Introduction: Turn a Dead Printer Into a Shredder

Picture of Turn a Dead Printer Into a Shredder

Printers tend to fail. In my company, we had one that ended up making us mad with all sorts of failures (see next step), wasting a lot of paper. So I decided to transform it into something it could be very good at: a shredder.

Step 1: Printer Failures

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Non-exhaustive list of possible printer failures that can drive you mad:
  • just won't print
  • stays stuck in the middle of a job
  • ejects a blank sheet before, after, or instead of your print job
  • will output lots of pages full of text with weird characters, instead of what you expect
  • PC Load letter syndrome (actually, could be your mistake, A4 vs Letter)
  • no more ink, in the middle of your 100 pages document
  • does not resume correctly (skips a page) after you had to reload paper in the middle of a document; very annoying when double-sided printing...
  • paper jam
  • after you fixed the paper jam, resumes printing but skips a page
  • loads two pages instead of one (inserts one blank page)
  • loads two pages instead of one, but slightly shifted (wastes two pages)
  • loads page with a skew
  • refuses to print a black/white document, because one of the color cartidges is empty (although there is enough black ink)
  • spreads ink/toner everywhere
  • folds the pages (unfortunately, not as a paper plane)
  • etc, etc, etc...
When you've decided it's time to get rid of it, you have several possibilities, among which:

Step 2: Protagonists

Picture of Protagonists
  • The printer in question.
This one is a venerable Konica Minolta Magicolor 2350 color laser printer. It was certainly among the awesome ones, back in the days when color laser printer were uncommon, big, heavy (lots of parts were made of metal), slow, and very expensive (way more expensive than the toner -- unlike nowadays).
  • A small shredder.
Note how both styles differ. WALL-E and EVE ancestors?

Step 3: Rip the Guts Off

Picture of Rip the Guts Off

Remove all what can be removed without compromising the case stability.

You will end up with a big amount of waste. Similar to after eating artichokes.

Many parts are very specific and probably difficult to reuse, but some can be salvaged for future projects (motors, switches, magnets, and a crazy amount of screws).

Dispose the rest properly.

Step 4: Install the Shredder

Picture of Install the Shredder

I had to enlarge the paper ejection slot, to give access to the shredder.

Step 5: Use IT!

Picture of Use IT!

Well, it may look like a familiar scene, indistinguishable from a regular printer at first, but the paper now moves in the opposite direction!

Step 6: ShredDirect [TM]

Picture of ShredDirect [TM]
One word about the ShredDirect [TM] technology.

How often did you notice, right after clicking the print button, and before it was even printed, that your work was not perfect enough? How many times did you print your work until perfect?

Now with ShredDirect, you waste the same amount of paper, but you save the ink!

Here is how it works:
  1. Instead of printing your document, take (manually) a sheet of paper from the tray, and
  2. shred it (see picture).
  3. Improve your work on your computer, and repeat until fully satisfied. Only then, print for real.
Compatibility: ShredDirect works with most modern operating systems, and Plan9.


DarkRage3 (author)2010-03-13

You should submit this as an April Fool's prank for the contect

RaNDoMLeiGH (author)DarkRage32010-03-23

Do it with a printer/scanner/copier instead of just the printer. Lots more "fun" at the office that way.

Anyone in the student loan business... you should install one of these, so next time you guys are working on my file maybe you could make something useful happen.

mettaurlover (author)RaNDoMLeiGH2010-04-11

Actually, doing that could get you fired or in serious trouble...

pootislord (author)mettaurlover2017-11-16

It wouldnt, well It would because you are destroying a printer, but no one is stupid enough to put a piece of paper in the top of the printer, when the paper tray is on the bototm.

RaNDoMLeiGH (author)mettaurlover2010-04-14

No, really?!

drewscreen (author)2016-06-05

Your title is misleading. It should be: "Hide a shredder inside a gutted printer"

abukisho (author)2016-05-18

I thinked that you are used mecanizm for copy machine and change or repare some tools to finish the jop!

urbanalbino (author)2011-07-30

I would totally do this (or have husband do it) if I had one of these huge printers! Its geeky and a cool conversation piece. Good job on the tut. I would go crazy and paint the printer! =)

jxp1 (author)2011-05-19

irs a great april fool???????????????

renewilson (author)2010-05-14

Well do you think that it is going to work. I have doubts on that. Have any one tried it. What will you do with you laser toner cartridges that you will replace it with your shredder tool. Will it fit into the slot that yo are telling.

Well would like to experiment on this but when i have a spare printer to ruin it not now.

laxap (author)2010-03-25

ShredDirect [TM]: In the process of making a perfect document, waste the same quantities of paper, but save toner. This whole instructable is a joke. Step 6 is the final joke.

THELOVEOFGREG (author)2010-03-18

You mean a printer is NOT suppose to shred paper? Geesh maybe my Lennox was a shredder in a former life☺

I think that's what happens when the shredder and printer sit too closely together in an unattended room for very long. First, they start chatting, then they get friendly, and before you know it, your printer gets ideas.

It doesn't work the other way round, though, because printers have all those smart chips and stuff, while shredders are just kinda "duhhhh".

Oh no... our printer is wireless... maybe that's why it prints random screen shots of Stephen Colbert, it's been talking to the TV! Jeez, that might make for some difficult times during tornado season. I'll know for sure if paper starts flying around the office.

davidochs (author)2010-03-20

Cool concept.

anyoldmouse (author)2010-03-18

Maybe you could just turn it into something completely different instead of the exact opposite. Maybe hide a UPS inside, a CPU, a little refrigerator or microwave?

I like the idea of turning everything into a toaster, but an office is an unlikely place for toast.

laxap (author)anyoldmouse2010-03-18

A4/Letter - sized toasts?
But then, with paper jam!

adamvan2000 (author)laxap2010-03-18

Laser-powered Toaster!  Burns important documents into the toast!



anyoldmouse (author)adamvan20002010-03-18

You see? This is exactly the kind of thing I expect to see here. I knew that there was still room for toast innovation. Laser-powered...that's awesome.

adamvan2000 (author)anyoldmouse2010-03-19

You'd have to clean it out really good, and make sure the paper path could handle the extra thickness.  Also, there'd have to be a way to deal with crumbs...

Duplexing toast would be cool, but possibly problematic...  mebbe a prism to split the beam somehow.   And yes I know how a laser printer with toner works.  I am thinking how to do it with a real laser, like those kit ones.


eecharlie (author)2010-03-19

Sorry, how is this better than the shredder all by itself? Have you only installed the top part of the shredder so that the cavity inside the printer holds all the confetti? 

Or is this mostly just a joke?

Maybe you could put one of those cooling fans back inside, pointed at a hole in the casing so that when you shred something it blows a cloud of shredded paper at you. Would be great for office parties or dramatically destroying important documents.

tom.needer (author)2010-03-12

Inventgeek did this 4 years ago.... not origional!

laxap (author)tom.needer2010-03-18

I got the idea independently, and did not check. So thanks for the info. Credit given.

Goodhart (author)2010-03-18

I have a small color jet printer that shreds documents before I ever see them about a third of the time without modification :-) 

DarkRubyMoon (author)2010-03-09

I think I owned that printer... it shredded everything I tried to print!

laxap (author)DarkRubyMoon2010-03-10

Did you buy it? do you remember for how much?

adamvan2000 (author)laxap2010-03-18

We bought a refurbed 2430DL for $249 for printing at home(running a non-profit) which has served us well, as well as being very cheap on toner.  Only problem we have with it now is that there's a line down the right side of every page we print.  The toner only costs us $40-50 for a refill, which lasts a looooong time.  The carts work good for refilling, too, no special tools needed.


DarkRubyMoon (author)laxap2010-03-10

No... not really... was just joking.

Azayles (author)2010-03-18

'"PC SHRED LETTER"? What the f*%# does that mean?!"

Great 'ible :P I see a mistake in step 3 though:

"waste" should be

"handy parts to use in other 'ibles" xD!

I once used the heater element (like a long thin light bulb) as part of an acrylic bender :D

laxap (author)Azayles2010-03-18


Do you remember the voltage? I also saved the heater.

Azayles (author)laxap2010-03-18

Should say it on the white ceramic end caps, at least it did on mine. The one I had was 240 volts, so direct mains.
You can most likely use an ordinary light dimmer switch to vary the temperature, as the filament represents a resistive load -- exactly like a light bulb.

digus (author)2010-03-18

Any advantage to not just use the new shredder and chunk the old printer? I can't see it being any more efficient - plus it's 10 times bigger... Geeky and fun though...

laxap (author)digus2010-03-18

Indeed the old printer case will soon end up in the waste, unless I find a better idea... Anyway that was just fun to make and to post.

digus (author)laxap2010-03-18

Well I can certainly respect that! At least you're doing something (somewhat;)) productive...;)

modern man (author)2010-03-14

The concept is hilarious, but you didn't really show any how to.
I agree with Zack247.

dmfh (author)2010-03-10

Remember you can try and recycle the printer....or even donate it to your favorite not for profit organization (may have a tech that will repair it).

I like the office space idea better....lets all just face it....sometimes things just deserved to get punched in the face a few times.

stncilr (author)dmfh2010-03-11

whoa! i wouldn't like to be your wife!

MotaBoi (author)stncilr2010-03-12


tom.needer (author)2010-03-12
sjs229 (author)2010-03-10

 but what's its use if you are using an actual shredder?

you could use that shredder without putting it in the printer also.

laxap (author)sjs2292010-03-10

Of course, you're right.

But that was just for the fun. This printer was more destroying than printing. Half-shredding. I found it funny to make it perfectly shred.

The hero of this ible is still the printer, not the shredder hidden inside.

Zaphod Beeblebrox (author)2010-03-10


might be a bit better with a real trademark sighn--  copy paste away!   

ShredDirect ®

Datawolf (author)2010-03-10

I don't unbderstand the added value of the printer !
What about using the shredder directly ?

laxap (author)Datawolf2010-03-10

No added value, just for fun. And also, to enter the contest (also just for fun, since I'm not in the US/Canada) !

danlab (author)2010-03-10

we had the same printer, it worked passably until about four years ago when it somehow broke the black toner cartridge and coated the inside with lots of nasty black goop. After that we took a tour of the computer recycling place and it didn't get to go. But ally we just took it the the recyclers and made it their problem.

Kryptonite (author)2010-03-07

I would go through reams of paper every day...

zieak (author)2010-03-06

Can you cry "uncle" before even entering a contest?  If so, then I am.

laxap (author)zieak2010-03-07

Zieak, sorry I don't understand what you mean (to cry Uncle, does it mean to give up?).

ANDY! (author)2010-03-07

I think my dad had a Konica mic... printer that i took apart.

zack247 (author)2010-03-06

couldn't you have used the rollers inside the printer to make it take the paper and feed it into the shredder? it would look a little more like a rinter, without the shredder in (somewhat) plain sight

laxap (author)zack2472010-03-06

Good idea, thanks, but the alignment would have been very tricky. For safety reason, I prefer to have some sight of the shredder. Maybe I'll use some plastic sheets to improve the junction.

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