A Real All-In-One Printer Should Have A Computer In It, Too

With printers generally being cheaper to replace than re-ink, there are plenty of cast-offs around to play with. They’re a great source for parts, but they’re also tempting targets for repurposing for entirely new uses. Sure, you could make a printer into a planter, but slightly more useful is this computer built into a printer that still prints.

This build is [Mason Stooksbury]’s earlier and admittedly useless laptop-in-a-printer build, which we covered a few months back. It’s easy to see where he got his inspiration, since the donor printer’s flip-up lid is a natural for mounting a display, and the capacious, glass-topped scanner bed made a great place to show off the hybrid machine’s guts. But having a printer that doesn’t print didn’t sit well with [Mason], so Comprinter II was born. This one follows the same basic approach, with a Toshiba Netbook stuffed into an H-P ENVY all-in-one. The laptop’s screen was liberated and installed in the printer’s lid, the motherboard went into the scanner bay along with a fair number of LEDs. This killed the scanner but left the printer operational, after relocating a power brick that was causing a paper jam error.

[Mason]’s Comprinter II might not be the next must-have item, but it certainly outranks the original Comprinter on the utility spectrum. Uselessness has a charm of its own, though; from a 3D-printed rotary dial number pad to a useless book scanner, keep the pointless projects coming, please.

14 thoughts on “A Real All-In-One Printer Should Have A Computer In It, Too

  1. Years ago, I built a Rabble Ozi (6502 based Ohio Scientific compatible) based computer in a “BrighterWrirter” printer.
    Very handy to have a built in printer.
    This printer was a dot matrix one, with a paper roll in the back.
    Fun days :)

  2. There’s a form of Japanese humor that’s basically hardware satire: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chind%C5%8Dgu which I think is relevant to this class of objects: things that are usable, rather than being useless, but by their very design aren’t actually useful. The rotary-dial-an-IP-address and this are technically impressive examples of chindougu, aand I think it’s a worthwhile term to use for the whole class of objects that create more problems than they solve, but in a funny way. (I’m not sure what to call objects that create more problems than they solve in a horrible way, like introducing cane toads to control pests and then watching as the cane toads destroy everything.

      1. Why do people still buy garbage printers and just keep replacing them??? If you need quality, get a Canon six-ink for $80, and print something at every month or two with all the colors so it doesn’t dry up.

        If ink costs matter, get a laser, or something easy to refill, maybe with in-cartridge nozzles in case it clogs.

        Or better yet, use less paper and save yourself the work of sorting it all :P

        1. I have a Xerox CM305df machine. The local retail for the 4 replacement toners carts is around $800 AU.
          Ebay have non genuine sets for $30. Somehow, I do not think that sort off markup is acceptable. I think it is bordering on fraud. Why does Xerox powdered plastic cost soooooo much?
          But, yes, I agree. get a colour laser for a printer, but check first for the price of consumables! That is more important than the printer price. Unless you print very little.

    1. It is the worst of all worlds build – a weak non-expandable laptop motherboard combined with a bulky non-portable printer case and Blue LED in your face adding more glare to the display.
      I guess there is no accounting for poor taste.

  3. Problem is Printers have mechanical parts that often break down far too easy. That is why we throw them away as fixing them is often more expensive then buying new. Id never want a general purpose computer inside one.

    Some one might argue if we made printer more expensive with computers inside, then we wouldn’t throw as many away. the problem is, it is still cheaper over the long term for the user to have a computer and a printer over a printputer.

  4. Problem is Printers are sold cheaper that the ink cartridges. The printers generally are only 30% of full of ink, but that is still cheaper than the cartridge. If you only print low volume, then it’s cheaper to buy a new printer than buy new ink. At least thats been my experience over the past 15 years with laser printers

  5. After reading the headline, I thought it would be a story about re-purposing the computer already in the printer. It’s surely got an ARM or MIPS processor along with at least 64MB of RAM, so it should be possible (though perhaps hard) to get Linux running on it and add a small LCD of some sort and a keyboard.

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