Old broken printers can be a great source for electronic parts. They usually have a lot of working parts, even if they can't do their original job of printing anymore. I have found that thrift stores will often give you a pile of untested printers for free if you ask around back in the receiving area.
In this Instructable, I got an Epson printer from a friend that was broken, but still in good shape. I will just show the parts I got out of it that I hope to use.
Step 1: Starting to Tear It Down.
I got lucky in this case that all of the screws were phillips head. Many of the printers, especially HPs, use small Torx screws.
The tools I used were:
- Small and medium phillips screw drivers
- long, thin slotted screw driver for prying
- pliers, for when subtlety fails
- wire cutters (did not use this time)
I just take my time, and try to figure out the best way to disassemble without tearing anything up. I once tore up a nice stepper motor, because I got impatient. It is really pretty interesting to see how printers work.
As I go, I save any parts that I think I can use. Primarily I look for:
- DC Motors. They are especially useful if the gearbox stay intact.
- Stepper motors. This is what got me started on printers, since they are fairly expensive to buy new.
- Plastic gears. I hope to do something cool with them.
- Misc electronic components that I think I can get working.
Step 2: The Spoils!
This was a pretty good haul! A big DC motor, a smaller one with the gearbox intact, and a nice sized stepper (em-483). I also got a couple of LCDs that I think I may be able to hack. I also think I got some good gears and belts that are compatible with the gears on the motors, and the large metal shafts may really be useful.
Now comes the hard part, turning them into something fun (or useful)!