Dear Printer

Posted: January 25, 2010 in Mechanical

A few months ago I got free printer and decided to turn it into an flatbed printer, so I could print onto canvas and on PCB’s (and bake them and then etch them). But at first I wanted to print on canvas.
While taking the printer apart I discovered the encoder, and I  accidentally broke an plastic part of the encoder and ruined the project. Also this printer was very old and did not work properly with windows vista.

Then a new opportunity showed up, I got an free Lexmark 605z printer from my girlfriend:

With this printer I had more luck and there was no encoder at the printer feed because because the feed was done by a stepper motor.
Here the parts of the printer:

Here’s the x-axis which is going to move above the workpiece, I don’t have to do anything about it, only take some parts out.

Here is the assembly of the feed for the paper, driven by a stepper motor.

These are the main pieces of the machine, 2 pieces of MDF wood with 2 bearing slides.

Here’s how I mounted the motor, I used the original part’s as far as I could. Right is the mounting plate for the gearings, I had to use the original gearing to make the paper feed run at the right speed. I used a multitool to make it all fit nicely.

Here’s the assambly of the paper feed completed, I used stirring rod’s from the local hardware store to make it run smooth I also made a lot of cut’s with a stanley-knife in the stirring rod’s to give the rubber band more grip. I also put some springs to the metal bar to support it and give the rubber bands more grip, this is not shown in the picture.

Here’s the testing of the paper feed:

When the paper feed was completed the hardest part was done, but to get it run perfectly was a real difficult part!

When this was done, the machine looks like this, I already extended the cable for the stepper motor of the paper feed. It really begins to looks like something now!

A little extra feature I added to make it print nicely on the right place is a little laser. Below is a picture of it, I found it really handy to set the workpiece direct on the right place.

When the printer head was attached it was time to test it for real! I placed some pieces of wood to increase the height to make it print on the right height from the workpiece.
Then I placed a blank canvas painting under it and pushed print!;

Here are some pictures of the things I printed yet:

I’m planning on printing on PCB’s, if I have some more spare time.

A little review of the costs:
-Printer Lexmark 605z (free)
-MDF Wood (free)
-2 slider bearings (8 euro)
-Some screws, glue and some other little things (free)
-Printer ink (60 euro)

A major disadvantage was the costs of the ink, it cost me 60 euro for 2 cardridges (color and black), and the printer is generous with the ink! I hope the refilling costs less!

I build it last weekend, I think it took me about 10 hours of building time.

Hope you like it!

  1. Aggaz says:

    This is a really good idea, thank you for sharing! I will definitively build one!
    I need a “PCB maker” and CNC seems too hard to build.

  2. Ace Ventura says:

    Dear J-J,
    Wow it’s amazing!
    That printer is amazing!
    Keep up the good work!
    Love to watch your page..
    With love, Ace ventura

  3. AGGUILAR says:


  4. Adam says:

    Great post!
    I have this printer, it’s in great shape and was never in use. And I really wanna try this.
    The only stage I am a bit unclear with is the cogs that sliding the slide… The main piece of the machine as you say.
    Is it ‘just’ arranging the paper feed motor to turn the rod (with the 4 rubbers) and the rod will slide the slider?


    • jjshortcut says:

      Hi, i’m not totally sure of what you mean, but for making the canvas or whatever you’re printing on run at the correct speed I used the original parts, and as you can see also in this movie ( The rod with the 4 rubbers turns and directly makes the “table” slide 1:1. The difficult part is to make the rod with the 4 rubbers run really smooth to the “table” but not to tight (otherwise the motor won’t turn anymore, to much friction).

  5. Adam says:

    Thanks for the quick reply.
    I guess my question was a bit unclear itself 🙂
    I meant to say that the assembly of the sliding area

    is confusing me a bit. But I will get over it by trying 🙂

    I might ask later on.
    By the way, Did you try printing on textile?

  6. David says:

    Hi,just 1 question,in order to get this machine to print what it shows on the screen,do you just press print on what ever software you are using at the time to print or do you use some form of rip software in order to do this ,i am having problems with mine which is an old epson and i have not been able to get it to print,its like it does not go through the same process as if it were paper running through it ,what am i doing wrong …

    • jjshortcut says:

      Hi, I’m printing with whatever program supports printing, so I print on canvas with for example Picassa, but any software should do. The first question for you is, was it printing correctly while you’re modification wasn’t done. Second one, and I believe this might be the problem, there are some sensors for the printer to check if there is paper in the machine. You have to trick those optical switches (I guess those are in almost every printer). There should be some kind of a lever which breaks or closes the light of the sensor, because of the paper that raises the lever.

      I hope this might help you to print!

  7. […] Source: Dear Printer | J-J Shortcut’s Blog […]

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