Harvesting Parts From a Laser Printer

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A passionate make of things. I spend my time developing new ideas and looking for ways to improve...

Intro: 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!


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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.


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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.

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    173 Discussions

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    Peter.Steele

    5 years ago on Step 10

    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...

    3 replies
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    SamN2Peter.Steele

    Reply 2 years ago

    you would need a diode housing right?

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    Junker123SilverJimny

    Reply 5 years ago on Step 10

    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.

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    SilverJimny

    5 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    linny

    5 years ago on Step 10

    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.

    3 replies
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    linnySilverJimny

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    SilverJimnylinny

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    shawnalfaro

    7 months ago

    i just took apart a small copier machine and got a few motors. an induction motor with a squirrel cage fan attached to one end and the other is geared, also got a synchronous motor as well. there was more to get from it so i basically saved the metal substructure, and everything else. i did manage to open up the damned toner cartridge but managed to keep the mess to a minimum. saved all the metal pieces from that. I have no idea what to use the motors for, but the big one (induction) is rated at 60hz, 120v 3300RPM and the small one is...oh i put it away but its 120v. so what can i do with the induction motor?

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    undinstructable

    9 months ago

    hi there!

    Check out this project. This guy is using the laser assembly

    as a projection system for, as example, a SLR 3d printer.

    Good luck!

    https://hackaday.io/project/1129-openexposer

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    sujith john

    1 year ago

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

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    bilca68

    1 year ago

    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.

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    TheOriginalNerd

    2 years ago

    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.

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    TheOriginalNerd

    2 years ago

    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.

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    DidikS4

    2 years ago

    Wow...

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

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    Yonatan24

    2 years ago

    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"

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    Jimmeh30

    5 years ago on Step 9

    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. ;)

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    JakeJ20Jimmeh30

    Reply 2 years ago

    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.