What Does a Hacker Do With A Photocopier?

The year is 2016. Driving home from a day’s work in the engineering office, I am greeted with a sight familiar to any suburban dwelling Australian — hard rubbish. It’s a time when local councils arrange a pickup service for anything large you don’t want anymore — think sofas, old computers, televisions, and the like. It’s a great way to make any residential area temporarily look like a garbage dump, but there are often diamonds in the rough. That day, I found mine: the Ricoh Aficio 2027 photocopier.

It had spent its days in a local primary school, and had survived fairly well. It looked largely intact with no obvious major damage, and still had its plug attached. Now I needed to get it home. This is where the problems began.

The 1991 Daihatsu Feroza is not, as it turns out, an appropriate transport for this task. A combination of its high rear floor and small cargo area (even with the rear seats removed) made loading the copier physically impossible. I will not overstate the weight of this copier, approximately speaking, it was Damn Heavy™. Calls to the few friends I’d made in my short time in Victoria came to nothing, so an alternative solution had to be found.

The south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne are remarkably hilly. It had become my task to push a 62 kg office multifunction 1.4 kilometers home (137 pounds and just less than a mile). Considering this was a piece of hardware I’d found on the side of the road, over the next forty minutes I began to realise I almost literally became the modern Sisyphus.

vlcsnap-error887
Quite the struggle.

Is This Thing On?

mainUpon getting it home, I plugged it in.

I was greeted with the phrase “Please wait…” for about ten minutes. I remained hopeful, and then… beeps! The error code SC990 was given, as well as a local number to call for service — though that seemed like giving up, and they’d ask a few too many questions on turning up to a residential address. I persevered, and found that if I quickly cycled the power, the copier would successfully boot.

Now I was really excited. This was the best part of my plan. With the copier sitting by the fridge, I left it powered on and took a photo. I quickly sent it to my housemates in a group chat.

“Guys, I’m really tired of this. If you’re leaving the house would you PLEASE remember to turn the photocopier off before you go? Come on.”

Their confusion and laughter was totally worth it. At this point, though, I reached an impasse — what does one actually do with a free photocopier? Wait, of course! I promptly removed my pants.

The Stuff You Can’t Do With the Work Copier

squareIt took me a little while to master the proper technique. It’s not enough to simply sit down, placing one’s entire weight on the photocopier to image the buttocks. Even ignoring the risk of being crushed in the event of the copier falling over, the imaging bed isn’t designed as a seat. The plastic frame tends to deform under this sort of load, just enough to stop the scanning bar moving across the platen. Instead, it’s necessary to support oneself by placing the hands on the corners of the copier, hovering above the platen, ideally with an assistant to help you by pressing the start button.

In all seriousness, though, short of reinforcing the copier bed with a steel frame to enable the easier imaging of the human anatomy, I was running short on ideas and paper was jamming repeatedly. This test run behind me, I had an agonizing troubleshooting session ahead. Luckily, there were still a few beers in the fridge.

Amateur Copier Repair

coronajam
A jammed print. Notice the rippling from the paper bunching up in the various rollers.

I had to figure out why the paper was getting jammed — for your viewing enjoyment, I filmed the process and embedded it below. The great thing is, over the last 20 years, copiers have started to include big, obvious pictorial instructions on both the LCD and the frame that help you troubleshoot a jam. Enabling users to sort out the easy issues has probably saved millions, if not billions, in service calls.

I did some research online, and came across talk of a paper feed clutch. After turning up the service manual for my copier, I found out how to enter not just Service Mode, but Special Service Mode! This allowed fine control of the photocopier’s deepest, darkest settings. I changed the clutch settings to 10mm, up from 6mm and tried to make 5 copies in succession. No dice — things jammed up again. It didn’t really feel like what I was doing had any effect.

jam-teeth
A shot of paper jammed in the teeth that are meant to guide the print away from the fuser, towards the output rollers.

I sat down and had a think. Upon close examination of where the paper was jamming, it looked like instead of rolling over the fuser (the hot roller that bonds the toner to the paper) and peeling away, it seemed like the paper was sticking to the fuser too long and winding up jammed under the teeth designed to guide it off the fuser. Back to the service manual!

I decided to try cooling down the fuser. That would perhaps stop the paper sticking so much and then it would freely pass through to the output rollers. I dialled things down from 170 to 140 degrees. After checking the temperature monitor and confirming the roller temperature was following the settings changes, I successfully made 10 copies in a row with no jams. Success? Perhaps! But if there’s one thing I learned in my career as a manufacturing engineer, it’s not enough to change a setting and call it fixed. You’ve got to confirm your hypothesis is correct.

I decided to go the other way — I cranked the fuser temperature up to 185 C, hit Start, and waited with bated breath. Not entirely to my surprise, I got ten copies out, no problem. A second trial confirmed things were humming along smoothly. On the one hand, my copier worked — great! On the other, it kind of meant I had no idea what was going on.

hotcold
Compare the prints from the hotter and colder fuser settings – note the spotting on the colder print.

I compared the 185 degree copies with the 140 degree copies, as seen in the image below. Oddly enough, there was some random spotting on the colder copies that wasn’t present on the hotter ones. For all I know, however, this might have just been old toner that was stuck to the rollers that came off at the higher temperature. In the end though, it seems to be printing well now at 185 degrees, only jamming occasionally. In the rare event it does, opening all the access panels, removing the jam, and closing them again is generally enough to get things ticking over smoothly again.

Did I solve the jamming issue? I guess I did. Do I know how? Not really. But if and when it comes back, I’ll be armed with more knowledge to attack the problem once more. If you’re a photocopier tech, please watch the video and tell me what I’m missing. I’d love to get an expert opinion on how to sort this out.

What Now?

The troubleshooting process was a lot of fun. But now I’m back to figuring out what to do with the copier. I’ve currently got the copier wired up to my home network as a printer and scanner, and could hook it up to my vintage computers over parallel or even AppleTalk if I so desired. But all of these ideas are simply using the copier for its intended purpose. Thus far, all I’ve really done is given it a name; it shall henceforth be known as Printmaster Flush.

I ask you — what does a hacker do with a free photocopier? I’m not content to just use this gift as it was intended. I’d like to build something truly unique and awesome with it, I just don’t know what. Please, share with me your ideas in the comments and any stories you have yourself of office hardware hijinx. Check out the video below for a play-by-play on dragging it home and dealing with the jamming issues.

123 thoughts on “What Does a Hacker Do With A Photocopier?

      1. Common photocopier tech call after a Xmas party. You’d have to keep a platen glass in your lorey just in case. Not feasible if you worked on different models and mfrs. though. People think this is funny. Not so funny when the end-user is rushed to hospital with bum lacerations. (BTW “bum” means your butt here in America).

    1. Your issue may have been the amount of toner being used to make the shadows on the page. I noticed the image of the bottle had quite a bit of black due to the top of the copier being open and not completely closed. with the “black” areas getting more toner, those areas of the page will tend to buckle (fold) more as they go across the fuser. The M and M picture was much lighter and you were able to get more prints between jams. Try switching between very dark prints and very light prints and see if you are getting the jams mostly on the darker images.

    1. Two of the rollers and the HV corona-charging supply for getting the powder to stick will make the basis for an epic van-der-graff generator.

      There may be an HDD in there with copies of many years of documents, always good to grep through that with a forensics tool for any good stuff – the display could be redeployed, usually there is a ton of decent-sized stepper motors and proximity sensors in such a ma machine.

      1. A quick search turned up that it does indeed have a hard drive, which is a HUGE data security risk. There could be all kinds of confidential information still on it. I advise doing the white hat thing and clearing the HDD.

  1. I’m always amazed by these dumpster dive finds you folks have in Australia. Not a printer technician and don’t have any experience with these machines, but on a long shot, could it be worthwhile to clean the various rollers along the paper path. After all these years, I’m sure they’ve picked up their fair share of gunk, causing paper to “stick”.

    1. Problem is that might not be enough, some of the rollers actually do wear down, pretty much all large photocopiers and multi-function printer have a predetermined lifetime from the manufacturer, usually in how many papers went through the machine…

      1. Actually, these machines are beasts. I personally know some that reached 3mln copies.
        I work for the company that leases/sells/services photocopiers (Ricoh and Canon mainly). I can ask my tech what;s the deal with that particular one.
        I’m no service guy, but maybe it just needs cleaning? You can remove toner residue from rolls with acetone AFAIK.

    2. This is nothing. You should see the stuff large hospital IT departments throw away.

      I have an HP Ultrabook, 5 24″ monitors, a vintage desktop dosimeter, and a whole box of high-resolution steppers and linear actuators scavenged from bulk CD copy/label machines.

      1. My friend got a great computer with two pretty decent GPUs for < $100 from a medical company. He just broke the HDD in front them pretty much and they let him walk away with it.

        Not too shabby!

    1. A booty photo booth. Play the trick on unexpecting victims. They enter the booth, wonder why the seat is glass, sit down, then they get their buttocks scanned and then the normal camera takes photos with the funniest facial expressions.

  2. Lot of physical effort to get it home. Good job troubleshooting, (what’s the going labor rate?), definite positive experience gain. Here in US we have to pay to have such things hauled away and recycled.

    Broke even, and got to retain an investment in yourself.

    Yah.. ok deal.

  3. As the only user of tabloid (11×17″) size paper at the previous office location, I used our copier to expand 8.5×11″ letter-size schematics to tabloid. It was a Canon something-or-other, and did a great job at expanding them. Not a hack, but I used the resulting larger schematics for hacking :)

  4. A friend of mine worked as a “office supply tecnician” IE paper jam fixer.

    After everey office party, he had to remove the stuck paper copy of someones ass.
    He collected them in a binder for a few years.

    The main problem that made people scrapping high end copiers was that some of the rollers in the paper feed system did not have any bearings, they just had a drilled 6mm hole in the sheetmetal chassie and a 6mm dovel in it.

    Those holes became oval, as the sheetmetal wore out, so he made some bushings and fixed some of the better (more expensive ones) with page sorting and other functions, that he gave away to charity organisations and sport clubs in his local area so they could make their own prints.

    One of them has been making a monthly “newspaper” for the local youth fotball team for years now, not bad for a unrepairable machine.

    1. I was manager of a repair shop in Miami. We had an employee who had way too much to drink and he sat on the copier and printed out dozens of pages and proceeded to mix them up with all the paperwork in the office, The office manager was complaining she was still finding them weeks later. I think he cleaned up his act after I talked to him.

  5. Copiers are a wealth of hackables! I have gotten precision ball bearings of them to repair an old snowblower, motors to build CNC machines, lenses to make 35mm slide digitizers, and so numerous other things I can’t remember. Then they often have a heavy duty steel frame that can be sold for scrap metal too.

    1. The harvested parts are less then their sum, though what would I do with a giant office copier?
      It is like the pain of seeing say a functional jet trainer or an old A-4 Skyhawk sold for a few $Kus but I cant afford the jet fuel so what good does it do me.

  6. My soon to be complete eggbot clone is using steppers from a photocopier, a bushed roller from a laser printer for the tailstock bearing and sprung shaft; the spring is also from some other scrapped printer salvaged for parts. The 12V supply is also likely to be derived from a small transformer lifted from a control board.

    The paper feeder units also have lovely sliders in them, cable assemblies, and beefer DC motors.

    Some glass panels from a few scanner/copiers will come together in due course for a solar oven window too.

  7. When the fuser temperature is lower, the toner doesn’t melt to the paper as well. It tends to get stuck on the fuser roller and get transferred to other places on the page.

    I was a copier technician when I was young. They are a wonderland of sensors and mechanisms. I would part it out just for fun.

    1. I recovered a used copier recently as well, but I forgot to remove the toner and on the bumpy way home it spilled all over the place internally. Any tips as a former tech as to how to go about cleaning this thing?

      1. Don’t try to brush it off. That will just embed it in any fabric. Compressed air (or canned) immediately. And use a mask. Had a copier spit toner onto my pant legs years ago and caught myself before I reflex reached down to brush it off. Walked carefully to the shop and used the compressed air. Not a trace remained.

      1. It started out at M.I.T. one lazy summer day,
        When a couple of the frat-boy techies started in to play,
        They’d caught up on their schedule with a couple hours to kill,
        So they fitted up the cyclotron and made themselves a still.

        — “307 Ale” by Tom Smith

        1. Fires mash molecules at 1/3 the speed of light. Alcohol molecules, being heavier, react less to the magnetic field, where water molecules bend off of one side and end up in a charged platinum bucket. Relativistic distillation! Time distillation!

  8. I’ve already got a giant free photocopier I use as my household printer (toner is dirt cheap for it,) so every new one that comes in I scrap. Lots of nice steel rod stock, glass, stepper & DC motors, rubber wheels, etc to save. Plus a million different screws that always come in handy

    Usually put on some Big Clive while I’m doing the teardown. Nice and therapeutic.

  9. Search the hard drive for personal information and sell it. The university here removes and destroys all hard drives from copiers before they sell the rest of the carcass as surplus. Makes it a real pain if you thought you bought a working copier.

      1. You’re absolutely correct.
        Really just wanted to raise awareness….not a lot of people think about the copier that was used to copy your personal information keeps the image on the harddrive until it is overwritten.
        The school should have pulled the hard drive before putting it on the curb.

        1. its too old there isnt a hard drive in this model and anyways the hard drives in ricohs are serialied to the machine there in if you put them in a anything else they wipe themselves just for that reason

      2. “Boooo, downvote. We have enough a-holes in the world.”

        Exactly and, unfortunately, the people running this site publish what are effectively how-to articles to spread the tools to more of them.

  10. Hook up an Arduino to the copier along with a Xbox Kinect have it Identify people you don’t like and make the Arduino print odd text over their face, Which then feeds the paper into a paper plane folder and launches it at their head using tracking of the Kinect.

        1. Doom….how a nod to new nokia and a port of the original snake game for the lcd, star wars tune for the scanner pickup and pcb print on the laser side. And final one is appletalk to network hack from the io boards and then have it also scan a nokia lcd displaying your mood from a pi zero and sending it out the appletalk link to a emulated apple II posting to twitter.

  11. Install a switch to turn off scanner lights, then mount optics from an overhead transparency projector above the scanner area and make a pyramidal hood of black cloth around everything, to keep stray light away.

    According to laws of geometric optics, transparency projector should act in reverse as “camera obscura” and project picture back down on the scanner plate. See if you can make digital photos in high resolution.

  12. Some time ago with a friend in Argentina we built a 4 axis CNC ruter from an old discarded copier machine, it was a a white moster machine that we turn into a green monster machine.

  13. I used to work as a computer maintenance engineer very early in my career and I had to fix a lot of commercial grade printers (laser and solid ink).

    A photocopier is much the same as a laser printer.

    So on the caveat that I haven’t seen the copier IRL and therefore I am somewhat guessing, here is what I think is the problem(s).

    The fuser unit that you removed has two main rollers. One is driven by the gear and has a soft gripping surface. The other is the heater and isn’t really a roller in modern devices.

    The heating roller doesn’t rotate. It has a heater that is always facing towards the paper and a cylindrical Fuser Film Sleeve that is free to travel around the fixed roller so that friction doesn’t cause the paper/toner to bind with the heater. The fuser film sleeve has issues and needs to be periodicity replaced. A part of the replacement procedure is to place lubricant between the fixed roller and the film sleeve. There should be an indicator in the service menu to tell you how many prints the fuser has done and the manual will have a specified replacement interval.

    I believe this lubricant has dried up and is causing the concertinaing (rippling) of the paper.

    By the way the little green lever on the fuser assembly is to separate the two rollers so that it’s easier to remove jammed paper without it ripping.

    The temperatures were probably played with by the service person that last looked at it. Different toners (non-genuine) are very sensitive to temperature so use some genuine toner and default the temp.

    Another problem is the broken paper guide and that has probably caused enough paper jams that the plastic on the other ‘teeth’ is now grooved and causing even more jams. This can be sanded but you need to know where to sand it I can’t explain that in a post but it wouldn’t matter because it needs replacement anyway because of the broken tooth.

    There seems to be another problem with the exit rollers if they are driven rollers. In you video you can see some of the stop rotating while other continue.

    I would be looking into the bent shaft issue to.

    If your happy with fixing the bent shaft and your happy that the exit rollers are ok then you can get an exchange reconditioned fuser and just drop it in.

    Before you jump into buying things have a good look through the service menu so that you can seen how many prints the consumable parts have done as that will give a good idea of what future maintenance costs will be. The image unit is normally the more expensive part.

    We used to get reconditioned exchange fusers from here – http://partsovernight.com.au/ but that was a very long time ago so I can’t say what the company is is like now. At least it’s a starting point to get a ball park price and a part number.

    1. I seem to remember years ago, when laser printers were several thousand dollars, an article on building a “Poor man’s laser printer” using a white monochrome display and a cheap photocopier, and how to mount the monitor to the glass and adjust the settings to get a decent photocopy of whatever was on the screen.

      1. In the 70s when Gary Starkweather (inventor of the laser printer) went to the higher-ups at Xerox to try and convince them to release his laser printer as an actual product, the alternative printer product Xerox were seriously considering releasing actually involved that “photocopy a TV screen” idea. Thankfully for the world of printing, Xerox was convinced to release the Laser Printer rather than the inferior TV screen product (that had been rejected as an option by Gary years before)

      1. As a generalisation, if you have a repetitive image or ghosting then roll the paper into a cylinder so one image is directly over the other – you’re looking for a roller exactly the size of the paper rolled into a cylinder.

        You say the ghosting is to the left so it sounds like you’re copying to smaller sheet size on a copier that can copy a lager sheet size and the smaller paper goes though sideways. Ghosting occurs *after* the original image.

        So 100mm (4″) = Pi * D, or your roller diameter is about 32mm (1″ 1/4). That seems very small for an image drum so I would suspect perhaps it’s the fuser temperature being to low.

        If the image drum is actually that small then the corona wire is dirty or corona voltage is too low. The corona wire or plate is often removable and there is often a little brush clipped to the internals of the machine that you use to clean it of.

        The menu will have lots of settings and these need to be close to correct or problems like this will occur, especially with cheap toner.

        The two settings that can effect the problem you describe are the image transfer voltages and the fuser temperature.

        I hope that helps. Sorry to be vague but I can’t do any research on an “old canon copier”. I would at least need a model number.

      2. @cde – check your (ITB) transfer belt. You may find some sort of a dent on it exactly 4 inches to the left. Also make sure you clean the copier interior of dust and debris. Worst case scenario – bad drum or fuser unit. Maybe that’s why the previous owner dumped it?

  14. One of your problems is what you were copying.
    The Corona image used more toner than the m&m image causing the fuser to cool faster when applying heat to the paper. If you use a thick paper setting it would slow the whole process and heat up more which may also help you out. Normally you wouldn’t need to do this but I doubt you want to buy a new fuser.

  15. The office where I worked had this exact same model of copier for 10 years; I was the lucky sucker that had to keep the thing working. The problem with yours is most likely that the lid was open when you scanned the item to copy… this model of copier has specific vulnerability to jamming in that situation when it ages. An open lid scan means a dark background on your print, which dumps a lot more toner on the page than normal document copying does. The extra toner changes the stickiness of the page when it enters the fuser, which causes the page to hang up and get jammed.

    This model of copier usually has a print sever that you can set up in the Tools menu. The generic Ricoh Aficio driver that comes pre-installed on Windows will work with this copier, so you don’t have to install any software to get printing. If you decide to gut it for parts and give the empty husk a Tibetan Sky Burial, you can run the toner cartridge dry printing out all of your favorite datasheets first.

  16. I’m a Ricoh tech that is the correct temp. The question no one asked was did you try fresh paper and run it against the ply. Damp paper or cheep paper will jam like that all day. I would start by cleaning the contact thermistor s in the fuser. It’s probably reporting a bad temp to start with

    And to answer the question a hacker fixes the printer and sell it for money to buy the parts he can’t get from a copier carcass

    1. Thanks for commenting!
      I was hoping I would run into someone with your experience. :)
      What is the correct temp, precisely?

      I did use fresh paper but perhaps the copier was a tad moist inside from sitting outside for several days.

      When you say “run it against the ply”, what does that mean?

      Cheers!

      1. againt the ply

        all paper is cut from a huge roll the cheeper the paper the closer to the center of the roll if you print on paper and it comes out arched flip the entire stack in the tray over and it will straighten out some .. the heat in the fuser makes the paper try to go back to the shape it was cut from

        if at normal operating temp it jams even with a lighter copy (dark copies always jam more often)
        the fuser hot roller probly need changed it easy if your carefull of the halogen bulbs
        the part # is AE01 1058 just google it there not that expensive
        heres an exerpt from the service guide

        1105* Fusing Temperature Adjustment
        1105 1 Roller Center
        1105 2 Roller Ends
        Adjusts the fusing temperature at the center and
        both ends of the hot roller for normal printing.
        [120 ~ 200 / 165 / 1°C/step]
        1105 3 Energy Saver Adjusts the fusing temperature at the center and
        both ends of the hot roller for energy saver mode.
        [0 ~ 160 / 150 / 1°C/step]
        1105 4 Thick Paper – Center
        1105 5 Thick Paper – Ends
        Adjusts the additional fusing temperature for thick
        paper for the 2nd paper tray and for the bypass tray.
        [0 ~ 30 / 15 / 1°C/step]
        1105 6 After Warming-up – Center Adjusts the fusing temperature at the center of the
        hot roller after the machine has warmed up.
        [120 ~ 200 / 165 / 1°C/step]
        1105 7 After Warming-up – Ends Adjusts the fusing temperature at both ends of the
        hot roller after the machine has warmed up.
        [120 ~ 200 / 175 / 1°C/step]
        1105 8 After Warming-up – No. of
        Pages
        In this machine, fusing temperature is kept 10°C
        higher than the normal temperature for a number of
        pages after the machine has warmed up. This SP
        selects the number of pages made at this
        temperature. See Detailed Section Descriptions –
        Fusing for more details.
        [0 ~ 10 / 3 / 1 page/step]
        1105 9 After Warming-up – Times In this machine, fusing temperature is kept 10°C
        higher than the normal temperature for a short while
        after the machine been warmed up. This SP selects
        the length of time that this temperature is used. See
        Detailed Section Descriptions – Fusing for more
        details.
        [0 ~ 180 / 60 / 1s/step]

  17. That is totally awesome, I cannot wait to see what you come up with. I love finding FREE tech that people just dump because it is old and not because it stops working.

    Maybe you could find a way to rewire it to a 3D copier that would be cool…. :P

    Or I have heard of table top saws from copiers… :D

    Either way, FREE is the way to be. I mean imagine the cost of that thing new :P

  18. Some others already have suggested replacing the rubber rollers, and I second this. I have a Samsung ML-1710 laser printer that I have been using since about 2002. After two graduate theses, many job applications and numerous other print jobs, the little rubber cam finger that grabs the paper from the tray had worn down. This printer is old enough that there are no Windows 8/10 drivers for it at all, but I was able to find the rollers on Ebay (5 for $10). A little installation time and it’s back up and running.

    One thing that happens with older printers/copiers is that a lot of people try to solve the roller wear problem with cleaning, and often they use alcohol, which seems to work at first, but tends to dry out the rollers over time making the problem even worse.

    1. Very fine Emery paper is best for paper pick-up, paper separator, and pressure rollers (especially in the fuser) or just buy replacements. They get glossed or glazed and the surface has to be roughed up so that they grip again.

  19. I saw a tetrahedral grinder that would make polished stone spheres made from four motors taken from photocopiers. The motors were preferred because of the low revolutions per minute they run well at.

  20. Why not modify the firmware to seed a random number generator from the scanned image, and perhaps uptime, such that with a chosen predetermined low probability it “malfunctions”, and either keep it for roommates or guests or donate it or wait for the next pick-up service of the municipality, and discreetly dump it with a paper saying “mint working condition”…

    where “malfunctions” could be
    *generating occasional spurious paper jams, temperature errors etc not unlike the ones you experience…
    *slowly decrease the print speed with each print, until the user spends at least 30 seconds in the menu system at which point normal print speeds are resumed so you can slowly decrease it again… I have no clue what the drive train looks like, but perhaps you could have “zeno’s paradox” from the point where the paper finally exits: exponentially decay, the first half at normal speed, the next quarter at half speed, the next eighth at quarter speed etc…
    *stuff some singleboard in there somewhere which runs deep dream software to regenerate the image, perhaps alphablending the original with the result, and detecting when a user recopies the same page (supposedly noticing the modification), to make the result in the future closer to the original, and if the user does not recopy (supposedly not noticing the reinterpretation), slowly make the blended result closer to the deep dream reinterpretation…

        1. Not sure, what the use, benefit or any other gain of your suggestion should be. Do you find it funny, to annoy people, you do not even know (future users of the device)?
          I mean, the funniest part of a prank is watching the victims, which is not possible in your scenario.

  21. I scored a smaller desktop copy machine a couple years back. Completely stripped it down to its guts. Managed to salvage a lot of great parts, including a bunch of stepper motors, linear rails, belts, gears, and spring hinges. You could likely make a 3D printer with the guts and have a lot of goodies left over.

  22. The small rutal County museum I work for has a Ricoh copier/printer. A Ricoh salesperson has been trying to sell the museum a new unit because Ricoh no longer makes replacement parts for the current unit. In the event that’s truly the case perhaps the value in the find is in being a spare parts source for repair for those hoping to repair other busted machines.

    1. Well, this may not work out: I have a nice busted B&O vinyl-record player. Problem with B&O is that a few special-for-this-unit-only parts always break so there is no salvage value left in it.

  23. Many years ago brought a large copier home for my son (age about 10) to dismantle, expecting it would take him a few days during school holidays, Unfortunately with access to a drill and driver attachment it only took him 2 hours – lots of parts for the parts box though

    1. What a score!!!

      For others the printer was a HP Color Laserjet 4730 MFP and the control board has a Xilinx Spartan IIE, XC2S50E-6, SRAM and lots of other goodies like a touch screen.

      Thanks for the heads up [RoGeorge]. I will be keeping an eye out for these and possibly other high end HP laser printers.

  24. I would put it to work once you get it to reliably boot up. (Check the power supply capacitors). 1) Enhance the utility by installing a small internal camera and external monitor so that users can preview exactly the area being copied. Very helpful when photocopying large items or montages of collected items. 2) Build a simple coin box or attach a debit POS terminal for paid copies. Place it in a common area and collect the money.

  25. Lewin Day – You have a whole lot of good suggestions here. However, the best is “rhyolite’s” suggestion. Set it up in your enclosed porch with a heater or a/c to keep the humidity and temp fair. Your paper stock will not react well in humid conditions. Go down to places like “Copywell” or “Copy Place” in Melbourne and find out what they charge per copy. Then under cut them severely. Tell your blokes to spread it word of mouth. Hang up copied signs at markets or at “Maccers” and call it the “Poor Bloke’s Copy Machine”.

    Don’t do any vending machine strategies. Just take meter readings per customer and put up a fake “big brother” web cam to keep people relatively honest. Or just charge flat rates. To hold down paper jams do like the others told you. The Emory cloth is good on paper rollers but don’t use WD-40 on rubber wheels (metal gears yes)! And don’t use alcohol on rubber wheels. Warm water after Emory cloth and drying is fine before replacement is needed. Also you will need a paper jam knife-like tool to clear paper dust and small fragments. On the fuser unit you will see paper fragment and/or toner build up on the spring-loaded fuser fingers.

    When the fuser unit is cool you’ll need to clean this periodically. I have heard that you can clean a cooled fuser roller with Fedron (very strong solvent). Don’t use Fedron on anything else! I don’t recommend you replacing or cleaning the corona wires as they can break. But I have seen using folded paper, pencil eraser, or alcohol to clean them. BE DARN CAREFUL THOUGH! Break them and you have a Ricoh service call.

    Try not to scratch the drum! I have seen copier techs use nail polish to fix drums but it leaves a white-space on the paper image. That’s cool if you can tolerate the white-space. Your error code is not severe. It’s a communication error between your BICU (Base Engine And Image Control Unit) to your I/O board or software. You can just clear that like you already have. Also just re-seat the connector, that may fix it.

    DO NOT DO ARSE-OR-BUM-SHOTS!!! You can break the platen glass and get glass stuck in your arse! Emergency room at hospital?

    Also when moving: remove the adf (auto document feeder), the sorter, all the stuff in the cabinet, paper, toner-unit, maybe remove the fuser and the drum unit (be careful don’t ding it). Then you have a much lighter and smaller footprint for moving. Then get a U-Haul trailer in Melbourne for long distances.

    If you want to do screenshots of your phone or tablet you will have to turn off or block the the halogen lamp. But that will generate an error code if you unplug it or cause a fire if you block a live halogen lamp. NEVER touch a cold halogen lamp as you will leave skin oil on it and when heated LOOK OUT! The lamp is reflecting off of your phone screen so the reflected image is washed out.

    Never operate the copier with the lid up. Not only does that generate more toner it can cause eye cataracts (cook your eyes) over time if you look at it too much. Extra toner in image can cause more paper jams too.

    When cleaning interior use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. If you don’t you have toner all over the room and maybe in your lungs (i.e. black lung disease?). Don’t use Windex on platen glass. You need an anti-static cleaning spray if you want the ADF to work correctly. Get a thin gooseneck hose for the vac to allow you to get into small spaces and not ding the drum. Don’t fool with any copier tech settings as you do not know the Rube Goldberg cause and effect machinations of these machines. One setting can affect other settings. So leave it to a professional if you want it to work correctly.

    Some things you can use a photocopier for:
    1. Printed circuit board templates on transparencies.
    2. Make make paper banners 8.5 x 11 tiles. Multiple letters or numbers per run. Then choose which character tile you need.
    3. Make direction arrows to point someone on a path in your house or flat.
    4. Make transparency overlays for TV, tablet, maps, etc. Make a transparency sniper-like or periscope graticule cross-hair overlay.
    5. Marketing signs for your little porch-side copier business. Put little pull off tabs at bottom with your address and phone #.
    6. Or scrap parts are great for photo-sensors, LEDs, powerful motors, belts, gears, glass, halogen lamps, HV assemblies, trimmer pots, electronic junk parts, wires, cables, etc.

    Hope that was helpful.

    SOTB

  26. How about phoning the school and telling them you’ve fixed their machine? Save em a few $$ I’m sure. Mind you, if they have chucked the old one they probably have the replacement already. But yeah, philanthropy/community spirit FTW.

    1. Hahaha – Why would they want to save a few $$? First, they finally got the money to get rid of the old clunker after months of begging and applications in hextuplicate before procurement is allowed, then, they don’t get the $$ saved – it gets skimmed right back to where ever it came from.

      Fixing it is just mocking all their efforts. Nobody likes a philanthropist.

  27. “Straighten out” the paper path by relocating the rollers, and sensors to a new frame such that the paper feeds in a perfectly straight line from the bypass/auxiliary tray all the way through the fuser. Add springs where possible to allow roller clearance to stretch into the multi-millimeter range.

    Enjoy your new large-format PCB stenciler.

  28. OK, I am not a electronics expert. I just grab the bottom storage drawer assembly if separate and voila, a heavy duty shop storage unit. Here in Canada we have spring and fall clean up when we can pick up curbside items for free. Beats hardware store prices…sigh, yes I also have the frugal Scottish side.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s