Printer to Vinyl Cutter Hack

Old printers and scanners are a great place to find salvageable electronics.  Ben Heck even did a whole video on just that which can be found here. [liquidhandwash] on Instructables however has shared with us an alternative, instead of pulling a printer apart as scrap, he has converted an old printer into a vinyl cutter.

Vinyl cutters are used for all sorts of graphic work and are often used to make stickers or signs. Funnily enough, most of the hardware required to make a vinyl cutter is found most everyday printers. There is one small catch though, you need to make sure your printer uses stepper motors for the slide and roller and not DC motors with opto-isolators.

[liquidhandwash] uses an old Cannon A2 printer for his conversion which he says can be picked up for $5 on eBay. First he pulled off the plastic cover top to reveal the mechanics in order to learn exactly how it worked and what he could use.

Using a couple of stepper motor driver boards the Arduino Uno takes control of the steppers. A relay control module is used to control an electro magnet which is used to pull the vinyl cutter blade up and down.

It’s really interesting to see these things work and they definitely have the capability to pay for themselves, believe me, people love stickers.

Thanks for showing us your project [liquidhandwash]!

If you would like to up-cycle your old crusty printer into a cool vinyl cutter be sure to check out the Instructable page here and pick up the following components in store: