Printer from a CD reader

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Picture of Printer from a CD reader
This is an easy printer made from parts of a cd reader.
It prints using a regular marker of any color.
Maybe it doesn't have a great resolution but this is a project that I really wanted to do.

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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
The most important is the cd reader, also a dvd reader will work.
Try to find one with a bipolar motor for the laser, mine used a regular dc motor and I changed it later for a stepper motor.
Also you will need another stepper motor with a rubber wheel and a wooden base.
Electronic stuff is detailed in other step.

Step 2: First motor

Picture of First motor
Remove this motor with the metal support and the horizontal guides.
The pick up laser and the other motor are not used.

Step 3: Second motor

Picture of Second motor
This motor have to be removed with all the reduction gears.
Cut the plastic with a dremell and then use a sand paper to remove the excess.

Step 4: Finish the cartridge

Picture of Finish the cartridge
This is not actually a cartridge. But this is where the marker will be attached.
Use a piece of plastic, attach the dc motor to one of the sides and then glue all this over the guides of pick up laser.

Step 5: Marker holder

Picture of Marker holder
This little piece will allow you to change the marker.
Is a plastic tube with a hole on one side. Over that hole I glued a plastic nut with a screw.
This piece must be glued to the last reduction gear.

Step 6: New motor

Picture of New motor
This is because my cd reader used a dc motor, and it is not very efficient, so I changed it for a bipolar stepper motor.

Step 7: Electronic board

Picture of Electronic board
The circuit was made using a perfboard. The three switches in the image are to used in the final project

Step 8: Finish the hardware

Picture of Finish the hardware

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AndyGadget1 year ago
I've only just seen this - Absolutely Brilliant!
I was involved with designing dot-matrix printers way back in the 'eighties - Our fastest one did 320 characters per second but had nowhere near the appeal and style of yours.
babu14231 year ago
how do u connect the circuit to the computer to upload the program and the image? awsome project man .
Can u give me a link to the full circuit diagram i don't know where to connect the switches and the marker motor.
kevinmaru282 years ago
can u plz upload a video showing connections of your printer to PC
kevinmaru282 years ago
If I want to write some other text so i need to change code
lyakunina2 years ago
Awesome project!! Just one question.
"The three switches in the image are to used in the final project". What for?
brunoip (author)  lyakunina2 years ago
While debbugging that switches were for moving the paper or the pen or something like that. Now in the last program they are meaningless. Sorry for the late reply
kevinmaru282 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
brunoip (author)  kevinmaru282 years ago
The java program generates de basic code for the pic, then you have to assembly this code and upload it into the pic
aigotinsane2 years ago
looks like we just got a new definition to printers anyways its awesome and im amazed
kivster3 years ago
Can I buy one
brunoip (author)  kivster2 years ago
you can make one
Blake19953 years ago
could you tell me the names of all the components and connections you used please. And also how did you connect it to the computer.
brunoip (author)  Blake19953 years ago
You connect it to the computer when you load the program into the pic
I just remembered that but now I feel stupid :( lol
could you tell me were you got the chip marked 1293. Thanks in advanced.

It is L293.
It's a very common integrated used for get highs currents (up to 900mA), since a microcontroller usually has about 20 mA as maximum current output.

thanks for the help
brunoip (author)  bananacocodrilo2 years ago
I think 900 mA is the maximun current that you can handle with that ic.
babu14233 years ago
can you tell me all the name of the part's because i just started making robot's so i don't know what the symbols mean?
If you don't know what the symbols in the schematics mean, you need to learn basic circuitry first, buddy.
ms103 years ago
cool i liked .great project i would like to make one
babu14233 years ago
what do you do after you download the pic sumlator ide
tsusanto3 years ago
babu14233 years ago
can we use java script
babu14233 years ago
which motor did you use ? this one .
babu14233 years ago
which motor did you use ?this one.
babu14233 years ago
how big is the rectangle cut out?

R.A.T.M3 years ago
bender omg
Hugu3 years ago
Great project! congrats!!

Look, I and my team, we were interested in producing your circuit board and put in ower webshop with a link redirected to this instructable, because your project is a good project for others to make too!

Our webloja is this: and if you send us the schematic by email ( and if you authorize us make pcb of your circuit, we were very grateful!

By the way, if you want pcb's semi-professional, but with good quality and affordable for your circuits, you can also contact us! ;)
Kiteman3 years ago
It just occurred to me - if you used the thermal paper from some till machines, you could use the laser from the drive to plot your images instead of the pen, and you could call it a laser printer!
aessam13 years ago
only i can say
YoU aRe CrEaTiVe
mymixed3 years ago
Great job getting in the microcontroller contest!
antoman113 years ago
Megaman, TwoFace, The Batman, Yoda, Clone Trooper, Bender, AWESOME
Aaamazzara3 years ago
This project looked so easy but i really dont know how to build this circuit board :(
I want to build this so badly
gzaloprgm3 years ago
Really nice and simple... I wonder what limits the resolution and speed of it? Amount of gear tooths?
seems to be the amount of steps in the stepper motors used, unless it was the coding that places the pen spots as more 8-bit pictures than something more precise.
I don't think so... Aren't CD motors precise enough to read each "track" of the disc (< 1 mm)?

The PIC has only 3.5 KB of code memory, so I'm thinking that might be the limit.

Would be nice to add more colors, maybe using some primitive way of "cartridge" with a small (and fast) valve
or perhaps a rotating spindle with R,Y,B colored markers..

too bad theres no way (that i know of) to expand the memory size on the pic so you could do larger prints that are more precise.
Yes there are lots of ways: EEPROMs (like 24LC256), SD cards (preferrable, needs 3.3v interface), connecting to a PC (needs MAX232 or USB-TTL converter), or even tape recorders / audio (connecting an mp3 player headphones output to a uC and crudely analyse the frequency)

A cheap 32KiB EEPROM should give 512x512 monochrome pixels...

I am trying this as soon as I buy the motor controllers...
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