Hacking a brand new device

A brand new inkjet printer with scanner can be as cheap as 30 €. We all know the "scam" they put in it. The ink cartridges hold maybe only 20 % of the amount you get when you buy replacing cartridges. And the cartridges cost about as much as a new printer. The printer price must be dumped somehow to get you hooked.

So, what parts can you find in a printer? Two stepper motors at the printer module and a third one at the scanner module. Some timing belt, some cogged pulley wheels. Some steel rods. Positioning sensors. If you are clever, you might even find the stepper driver IC. Not to mention the power unit, which probably provides lots of amps to the motors at some 24 or 36 V. Or just 7 V, as on my old Epson inkjet.

I have a bunch of old printers and typewriters waiting to be turned into art plotters. From some of them I just pick the parts to something else. Some of these I bought for 5 €, some are my own (like the Epson with a useless Macintosh ADB interface).

But if I hadn't these old devices, I'd strongly consider buying a cheap new inkjet printer for my plotter projects. Not only have they the motors and other stuff I need (and probably would have to spend more money on, if I ordered the parts separately), but the setup with steel rods and timer belts and cogs and whatnot, is usually ready there. I can re-use the setup, having the printer head moving back and forth holding a pen or a brush along the x-axis, and having the paper feeding mechanism going back and forth along the y-axis.

But if you get excited by this idea, don't count on that every new printer has stepper motors. They might have ordinary DC motors with encoders (at least according to some post I read here), which might be trickier to turn into a plotter.

You can also attend the next local electronics recycling location. Lots of stuff there.....

Sure. But last time I was there to leave some junk of my own, I learned that people are not allowed to take away anything from there. I guess they had a deal with some company, which has the right to be the first one to pick the goodies from the junk.

Perhaps one needs to approach the old owner while they still have possession.

Sure you're not supposed to pick over it, but everyone just waits until the guy isn't looking to snag the good stuff. To the extent that we're even snagging good stuff (the most useful thing I've gotten from the e-waste trailer is power supplies... All those 19V 3.5-7A laptop power bricks)... almost everything else was just crap to disassemble, look at, and return to the e-waste trailer in pieces the next day. Pulls aren't worth using unless you have more time than you know what to do with, or have huge quantities of a single device (power wheels toy cars were like that from the dump's designated "take it or leave it" area for a time a while back - you could have as many motors with gear reduction as you wanted in an inconvenient (but uniform) form factor. Don't think we ever got one with a bad motor, including the gear box. Or with a good battery. Out of over a dozen. We eventually gave up and concluded that none of the parts we were pulling would ever get used.).