Womblin' 4: Womble Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Every now and again while walking around, I stumble across some discarded hardware that deserves a second chance at life. Hardware comes in many shapes and sizes, but whether you're big or small, round or angular, shiny or matte, you should know that someone out there sees the beauty inside you, and wants to harvest it from your recently discarded body.

Getting the hose again today, this Brother "MFC-8880DN" laser printer/scanner combo: Laser printer

Oh my god, Becky. Look at that scanner. It is so big. It looks like one of those office guys' printers. You know, who understands those office guys? They only use it because it looks like a reasonable price-performance point for the small to medium enterprise, kay? I mean, that scanner. It's just so big. Laser printer with the feeder removed

I started at the top, beheading the paper feeder to extract the sweet, sweet macguffins inside. This appeared to be comprised of an intricate plastic gear assembly that I put aside for later, some solenoids, and that board down the bottom left which gives the distinct impression that someone owed a favour to their brother-in-law at the nearby connector factory. Laser printer scanner assembly

With the paper feeder and scanner bed removed, I got to meet the big beautiful scanner assembly. I don't really do a noteworthy amount of scanning, but I do have a deep and enduring fondness for linear actuators, especially ones this large. Hopefully with a couple more of these I can put together a fun plotter or CNC finger mangling machine of some kind. Laser printer side panel

I tried to keep working methodically down the printer, but I got kinda stuck on the top at this point so I started wailing incoherently at the sides. In due course, they fell off, possibly out of pity, but hey I'll take what I can get. This was the printer's good side, containing the main control board and drive assembly. Laser printer drive guts

Some carefully crafted insults aimed at the psychological weak points of the drive assembly totally annihilated its self-confidence, causing it to break down into a big brushless drive motor, yet more solenoids, and oh so very many plastic gears. Laser printer laser module

With my spirits renewed by the heady thrill of plastic drivetrain disassembly, I went back to the top of the printer and discovered that the power to remove it was inside me (and inside some hitherto undiscovered plastic tabs) all along. My confidence was rewarded with this big container full of lasers. The label warns against "defeating the interlock", which sounds so heroic as to be un-warn-against-able. Laser printer paper feed plastic gear assembly

I also went back to disassemble the whole paper feed gear assembly, just because it looked so cool. I have no idea why you need that many gears to move paper into a scanner, but I bet a printer gear train expert somewhere could justify each and every one of them. I also got a truly excessive number of little metal rods and rollers and things. Laser printer part pile

By this point I was really beginning to realise the scale of a modern printer/scanner. This wasn't even one of the huge commercial-scale ones, and still I ended up with all of this stuff. Highlights include 6(!) solenoids, 2 steppers, 1 BLDC drive motor, exactly one zillion optoswitches, a bunch of PCBs including one at the bottom-right whose purpose I do not understand at all, and of course plasticgearpocalypse 2018. Laser printer plastic junk pile

Oh, and not to mention, a knee-high pile of plastic junk. Don't do printers, kids.