View Full Version : What goes in a modern printer.....

2012-Apr-10, 02:49 AM
So, it's not exactly a 'modern' printer. My HP Deskjet 500 finally gave out last week. After 22 years. Surviving many generations of computers.

I disassembled it this morning to recycle it's various components.
Some observations:
1) it's amazing how these things are put together. I think there were about 10 screws total. Everything else was latches or snapped together in some way.
2) many parts usable for other projects (nice straight rods, a belt, two electric motors, a handful of plastic gears, a bunch of different size springs)
3) 80% plastic, which can probably be recycled. The rest sheet metal.
4) not sure what to do with the electronics, other than maybe the power supply and several ribbon wires and matching connectors.
5) the ink priming mechanism was especially interesting (and very inky - do NOT wear a white sweat shirt)

The long metal rod and the print cartridge sled (or whatever it's called) will make a handy wobble control mechanism for my Makerbot.

By the time we can put various space hardware together in such an efficient manner we should be in good shape - sorry, that was totally unqualified. But seriously, looking at various stuff around the house, I am more and more impressed at how much engineering, refinement and optimization goes into these everyday items - just, you really don't notice it until you take it apart. It's really quite artful.


2012-Apr-10, 03:23 AM
If you have photos of the parts, post some. I'd like to see what's inside an inkjet printer.

I find it most convenient to use old BW HP laserjets for my "utility" printing. I'm glad not to replace ink cartridges.

However, an old HP Color Laserjet turned out to be huge and too noisy.

2012-Apr-11, 11:20 AM
I have disassembled a couple of printers
found almost thrown out! They may have worked
for all I know. Yes the production engineering
to keep the price down is pretty amazing sometimes.
Did you find the strip with the small lines that
tells the printhead where it is? If it counts right
that is. I also found a recent VHS video. That was
very surprising compared to VCRs from 25 years
previously. Just bent metal for the main chassis
that needs careful building for the tape transport!
Pity all this effort is soon obsolete!

Nowhere Man
2012-Apr-11, 11:33 PM
Oy, gevalt. I have a DJ 500 myself and it's getting cranky: It's reluctant to pick up the sheets of paper. I think a batch of envelopes may have worn the wheels juuuust enough.

How did yours fail?


Ara Pacis
2012-Apr-12, 08:27 AM
I ahve a HP DJ520 myself. I haven't used it in probably 13 years. I was clearing out a closet and thinking of taking it and lots of other stuff to a recycler on Earth Day. It may still work... if ink can be found.

2012-Apr-13, 02:26 AM
This DJ500 also had the paper-pickup-problem. It seemed to help to roughen up the rubber rollers a bit with sand paper.

I think it died of old age. During print jobs it would just turn off - lights out. I know, could've been as simple as a bad power connection, power switch or something. But it was getting expensive hunting down ink. Although the art of refilling DJ500 cartridges is well established and I wasted endless hours doing that.

In the end, when I had all the parts out it looked like there must have been a massive ink spill inside the printer. The underside of the power circuit board was nicely coated in black goo.

Next on my dis-assembly menu:
HP CP1700 wide format color printer which stopped two years ago. This will be much more complicated but I expect to learn a lot, harvest many reusable parts, and can hopefully document the process with my camera. (Makes me feel like Walter Bishop from "Fringe").


2012-Apr-13, 10:13 AM
My experience with the DJ500 is that the rubber on the pickup rollers will deteriorate over time, causing paper loading errors.

2012-Apr-13, 01:30 PM
having worked on the mechanical design of paper handling I am very impressed by modern printers that have managed to learn from all the early mistakes, and keep the size down and the price. In general paper handling remains the toughest aspect while the amazing progress of ink jet and laser technologies plus motor drive has got better and better. If you can remember golf ball printers they worked with ribbons of steel turning a ball with raised characters in two axes at many times per second and making a pretty perfect line of text. I still remember watching the auto tippex version of those go back to white out a line already typed. A real triumph of engineering now sadly obsolete. It is an excellent example of the incremental design process that is actually a fundamental pathway to innovation.