Printers are amazing machines. Even the simplest printers today have hundreds of parts and are capable of stunning print position accuracy. So much design, engineering and forethought goes into these machines which can cost less than $100 and are cheaper to replace than to repair.
Printers also happen to be fascinating to tear apart!
In a humble desktop ink jet color printer I found four motors, a huge number of gears and switches, connectors, electronics and all sorts of other cool components. Next time you are getting ready to throw away a printer, let me suggest grabbing a screw driver and pulling it apart first. It’s a fascinating way to spend an hour or two and a very fun activity to do with kids (just make sure to be safe about the electrical parts!).
In this latest tear down, I was intrigued to find an extremely absorbent pad at the bottom of the printer, just below the ink storage. As you can see, in this printer over half of that pad was thoroughly soaked with ink.
The presence of this pad in the first place means that despite all the engineering and design, the printers were still expected to produce a significant amount of leakage over their lifetime. As you can see from how much it has been used, it was clearly a good choice.
Before this little tear down, I never knew that printers had this safety feature to cover my back.