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ink jet printer to cutter? Answered

ive got an ink jet printer that bust on me a few days ago, and ive always wonered if it would be possible to replace the ink cartrages with a cutting blade and use it as a vinyl/cardboard/anything else you can think of cutter. my school had a vinyl cutter which i used a lot, but i dont have access to that any more. the only problems i can see are things like "how can i get the blade to come off the paper between letters etc? how would it cope with changes in direction? could it be programmed to follow a line instead of the side to side action?" if this wouldnt work, anyone got any other ideas for a cocked up ink jet printer? shame to waste it. attach a laser?? lol. a really budget laser cutter. could the motors and rails be used for anything else? its got a scanner attached too, but i cant think of a use for that, other than turning it into a SAD lamp (seasonal affected disorder). i think it would be bright enough. ideas?


Wow. I had the exact same idea of turning a printer into a laser cutter.

Your title implies something along the lines of selling a injet printer to an emo dude. anywho, sounds possible with the laser, but not so much with the blade. try it out! send us an i'ble

I was thinking of doing the same thing with mine, but instead with a laser.


10 years ago

Hmm.. that'd be tricky. You definitely cannot just replace the ink cartridge with a cutting blade, and expect it to work.

You could use this as the basis for a cutter, but you'd have to re-engineer it substantially. You've already identified most of the issues you need to address:

- You'll need to be able to control the X and Y-axis, rather than relying on the side-to-side action of the printer. That probably means cutting the wires driving X and Y-axis motors, and driving them via your own microcontroller.

- You'll need a solenoid or somesuch to lift the blade from the paper

- You'll need a blade that rotates with the direction of cutting. I know I've seen some of those - you may even be able to use a replacement blade for an actual vinyl or cardstock cutter.

All in all, you'll likely need to gut the printer of most of its control circuitry, add some additional hardware, and hook the whole thing up to a microcontroller to drive it - not an easy project, but sounds fun!

On the other hand - it could be a lot *less* effort to just fix the printer instead. What's wrong with it anyway?