Laser printer dissection

Categories Commerce and products, Stuff

You may have read my account about dissecting the dead kitchen scale, and maybe thought well, that’s a silly thing to do. And maybe you’re right.

I had pulled my wife’s desk back so I could work on a window, and a certain dog who is not allowed upstairs apparently got upstairs while we were out, went to look out the window, got tangled in wires, and pulled a computer and laser printer from the desk. I immediately ran diagnostics on the computer (a Mac Mini) and it seemed to be fine. The 9 year old printer, on the other hand, wasn’t working right at all.

The local computer place techie looked at it, identified one part was cracked and basically not replaceable. So I had two challenges: 1) find another printer, and 2) take this one completely apart without breaking anything.

dissected laser printer

68 screws, 17 springs, and 12 gears later, it was done! The heating element (black and red rollers to the left) was the single most difficult challenge. Amazing the ingenuity that goes into putting pieces together – little tabs, rotate this, pry back that….

dissected laser printer

The number of springs surprised me. I did break a couple of small pieces of plastic, but on purpose to save time, not because I couldn’t figure out their assembly.

dissected laser printer
The carcass

In addition to admiring the design and engineering wizardry, I can hardly imagine how they created the incredibly intricate molded plastic parts.

As with the kitchen scale, there’s nothing particularly useful for other projects, though I’ll save some of the bits of wire and springs, and chuck the rest.

dissected laser printer

But wait! I see at the large plastic pieces are identified as ABS for recycling (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, but you knew that). So in addition to having a fun hour or so, disassembling the printer allows for recycling at least some of it (bits of aluminum as well) that otherwise would have gone to a landfill.

And oh by the way, I found no evidence of a crack or break in the part the techie indicated. But it doesn’t matter: the printer no longer worked, and wasn’t about to get fixed.



2 thoughts on “Laser printer dissection

    1. Channeling Clayt, no? When I was probably in sixth grade, he came from work with a big box, all excited. We tried to guess what it was – a puppy? A kitten? No, an obsolete foot-and-a-half wide mechanical calculator, which he meticulously dismantled over a period of weeks, no doubt figuring out exactly how it worked, given his engineering background. Not possible with all the electronics, but I think he would have been equally fascinated to see the way this thing was put together.

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