013-01-24

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.

author
RedstoneM (author)2015-09-22

I disassembled a twice as big one with a scanner (which had a power supply for these hellish bright green lights which is strong enough to ignite candles... woohoo (you need welding goggles because the burning hydrocarbons get very, very bright)), I got 3 flybacks, and similar steppers (and such a laser).

author
batchit (author)2015-09-08

I am scrapping a Fuji Xerox C525A which is exactly the same as this one, the main part I needed was the power supply 24,5 and 3 volt.

author
hintss (author)2015-07-28

4th photo in step 9 looks like a humidity sensor

author
nitewing76 (author)2014-01-26

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.

author
bdubu (author)nitewing762014-12-31

I'd like to see this too.

author
micah1_8 (author)nitewing762014-02-06

I'd be interested in seeing that.

author
GeoK (author)2014-09-22

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...

author
carlos66ba (author)2013-11-26

Heck! Other than the outer shell, this is IDENTICAL to a Dell 3100cn (which I just took apart).

author
SilverJimny (author)carlos66ba2013-11-28

That doesn't surprise me as there were quite a few motors which are made by Dell inside it.

author
SDX42 (author)2013-08-05

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" ;)

author
SilverJimny (author)SDX422013-08-05

Its ok, I appreciate your work. Thanks.

Am I right to think you have stripped down the same printer?

author
SDX42 (author)SilverJimny2013-08-09

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.

author
SilverJimny (author)SDX422013-08-13

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.

author
SDX42 (author)SilverJimny2013-08-13

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.

author
SuperTech-IT (author)2013-08-07

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!

author
SDX42 (author)2013-08-05

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?

author
SDX42 (author)2013-08-04

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!

author
SilverJimny (author)SDX422013-08-04

Thanks for the info!

author
SDX42 (author)2013-08-04

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.

author
SDX42 (author)2013-08-04

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.

author
markey1979 (author)2013-07-20

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.....

author
schadduck (author)2013-05-21

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?

author
D006DR (author)2013-05-20

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.

author
SilverJimny (author)D006DR2013-05-20

Best of luck with the webserver!

I've still boxes full of parts too, I need to find a storage solution & fast!

author
Gelfling6 (author)2013-04-04

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.

author
uncle frogy (author)2013-01-22

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

author
AJMansfield (author)uncle frogy2013-01-28

You will need to spend a long, long time at a bench grinder in order to get anything at all useful for cutting anything.

author
uncle frogy (author)AJMansfield2013-01-29

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

uncle frogy

author
uncle frogy (author)AJMansfield2013-01-29

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

uncle frogy

About This Instructable

193,581views

328favorites

License:

Bio: A passionate make of things. I spend my time developing new ideas and looking for ways to improve old ones! Check out my thingiverse models ... More »
More by SilverJimny:An Electric Musical Instrument 3D Printed Amplifier. Astrophotography With the Raspberry Pi Zero.Glow-In-The-Dark Nuclear Bomb Night Light.
Add instructable to: