Turn a Dead Printer Into a Shredder




About: So many things to learn and make, so little time! I like things that are cool, useful, efficient, well crafted.

Printers tend to fail. In my company, we had one that ended up making us mad with all sorts of failures (see next step), wasting a lot of paper. So I decided to transform it into something it could be very good at: a shredder.


Step 1: Printer Failures

Non-exhaustive list of possible printer failures that can drive you mad:
  • just won't print
  • stays stuck in the middle of a job
  • ejects a blank sheet before, after, or instead of your print job
  • will output lots of pages full of text with weird characters, instead of what you expect
  • PC Load letter syndrome (actually, could be your mistake, A4 vs Letter)
  • no more ink, in the middle of your 100 pages document
  • does not resume correctly (skips a page) after you had to reload paper in the middle of a document; very annoying when double-sided printing...
  • paper jam
  • after you fixed the paper jam, resumes printing but skips a page
  • loads two pages instead of one (inserts one blank page)
  • loads two pages instead of one, but slightly shifted (wastes two pages)
  • loads page with a skew
  • refuses to print a black/white document, because one of the color cartidges is empty (although there is enough black ink)
  • spreads ink/toner everywhere
  • folds the pages (unfortunately, not as a paper plane)
  • etc, etc, etc...
When you've decided it's time to get rid of it, you have several possibilities, among which:

Step 2: Protagonists

  • The printer in question.
This one is a venerable Konica Minolta Magicolor 2350 color laser printer. It was certainly among the awesome ones, back in the days when color laser printer were uncommon, big, heavy (lots of parts were made of metal), slow, and very expensive (way more expensive than the toner -- unlike nowadays).
  • A small shredder.
Note how both styles differ. WALL-E and EVE ancestors?

Step 3: Rip the Guts Off

Remove all what can be removed without compromising the case stability.

You will end up with a big amount of waste. Similar to after eating artichokes.

Many parts are very specific and probably difficult to reuse, but some can be salvaged for future projects (motors, switches, magnets, and a crazy amount of screws).

Dispose the rest properly.

Step 4: Install the Shredder

I had to enlarge the paper ejection slot, to give access to the shredder.

Step 5: Use IT!

Well, it may look like a familiar scene, indistinguishable from a regular printer at first, but the paper now moves in the opposite direction!

Step 6: ShredDirect [TM]

One word about the ShredDirect [TM] technology.

How often did you notice, right after clicking the print button, and before it was even printed, that your work was not perfect enough? How many times did you print your work until perfect?

Now with ShredDirect, you waste the same amount of paper, but you save the ink!

Here is how it works:
  1. Instead of printing your document, take (manually) a sheet of paper from the tray, and
  2. shred it (see picture).
  3. Improve your work on your computer, and repeat until fully satisfied. Only then, print for real.
Compatibility: ShredDirect works with most modern operating systems, and Plan9.

Second Prize in the
Dead Computer Contest



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    54 Discussions


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Do it with a printer/scanner/copier instead of just the printer. Lots more "fun" at the office that way.

    Anyone in the student loan business... you should install one of these, so next time you guys are working on my file maybe you could make something useful happen.


    Reply 1 year ago

    It wouldnt, well It would because you are destroying a printer, but no one is stupid enough to put a piece of paper in the top of the printer, when the paper tray is on the bototm.


    2 years ago

    Your title is misleading. It should be: "Hide a shredder inside a gutted printer"


    3 years ago

    I thinked that you are used mecanizm for copy machine and change or repare some tools to finish the jop!


    7 years ago on Step 6

    I would totally do this (or have husband do it) if I had one of these huge printers! Its geeky and a cool conversation piece. Good job on the tut. I would go crazy and paint the printer! =)


    8 years ago on Step 6

    irs a great april fool???????????????


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Well do you think that it is going to work. I have doubts on that. Have any one tried it. What will you do with you laser toner cartridges that you will replace it with your shredder tool. Will it fit into the slot that yo are telling.

    Well would like to experiment on this but when i have a spare printer to ruin it not now.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    ShredDirect [TM]: In the process of making a perfect document, waste the same quantities of paper, but save toner. This whole instructable is a joke. Step 6 is the final joke.

    I think that's what happens when the shredder and printer sit too closely together in an unattended room for very long. First, they start chatting, then they get friendly, and before you know it, your printer gets ideas.

    It doesn't work the other way round, though, because printers have all those smart chips and stuff, while shredders are just kinda "duhhhh".

    Oh no... our printer is wireless... maybe that's why it prints random screen shots of Stephen Colbert, it's been talking to the TV! Jeez, that might make for some difficult times during tornado season. I'll know for sure if paper starts flying around the office.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe you could just turn it into something completely different instead of the exact opposite. Maybe hide a UPS inside, a CPU, a little refrigerator or microwave?

    I like the idea of turning everything into a toaster, but an office is an unlikely place for toast.

    4 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Laser-powered Toaster!  Burns important documents into the toast!




    You see? This is exactly the kind of thing I expect to see here. I knew that there was still room for toast innovation. Laser-powered...that's awesome.


    You'd have to clean it out really good, and make sure the paper path could handle the extra thickness.  Also, there'd have to be a way to deal with crumbs...

    Duplexing toast would be cool, but possibly problematic...  mebbe a prism to split the beam somehow.   And yes I know how a laser printer with toner works.  I am thinking how to do it with a real laser, like those kit ones.



    9 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry, how is this better than the shredder all by itself? Have you only installed the top part of the shredder so that the cavity inside the printer holds all the confetti? 

    Or is this mostly just a joke?

    Maybe you could put one of those cooling fans back inside, pointed at a hole in the casing so that when you shred something it blows a cloud of shredded paper at you. Would be great for office parties or dramatically destroying important documents.