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.
SilverJimny (author) 2 years 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.Steele2 years 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.
linny2 years 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)  linny2 years 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)  linny2 years 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.
hintss1 month ago
4th photo in step 9 looks like a humidity sensor
nitewing761 year 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.

bdubu nitewing768 months ago

I'd like to see this too.

I'd be interested in seeing that.

GeoK11 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...

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.
SDX422 years 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)  SDX422 years 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)  SDX422 years 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!
SDX422 years 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?
SDX422 years 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)  SDX422 years ago
Thanks for the info!
SDX422 years 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:

Connector 2:
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.
SDX422 years 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.
markey19792 years 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.....
schadduck2 years 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?
D006DR2 years 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)  D006DR2 years ago
Best of luck with the webserver!

I've still boxes full of parts too, I need to find a storage solution & fast!
Gelfling62 years 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.
uncle frogy2 years ago
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
willichan2 years 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)  willichan2 years ago
Good idea for the table, especially as Instructables have a Furniture contest on :)
Jimmeh302 years 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.
steven80622 years ago
I have used recycled parts for many years. From various things like microwaves, TVs, audio equipment, computer equipment, etc. To make the process useful and not a waste time (although it is fun disecting things to see what makes them tick!), here is a tip or two. The biggest thing is orginization and labeling-- If you do not label and sort, it snowballs into boxes and containers full of stuff you do not know you have. When an unknown or "questionable" item is encoutered when scrapping, pay attention to its location, how it is hooked-up. destroying the evdience before you know its function makes it that much harder to know it is useful.
jolshefsky2 years ago
To be honest, harvesting the parts is fun and easy. The hard thing is to figure out how to keep track of them and make use of them (hence, your last-step contest).

The peculiar thing I find most valuable is resistors. They are the cheapest darn things, but having a drawer-organizer full of all the weird sizes, they're more valuable than anything else. In fact, the more general-purpose the component, the more valuable it is — voltage regulators, op-amps, and even transistors come in handy.

Gears are worst. I think it was a review of some gear-based robotics kit by the Mythbusters guys where they admitted to having a pile of gears that virtually never gets touched. It seems that every single one has a different pitch and pattern, and they require precise spacing to work properly. I'd love to hear how someone documents and mates gears because my box of them is on the brink of recycling.
I have not yet built with the gears of a printer. The linear motion assemblies are already built in the printers, it seems best to leave the rods and motors and gears intact. A computer interface is built into each printer to begin with. If single commands are sent to the print head motion assembly it is possible to move a print head back and forth in single step increments. This was true in the days of dot-matrix printers and at least one company published BASIC code to step their print head directly.

If we leave the mechanical assemblies and electronics connected, then it could be easier to just remount them into a CNC, cutter, etc.

Hope my .02$ was worth something to someone and generated some new ideas.  :)
filtercages2 years ago
Not just a heath hazard - it's carcinogenic, so a 'cheap' paint mask is not good.
In commercial situations, it is necessary to handle the toner & parts in a specially designed booth, and to dispose of the powder according to regulations
Toner is a nusiance, I agree. But the MSDS sheets for the toners I looked up did not say it was carcinogenic. Can you tell me which toner brand is indictated to be toxic from the MSDS records?

I'd really like to know before I go back to disassembling with only a mask and gloves.

Thank you very much!
xvicente2 years ago
>What should I do with them all?Suggestions in the comments

Upon seeing that many gears, I could only think of an ORRERY
imperio2 years ago
Time of famine! anything can serve!
knukelhed2 years ago
You should attempt to re-create the breakfast machine from movie "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure"
AJMansfield2 years ago
Make a CNC paper folding machine.
SilverJimny (author)  AJMansfield2 years ago
lol, interresting....
I'm actually quite serious, too. You have loads of parts meant for handling paper, so all you need is something to actually make the folds. It would be very difficult to make it actually work, though...
SilverJimny (author)  AJMansfield2 years ago
An envelope stuffer might be a workable project.
kuhldad2 years ago
I've done this project! I use the rubber rollers for vibration absorber on my Rock tumblers and bench grinder. Their was a small fan on the one I took apart and I've used it as a soldering station smoke extractor. The ABS plastic I softened in Acetone and used on my homemade NERF gun. The thin strip of mirror (very flat high quality reflector) from the scanner/ copier part is going into my laser beam-break early warning system. Several LEDs from the control panel have been dedicated to Joule Thief projects. Great posting earns a Favorite from me.
paultkamp2 years ago
I'd make a generator with a handcrank. I actually took an old laserjet apart 2 days ago. The parts are still all over the floor.
just a pity that 5.5 inch floppy drives are no longer common place... the steppers in them made for awesome fixed magnet generators, especially when you hook 10-20 of em on one shaft
Junker1232 years ago
I have been scrapping for years. Some suggestions I can add are as follows.
I use more bins and separate: (comma denotes separate bin) gears sprokets rollers and spools, gear train assemblies, bushings and bearings,small hardware as screws, nuts, bolts, studs, spacers, washers etc.(because most are Metric), A/C-D/C motors and brushless motors, small steppers, large steppers, levers and mounting plates and structual parts as right angle supports etc., springs, belts and chains, wiring harnesses, sensors LEDs displays etc., Circuit boards (lots of electronic parts), rods bearing shafts etc. You get the idea.
A great source of printers are Salvation Army, check with local Boys and Girls Clubs, any place that takes donated stuff, they always have a bunch of junk and want to get rid of unusables. Do them a favor and take it all, usually for free just to keep them from having to throw in trash.
Bins for storage: I like empty plastic coffee and creamer cans and others that have a lid, just watch what you are throwing away. For larger pieces, I like the rubber totes with snap-on lids that can be bought for around $5, buy the small ones, because they can get heavy fast with a lot of salvaging. They can also be used to store the smaller containers, just label them.
What do you do with this bonanza of parts? Electronic experiments, robotics, any machine you can dream up. I scrap them back down also when I get through playing with them.
same same junker... fortunately I distribute stuff for a living at the wholesale level, and boxes are far from hard to come by, eventually tho, you have to bite the bullet and cash in a couple of cubic meters of aluminium heatsinks in order to pay for your xmas slabs ;)~
Make an invisible planetarium with the laser.
Really, like Silver Jimmy said, they are dangerous and can blind you or someone else. I keep them carefully stored away for future use as (undisclosed). there are several reasons invisible LASERs are outlawed, Google it. What most people and apparently lawmakers are that they are available in laser printers. Just be careful if you experiment with these, research it first. RED laser goggles wont help you with these to my knowledge.
red laser goggles won't help at all, BUT, clear acrylic plastic absorbs IR light, especially at such low powers as found in laser printers and cd roms. For that matter, most CO2 laser cutters have acrylic shrouds for the same purposes. (side from the big bugger off industrial cutters)
SilverJimny (author)  pedistrarian2 years ago
al_packer2 years ago
I see a lot of parts there that could be used in creating a modelmaker's lathe (or mill). The round bar (shafting) May be suitable for the lathe's ways, gears for reducing the motor speed, gears for faceplate, etc. I was given such a lathe some 55+ years ago, and had great fun with it until I was able to buy my first Unimat.

As an aside on dismantling things, I scarfed a reflex lens/mirror assembly out of a photocopier that has been good for seeing lashes and grit that get in my eyes. The HV power supply was a good start for a Tesla coil. I imagine the supply for a laser printer would do just as well.
The HV drum supply (i Assume) was a good start for a TC? maybe a really tiny TC?
SilverJimny (author)  al_packer2 years ago
Someone else mentioned a lathe too, I'll look into it!
erisraven2 years ago
I'd take the gears and wires for steampunk jewelry and to steampunk up other items. I'm not yet skilled enough with electronics to use the motors, alas.
SilverJimny (author)  erisraven2 years ago
I could do plastipunk, unless I can find a bag of metal gears!
Layered paint can do wonders to convert the appearance of plastic into old metal. A quick search for "paint plastic to look like metal" yields many results of various usefulness and detail levels.
(Maybe one day I'll have time to write these things rather than read and comment and wish.)
OrIsIt2 years ago
Steam punk'!
Eh Lie Us!2 years ago
Great post! I'm there with you. If it's free it's for me! Just the mere mention of it evokes a flood of building ideas. I love the details and pictures. It's like spare part porn!
durango4212 years ago
You can also use those salvaged parts for "Petropunk"...same as steampunk but with easier to find and cheaper parts,lol.
Schmidty162 years ago
o and I almost forgot a power plant a hand cranked one
Schmidty162 years ago
u could use them for a motorized tractor or a series of contraptions that turn off your something like your alarm clock, make a helicopter ,a robot, rc car ,fan system, mini fridge, a generator, humidifier, motorized boat ,homemade motor, a propeller, a crane, a flashlight
Rich.2 years ago
You could use the motors, rods, bearings, some of the screws, some of the wiring, maybe some of the gears and build a 3 axis table top CNC milling machine. Something like this http://www.solsylva.com/.
lcarraro12 years ago
3rd pic, from top on the right: cartridge and/or drum unit wireless chips. without them cartridges and drum don't work
BrenBren2 years ago
I definitely see a time lapse camera slider complete with motorized pan, and tilt, and maybe zoom and focus!
SilverJimny (author)  BrenBren2 years ago
Nice idea.
I don't really need a membership but I'll comment anyways.

I've been tearing apart old broken electronics I think since I could walk. I got my hands on my first printer a few years back. It was a regular printer though, not laser. I've also broken apart lcd screens, and printer/scanner combos (these are super fun). I kept all the parts and over the years found the strangest uses for them. I made an earing from the lcd screen (the metal holding everything). I used the weird reflective sheets inside along with the top part of the scanner/printer to make spread the light and make a light box for tracing. I have a little bag full of motors that I plan to use someday. I've used them for little experiment on and off but nothing big.

Some ideas:
- Make a few cardboard gears rotate, stick a clock face between them, and you get a cool clock.
- Use a motor and one of the rods to make a tiny Ferris wheel.
- Use the motors to add moving parts to replicas. I really want to try this to make some little houses, and stuff.
- Make a little moving car.
- or robot?
- A conveyor belt? although I don't know what you'd use it for.

But mostly they're going to come in handy over time, and you'll learn about them over time. There's still some parts I have no idea what to do with (little displays, cables, etc) but eventually they'll get used. Sometimes just as something decorative (as a kid I didn't know how to make anything actually run so I stuck calculator monitors to a hollow wooden book and pretended it was a sort of ebook, lol).

I'd really like more ideas as to what to do with the rods. I have a bunch, and I rarely find any uses for them. They're often different sizes and just not consistent. They also don't bend so... that reduces their usability.
SilverJimny (author)  AlanTheRobot2 years ago
I#m stuck on what to do with the shafts too, they are solid metal and I expect they will need machining properly which a mill or a lathe, neither of which I have.
there are a lot of ideas for rods,they make great motor shafts,pins and lot more on robots
I mentioned robots but I'm not really interested in them. For what I like to do I haven't found a use for them yet.
AJMansfield2 years ago
The little white thing on the PCB might be a humidity sensor (since none of the other things I have seen were the humidity sensor, and there certainly is one somewhere)
SilverJimny (author)  AJMansfield2 years ago
Someone I was talking to a few days ago thought it might be a humidity sensor. I'll have a closer look at the IC on its back.
play4work2 years ago
Nice instructable.
In addition to the free stuff, one gets to learn a lot.
Seeing how things are put together is a great way to build-up design skills.
My suggestion is to build a solar tracking system.
Using the shafts one could control more than 1 panel.
I also believe some of those shafts are stainless...Anyone can confirm this ?
SilverJimny (author)  play4work2 years ago
There are a few stainless rods, and some aluminum.
BrenBren2 years ago
2nd one from the top on the left looks like the device to transfer a charge to the roller that picks up the toner (sorry don't know any of the actual terms).
hitmanAUS2 years ago
this is great!!! I have so many printers ready for the dumpster at work, might bring a few home and get some free parts!!

Now with all the stuff you "reclaimed" you should do an instructable for how to put together a bespoke Epsom C1100 Coulour laser printer and use an old microwave or something for the casing! hahaaa!!
robotmaker2 years ago
i been tearing down lasers printers and inkjet printers for years
so many parts for my robots i build ,shafts,motors,gears springs

,sensors and some circuit parts like h-bridge or stepper drivers
mostly find in the trash and i save a lot of money
Hepkess2 years ago
OK Mr. Smartypants, now let's put it all back together before dinner!
dsandds20032 years ago
Well i see alot of stainless steel, aluminum and not seen but their is copper wire. Some of the motore can be used a small wind generators by reconfiguring the wires comming out of it. Some of the circuit board barts can be refferenced by using the online NTE cross refference parts book. Also possible resistors and caps.
I use the stainless steel rods as punches. These are usually from old printers or scanners. I have so many motors i take them apart for the steel, copper and aluminum. Some have small brass bushings. I also save the harnesses as sometimes i can use them for either a repair job or a custom project. Theis is also a cross reference online for the japan/china parts with spec sheets. These work good for digital displays on some printers.
I have been saving parts from old electronics for years. I have accumelated alot of parts for projects and repair work.
PtrkLnk2 years ago
Also I have a lot of inkjet printers around that are all dead (those things break so quickly) that I am going to take apart and try to make something out of. I am not going to donate my hp laserjet iii to the cause though. That thing is built like a tank.
PtrkLnk2 years ago
you have a good start on a 3d printer or a cnc mill.
lsymms2 years ago
Missing a donor? Craigslist is your friend. Ink jets cough up a lot of the same parts (less bars for sure) but great belt driven sliding mechanisms. All in ones are a trove of items, tiny CF bulb for the scanner, really thick smooth edged glass, etc.
greypoet2 years ago
Pick up an Arduino kit and maybe a Rasberry Pi kit (adafruit.com or google Arduino) and have a blast with all the parts you already have.
BillybobT2 years ago
I figured with all the motors, there has to be some Arduino project lurking out there. I'm just getting started with Arduino, but I'll now be on the lookout for scrapped printers from the hospital my brother works at.
paliaspip2 years ago
Myself, I would use the motors, gears and spare parts to gear down a motor for a ball mill. Simple enough, and I will try find an old printer to do so.
SilverJimny (author)  paliaspip2 years ago
interesting idea.
chestef2 years ago
I really enjoyed this INSTRUCTABLE. I have been doing this with ink jet printers and getting a lot of gears and shafts. My purpose id to animate scenes on my HO Model Railroad. Also I want to adapt the stepper motors to robots and my Model Railroad. The Arduino post on here are great learning sources and I hop to get more into them.
Microbe2 years ago
What to do? Try to re-assemble it :o) Kidding...

Whenever I pull something apart I am in awe of the engineers who designed it in the first place. That they figured it would need a spring here, a lever there, how many screws etc etc etc.

FWIW the lid to my mailbox is a computer case side panel with a hinge attached
mikolynn2 years ago
Nice! And so cleaver to post it! I do it 3 times with printers, and lots more with all kind of electronic gadgets, RC Cars, HI-FI, a microwave owen...
A Nice thing you can build with all these stepper motors and gears is a... Chronograph!
Sometimes I dream to build up one, but never I do it.
Bruce P2 years ago
My late Father used to do this all the time. The result is my mother has a garage full of motors and gears and odd screws! Also every time anything breaks in my house I have the urge to take it apart! DNA works in strange ways!!!
The bottom two photos of the questionables seem to be thermal switches. You could test this by checking the resistance between the posts at various temperatures.
Oldbear2 years ago
They came from a broken printer...
handprints2 years ago
oh my!!! what a lot of neat stuff!!! I particularly like the springs. People at work already think I'm strange so I think I will put the word out that I would like to take home any broken machinery. Treasures!!!
I do this now - and yes they think your strange - but people "love" not having to go to the dump/recycle yard themselves. Even many of the metal cases have become parts for other projects.
SilverJimny (author)  handprints2 years ago
Do it, there are so many motors, gears, springs & screws taking up space in landfills. They need liberating!
richardsan2 years ago
being a potter, i can see many texture making tools in this batch of bling!
i'm checking the status of an HP all in one, if it even sneezes...disassembly will ensue!!
Instructables like this will save a lot of old equipment from the landfills... but make it an unsafe world for mis-behaving electronics. ;)
produtor2 years ago
Take that gears and make a follow focus for your cam! Iwould do.
racastro622 years ago
Motors + cables + bars + gears + springs + diverse switches + metal plates + screws + (microcontroller board) = A nice robot!
Alpha_geek2 years ago
I love the collective nouns, particularly the entanglement of springs
maintann2 years ago
the bottom two items the short white cylinders with metal caps & spade terminals are almost certainly overtemp sensors
bfalls2 years ago
You could rearrange them all into a usable laser printer..!
mechatr0nix2 years ago
My best ideas for those parts would be a laser engraver (there are a few on this site,) or play with the toner(safely) to etch your own PCBs without the actual printer.

I am in the process of taking apart one of the many printers in the house to rebuild it on computer for a school project. Unfortunately, there are only 2 visible screws, that didn't allow me to do anything new after being removed.

I also have a new monochrome laser printer that my brother wrecked by failing to make it print on a transparency sheet, the sheet melted, so I'll try to follow you with the parts I salvage from it.
SilverJimny (author)  mechatr0nix2 years ago
I don't think the laser has enough power to engrave. From what I can see looking at other peoples 'ibles it looks like they use the diode from a DVD burner.
DVD and CD writers also use Class 3B lasers, also with yours being in the Infrared spectrum, the maximum power (AEL) is 0.5W, which is very high. The only higher class of laser is Class 4, which is illegal to sell preassembled in some areas. If you can find a way to drive your laser diode, you would have a very powerful tool, just make sure you use the appropriate goggles and follow other safety procedures. Maybe start by finding the purpose of the circuitry surrounding the laser, your optimal laser driver could be in your hand.
I imagine putting together a kit for building a toy motorized car/truck that I can work on with my grandson. Motors, gears, rods, wires, perhaps some recycled cardboard shaped like a vehicle....
SilverJimny (author)  LadyInRedwoods2 years ago
Good idea, maybe some of these motor could be housed in Lego?
vincent75202 years ago
Holly F***g S**t !!!!…

You mean that when I throw away my old printer I dump all that s**t in nature ???…
(I mean I have very little trust in what they call "recycling" even if it's better than nothing).
I'm just flabbergasted !…
Next time I'll take great care in ripping off all these bits that are totally useless to me but certainly will come handy with some friends !…


BTW : How big is the orange plastic bucket filled with screws, washers and bolts ?…
If you showed it's size from the side it would be a great lesson in environment too…
Thank you again !…
I am mesmerized by all the little bits. I have visions of Steampunk art. I am casting about for a free printer as we speak.
linnmarino2 years ago
How much could be used to make a 3D printer? Certainly something I would want.
I also like to donate misc parts to local artists and scout troops that teach kids how to build things.
giulio.m2 years ago
Good job! I've been demantling printer since a long time ago. The best one I have erver dismantled was a OKIDATA solid wax printer. It had a lot of the same stuff of yours inside plus a bunch of heaters for the wax, a 5"Ø x 10" long alluminum drum which I turned into a nice kitchen gear holder. Two very potent 24v electric motors one of which turned into a micro lathe. Wear gloves! the metallic case has very sharp edges which gave my right little finger a nice 4 stitches souvenir!
zerode2 years ago
This was really useful and unexpected - I love to see more take apart instructions - but the best thing in it, in many ways, was the breakdown of parts (with links for some of them!) and the beginnings of suggestions about what to do with those parts.
billbillt2 years ago
I am looking for one of these now...
irishjim682 years ago
Excellent instructable!! Great job of presenting the individual steps along with a wealth of photos. Added as favorite!
May I recommend for the gears...match as many as possible and place in zip baggies or seal-able manila envelopes to fit, and mark them accordingly prior to placing them in a parts bin just for gears.
mmchugh12 years ago
Maybe, the bars/rails, motors and gears could be built into a slowly moving dolly for time lapse photography. Or the parts could be used to add 'Goto' capabilities to a telescope.
SilverJimny (author)  mmchugh12 years ago
I have been thinking about the telescope idea. I have a celestron scope sat in the spare room gathering dust....
samern2 years ago
Oh and one more things....I've seen writeups to take Diodes like that and turn them into cutters (not that they would cut much more than thin plastic or balsa, or cheese, but...hey....
samern2 years ago
I've used the rods out of the printers I've torn down as the guide rods in 3D printers. There usually are a couple of 8mm rods, and those hardened steel beauties are perfect to use with the LM88 linear bearings. I have one of those micro chop-saws from Micro-Mark fitted with a metal cutoff blade and I just remove the segments with notches or ridges that would make smooth sliding of the bearing difficult. I've also used the rods for axles and for some I used a tap and die set and threaded the ends to make control rods for other things. The larger steppers have worked nicely in 3D printers and CNC machines I've put together and the smaller motors are good to drive tank type or 4x4 or 6x6 type robots or other vehicles. The larger DC motors I am using in my CNC machine (I have been quietly converting my Fab@Home Model 2 to use steppers and RepRap electronics) -- the larger motors take a dremel chuck and free up my real dremel -- just don't zap them with too much power. I've also used the gears to torque up or down the output of other motors and if you keep any timing belts, you can keep the cogs that go with them to run your CNC or 3D Printers, or make your own milling machine. The bushings from the rods make great bearings for those axles or as rod guides. The control panel probably has a bunch of DPDT switches you can use, and likely a few LEDs you can put to work. The tap switches I use as limiting switches (end stops) on my printers and CNC machines. If you build a robot and it's 'blind', you can use the tap switches to signal the robot that it has hit an obstacle so it can change course. I could go on....and on....
blckbuster2 years ago
I see a robot, possibly with the addition of an early generation smartphone (or even late gen if a damaged screen - either could be free) you could create you're own little Droid pal
londobali2 years ago
You must have great fun dismantling that printer.. :)

I have an idea: rebuild the printer, from memory!
it'll be a great brain exsercise.. :D
ianmcmill2 years ago
hell, I never have luck with printers. always get strange voltage stepper or only DC's
tw70032 years ago
Some people use toner to color epoxy resin, either to make it look better (colors!) or to hide something (black blob of epoxy).
Be careful though to not inhale the toner.
SilverJimny (author)  tw70032 years ago
Good thinking, but alas I have thrown all the toner away. I'll keep it in mind though!
alex4point02 years ago
* the rods reminded me of the cigarette smoking machine
* the gears and rods also suggested clocks, perhaps a 'long clock'. or a clock for another planet, Mars perhaps. 
* the laser, a cigarette lighter, or as part of the cigarette machine?

* some kind of furby/nabaztag that imparts a "reduce/reuse/recycle" message, that sits next to whatever printer replaced this one, something that displays/counts the (new) printer's current page count, giving the user or users (if it's an office printer) an idea of how much printing the device is doing. even those two solenoids could activate a little guy who presses the button on one of those pitch/lap counters. a simple visual prompt to help keep office waste down. maybe out of all those gears you could make a small flip clock / counter to display the print count. the parts that you couldn't identify, it occurred to me they might be part of the sensors that monitor paper jams, or how far along the print path each sheet is, so they might be light sensors of some kind. considering how much noise a printer makes, instead of monitoring the page count via a network connection (which would be cool, but energy and materials intensive), maybe a sound or current sensor that notices the printer come out of standby. or otherwise notices a page has been printed. maybe just a light sensor sitting in the output bin. that tells a little guy made out of all those cool springs and cogs to hit the counter. yeah that. :)

Orngrimm2 years ago
the same treasure-chest is a scanner or also (especially for steppers) Ink-printers.
v3nomsoup2 years ago
I See a Deathstar! Complete with Class 3B invisible Laser weapons of mass destructioN!
May the (mechanical) force be with you!
agis682 years ago
i do this all the time....from the laser or copy machines you may collect the graffite and play with magnet to make shapes. You could make a CNC with the steper motors and some metalic parts and gears......many cool things are nesting in these machines......;)
Danielxv2 years ago
Build a printer...

Just kidding...

What is your knowledge in electronics?
The parts of the printer are not very useful by itself
You can basically use them to complement other projects, not to build projects...

My tip: Store all.
Learn what they are for and with time you will find where you can use them.

Good Luck
Danielxv2 years ago
The black piece with the white wire looks like a contact switch.
The small circuit board with a chip is an inverter.
The SEMITEC is an infrared temperature sensor.
The last is a temperature switch. Used in electric grill, waffle machine, and many others with temperature control.

For others I would need to see more pictures to know what they are...
Chiana_Rei2 years ago
That last part look like a photo sensor, or photoresistor
Foxtrot702 years ago
Interesting Instructable! With the frame, stepper motors, & other parts you appear to have the a lot of the base components needed to build a 3D printer.
big__chief2 years ago
I see the start of many things....mini CNC, mini wind turbine, etc. I think the best one for me (being an engineering student interested in wind turbines) I would make a small wind turbine with a planetary gearbox out of those gears.
SilverJimny (author)  big__chief2 years ago
Interesting idea for the wind turbine.
Zephyr6552 years ago
How could i forget! Here is what you should make!
SilverJimny (author)  Zephyr6552 years ago
I like the sound of that!
Nice instructible. You can also do this with little inkjet printers. You get less goodies, but they are easier to come by fro free and less likely to dump toner everywhere when you pull them apart. You also might want to mention that you will need Torx or 'star drive' screw drivers for most printers these days under your tools section. Cheers
SilverJimny (author)  NovelUserName2 years ago
I've done plenty of inkjets, but as you say the rewards are nothing when compared with a laser printer :)
The motor bits could probably work for an animatronic creature.

The other bits would probably be good for making miniatures. Saw a post somewhere that involved turning a lighter into a tiny motorcycle.
SilverJimny (author)  TurtleGarg942 years ago
aaahotdog2 years ago
Just a note of caution. I service these bad boys and it is cool that someone harvests stuff from them that won't go into the landfill. HERE is the important part though. TONER is very flammable. We use a special grounded vacuum with a high density filter to suck up toner. A common household vacuum with either toss toner around your house or worst case start on fire. I would recommend you disassemble in your garage and use compressed air to blow the toner off of the parts outside, don't use a vacuum on it indoors.
Good comment. And correct.
Toner is also a health hazard if you inhale it.
Personally, I'd start by removing the toner cartridges outside and wear a cheap paint mask while blowing out the printer with compressed air outdoors.
Zephyr6552 years ago
Great instructable! That intro hit the nail right on the head! except you forgot.... FREE HUGS!
lammerza2 years ago
Wow thats awesome...so many parts. I tried this before and managed to round up two stepper motors and some plastic gears from this laserjet.
lewisb422 years ago
The seMITEC part might be a photoconductor or photoresistor.
SilverJimny (author)  lewisb422 years ago
Sounds reasonable, I remember getting it nearer the end of the strip down. The last two idents I did was the fuser unit and the photo conductor unit.
chathorne2 years ago
the last two look like temp switches. check the continuity, not whether or not they are normally open or closed, then heat them up with a hair dryer and see if they open or close.
SilverJimny (author)  chathorne2 years ago
I expect you're right. It came from the circuit that controlled the heating element in the fuser unit.
useraaaaa2 years ago
i love stepper motors